History of the Mutants


Mark - energy conservation
Géraldine - energy conservation
Denis - turning off his computer and the lights
Campbell - turning off lights and his computer monitor
Octavie - energy conservation and using less paper towel
Connie - energy and water conservation
Carrie - energy and water conservation
Élisabeth - water conservation in the shower
Lauren - water conservation
Jocelyne - water conservation
Fortin - water conservation
Jack - water conservation and using less paper towel
Amélie - water conservation and reducing the amount of waste in her lunch
Annie - reducing the amount of waste in her lunch and in her children's lunches
Marguerite - reducing the amount of waste in her lunch
Marie - buying useful and wanted gifts
Conrad - buying products with less packaging
Roger - buying products with less packaging and reducing the use of his car
Samuel - getting his wood furnace more efficient
Renée-Mai - reducing the use of her car, reusing, composting and conserving energy
Kathy - walking to work and using less paper towel
Josy - composting at home and at school




Campbell (a teacher)

Campbell's new behaviour was turning off the lights and his computer monitor. One of the key reasons he took on these behaviours was that he could do them without really going out of his way. He also felt they would have a positive impact on energy usage. Though his individual contribution would be small, Campbell felt that if more people would do the same, the amount of energy saved would be greater. Since he didn't have to change a great deal, he found it easy. If he did forget the lights, he would turn back to shut them off. He found that turning off the monitor was the easiest of all. He would turn it off instead of using the standby feature. However, if he was in a real hurry, he would sometimes forget but it is happening less and less. He hasn't forgotten to turn off the monitor when leaving for the day.

Campbell felt good about being able to stick to these new behaviours and make it a part of his everyday activities. He is proud of himself.

He has always been aware of the power of one, but the climate change workshop precipitated him into action because he is now more energy conscious: "I was always under the impression that when my monitor went into hibernation mode that was as energy efficient as it could get". He now knows that turning it off saves even more energy. The workshop helped him to fine tune some of the aspects around climate change. Campbell thinks that the actual process of writing down the behaviour change is what helped him make the commitment. He has written down other actions that he would like to do and he keeps remembering them even though he hasn't started these changes yet. Something else Campbell liked about this workshop is the mix of presentations and activities, being able to talk to other participants, forming your ideas and getting to listen to other people's ideas.


Carrie (a teacher)

Because Carrie has become more aware about conserving energy, she has taken on many new behaviours. She is turning off lights when leaving a room, opening the fridge only when her props are ready, turning the burner off under her kettle, conserving water, walking instead of driving short distances and turning down her thermostat when leaving the house. She likes the fact that she is saving on her heating bills and gasoline and the walking makes her feel better. Her attempts are successful because she is now consciously trying to make a change for the better.

When she was growing up, her family had an oil range stove and so the kettle was always on. It was a habit to serve company a cup of tea as they arrived. This is the reason Carrie always kept her kettle warm on her electric stove. Now she only turns it on when somebody drops by. The fact that she is remembering makes her feel good.

The education and the different examples given during the climate change workshop heightened her awareness to all the things that she can do. Her husband tried to influence her into turning off the lights when leaving a room. However, Carrie only tried to consciously make the effort once she became aware of the reason for conserving. Her attempt to conserve water was probably motivated by the fact that the city adopted a water conservation law.

She feels challenged when trying something new. Since she likes to be successful in her attempts, this motivates her to stay aware of her efforts. It just becomes a new habit and part of what she does. She feels that if she can do her part and everyone else does their part it will make a difference.


Connie (a teacher)

Connie decided to try a couple of new behaviours. One of them was not to leave the water running when brushing her teeth, the other was to turn off the lights when leaving a room. When brushing her teeth, she sometimes forget to turn off the water but when she does something else at the same time (multi-tasking) it is a lot easier to accomplish the behaviour.

Turning the lights off was much easier for Connie until the time changed in the fall. She didn't like coming home and leaving in the dark. She doesn't cope very well with darkness. On top of this, she is also trying to turn the lights off when leaving her classroom or the laboratory. However, this action is somewhat hindered by the hectic pace of life at school. Her husband sometimes reminds her either by doing the actions for her or by telling her to do them.

During the climate change workshop, hearing information about electrical energy and fossil fuel production motivated her to take on these new actions. She also thinks it's important to try these new behaviours to become a model for her students: "Not do as I say, do as I do". Connie believes that one person can make a difference and she feels connected to the environment.

Connie appreciates kayaking where she can link with nature. She and her husband have cut back a lot on the amount of waste that they used to produce in the past. They have been composting for eight years now.


Jack (a teacher)

Jack decided that he would try using less water when brushing his teeth and using a sponge or a cloth instead of paper towels. Previously, he used lots of paper towels and threw them in the garbage but now he uses a cloth or a sponge to wipe things up. Instead of letting the water run when he brushes his teeth, he now puts water in a cup.

He thought that the course on climate change was really great. He appreciated the course, the materials and being educated on how he can make a difference. He wants to share his new knowledge with others because he believes "one change can lead to many". Jack believes that change is simple and not too difficult. He enjoyed the solo because the quiet time made him more aware of how precious the Earth is and what we can do to preserve it and also what we are doing to destroy it. It made him want to do something to save the Earth because he feels one small thing will make a big difference.

