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Now that our summer vacations have wrapped and the school year is back in full swing, our schedules are beginning to get busy again with clubs and events, extra-curriculars and festive fall fairs. While we all may see ourselves getting busier, it's important to remember eco-friendly daily living practices. Working towards a greener future and living sustainably never takes a rest!

Sustainability at the Peterborough Museum & Archives

In honour of the inaugural Peterborough Environmental and Climate Action Expo on Friday, September 23 at Ecology Park, I'd like to share how the Peterborough Museum & Archives (PMA) is working towards being more eco-friendly, and to make some suggestions on how you can bring sustainability into your home too.

Part of the PMA's mission is to preserve the past for the education and understanding of future generations. As a pillar of the community, it is vitally important that we preserve what's important to the people of Peterborough - including the environment. In-house, we cover the basics with bins for sorting garbage, recycling, and used personal protective equipment. Our cleaning supplies are all non-toxic, eco-label only. We are also diligent with keeping our water and electricity usage to a minimum with energy-star appliances. Some of the flowers and foliage that can be found in our gardens are species native to the area and are pollinator-friendly. We also have a bike rack, and public bus stop near our front door to encourage folks to visit us in a way that reduces the impact on the environment. 

A little-known fact about our gift shop is that we strive to have an ethical gift shop. Many of the products we sell are Canadian-made, hand-made, sustainable, and/or ethically sourced. We understand the importance of giving a gift that benefits a small business or independent artist in a way that is good for the planet too. Check out #WFSWednesday on Instagram to see some of our featured best-sellers!

As far as bigger initiatives go, we also participated in No Mow May, leaving the PMA's lawns uncut until June 2 to ensure pollinators were able to wake-up after a seasonal hibernation. I was able to see the benefits of this practice immediately during lunch breaks in the Heritage Pavilion. At any given moment, I could count a half dozen bumble bees, who did less bumbling and instead would dive-bomb at my sandwich! I also saw many more snails, worms, butterflies, and beetles. It was clear by the number of wildflowers and clovers that an environment left to bloom is a healthy one, and given the dwindling number of pollinators, they need all of the help they can get! The best part about this initiative is that anyone can (and should!) participate. We added signs across our lawn and posts to our socials to inform anyone who may think we had simply forgotten about our spring chores to help spread the word. 

We always make sure to include a component of environmentalism into our kids' programs, because living sustainably requires healthy habits and critical thinking - which are best learned at a young age. You can read about some of our eco-friendly crafts in our last blog post - Museum Classroom #9: Sustainable Crafts

Be sure to visit our booth at the PtboEnviroX Expo to learn more about our sustainability efforts.

Sustainability at home

If you're unsure of where to start, I suggest taking two online calculator quizzes to determine your carbon footprint and your water footprint. Upon completion, these websites offer a variety of sources for you to become familiar with in order to become a better citizen and keep your favourite planet habitable. Additionally, here's 100+ tips to save water; I challenge you to try at least one thing from this list every single day for a week and integrate it into your routine.

Thrift stores are a great way to introduce sustainability into your life. Many of the things we tend to buy brand new, can be purchased second-hand from a thrift store (of which, Peterborough has many). Textiles - including table cloths, curtains, blankets, and especially clothing - will not only save you money when buying secondhand, but will also help prevent adding to landfills unnecessarily. Additionally, thrifting means you may be able to find some very cool items - vintage, rare, unique, and perfect for you (and on a budget)! Here are some other ways thrifting is good for the planet: 

  • may contribute to local charities;
  • reduces your carbon footprint;
  • helps preserve water: water consumption is high in the production of new clothing; and
  • reduces chemical pollution: pesticides and dyes are often used in the production of new clothing.

GreenUp logo

You can also consider replacing many of your household items with sustainable alternatives. The GreenUp Store on Aylmer Street has an incredible number of eco-friendly products for your home and beyond. Browse their online shop for some inspiration. GreenUp is a great organization that puts the environment first and uses great effort to make Peterborough a greener city. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the ways you can get involved! 


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! Each of our efforts is an important drop in the bucket and contributes to systemic change. Start small, and introduce little, eco-friendly choices into your daily life. As these become more common, and easier to uphold, start looking at choices that make a bigger, more positive impact. I encourage you to take a picture of your green habits and environmentally friendly household items (water barrel, compost bin, Energy Star shower head, etc.) and tag the Peterborough Museum & Archives on Facebook or Instagram. 


Jessica Ernest (she/her) | Summer Administrative Assistant | Peterborough Museum & Archives

Telephone: 705-742-7777 ext.2477

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The Peterborough Museum & Archives respectfully acknowledges that it is located on the Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory and in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Nations, collectively known as the Williams Treaties First Nations.