Jack is now conscious that as an individual, he can change behaviours and help the environment. So he doesn't find it too difficult to change his behaviours because every time he goes back to his old habits, he tells himself: "This is wrong and I'm not going to do it that way". He finds it easy now to keep his new behaviours, it has become automatic.

The fact that Jack is now saving instead of wasting to protect the environment makes him feel good. He feels we take too much for granted.


Judy (a teacher)

Judy's new behaviour was using a sponge instead of paper towels and getting her family to do the same. She realised that using paper towels was wasteful and knew she could save money by using a sponge to wipe up spills. She found it difficult to have everyone working together and to make sure that the behaviour was carried through. She's hoping that once she gives her family more knowledge about climate change she will bring them all on board.

Judy is using her knowledge on climate change and her skills to continue her new behaviour and she feels good and excited about it.

She has also taken on the action of brushing her teeth by filling up a cup with water instead of letting the water run. Judy no longer lets the water run while doing the dishes and she is now conscious about making sure the lights are off.

She felt inspired by everything done during the climate change workshop. She found it satisfying being in the Mutants' Circle, exchanging about the beauty of nature and receiving the information on climate change. Judy also liked finding her place on the continuum and doing a solo.

She finds it encouraging that when she reminds her family to use a sponge they do it. They let her know when they are not using paper towels.


Eileen (a teacher)

The new behaviour that Eileen tried to adopt was to use less paper towels and to make her family aware of climate change. She was able to make her family aware of climate change however she found it difficult to have them adopt some of her beliefs, especially with turning off the lights. Showing them the electricity bill made them understand. Because she is home this year, she is much more aware of the amount of electricity she is actually using every day.

As long as the paper towel holder was in front of her, Eileen found it difficult not to use it because it was a habit to reach for it. So she moved the holder. She remembered using rags when she was younger and she found getting this behaviour back easy. She finds it much easier to pick up spills with a rag.

The driving force in choosing her actions was because she was asked to pick one at the climate change workshop. However, she never felt good about using paper towels because she considers herself a tree person and she knows it is a big waste and that there is a better way. She was also encouraged by the fact that one of her family members said: "You know I can really see we are using a lot more electricity by not turning off the lights". Eileen lived close to nature as a little girl. She thinks her parents were so smart when it came to environmental things. However, when she grew up, the new technology influenced her to adapt to different ways of doing things. Now that she has a child, she thinks it's important to help the environment.

Eileen feels good about turning off the lights and not using paper towels. She no longer has to change the roll and feels she's doing something positive.

Eileen enjoyed all the activities in the climate change workshop because each of them gave her a different perspective. The most emotional one for her was the solo. She thought she would find it difficult to sit in someone else's spot because she has her own special place in nature near her home. She was amazed by the fact that people walked right by without seeing her. She felt she became part of nature. What she got out of this activity is that if she expects to teach environmental education she has to understand it and live it. She has to make changes in her own life in order to go into the classroom and have her students do it. "If I don't do it, I can't expect anybody else to believe anything that I'm saying".


Josy (a teacher)

Josy is at the beginning stage of her attempt at a new behaviour. Although she felt she was already doing quite a bit, she wanted to bring it one step further by composting at home and possibly in the classroom. She feels it is important to reduce waste and finds recycling is really good: "This is why we can at least do this for today".

At first, Josy was apprehensive about the custodian's and principal's reactions because of smell and fruit flies. After expressing her desire to compost in her classroom to the school air quality control committee, she received support. What's more, the Environment department sent her all kinds of information on how to compost with worms.

Josy works alongside some people that don't really believe in recycling and who do not see the advantages. They look at it more as a hindrance. But she thinks it's a mind frame and once you get into it, you almost feel guilty when you start throwing things out. She feels that when you give people time, they can really get enthused about it, especially the children. In her classroom, she's already recycling paper and finds that her students do not throw anything out.

Josy knows that her students will love composting and she hopes it will bring them to composting at home. She feels a lot of people want to build a compost pile but they don't know how to start. This would be a good way for the children to know and if they don't do it with their immediate families now, as adults someday they will. In the spring, she would like to use the compost and plant some flowers outside. This would show that they haven't just composted or reduced but that they are also reusing the compost in the soil, carrying the full cycle.

Josy feels positive about her actions towards reducing.

During the workshop on climate change, Josy was made more aware of the greenhouse effect and climate change. It made her think about how she could bring her actions one step further to make a difference.

Her mother's influence made her aware of conservation. She was always one to conserve and went to secondhand stores and fed the birds leftover bread crumbs. She had a "Let's not waste" type of approach and, in a nice way, it was positive: "It was almost like you felt you were doing something and it just followed me through life". Josy also has good friends who recycle a lot and with whom she exchanges ideas.


Lauren (a teacher)

Lauren who is part of a family of 5 chose to have them reduce their water consumption in the shower. She decided to time how long her husband and teenage nephew were in there. After collecting some data, she decided that each family member could reduce their time in the shower by one minute. The family talked about it and they now set a timer in the bathroom. They are always out before the timer goes off.

One of the things that motivated Lauren to take on this action at this time was that her home was going to be connected to city water. This would permit her to evaluate the amount of water being used. She also experienced her water freezing this year and the inconvenience of it made her aware that they need to conserve it more. She also thinks that it's important to have clean water for swimming and since she now lives in the house that belonged to her parents, she has noticed drastic changes from thirty years ago.

One of the reasons Lauren decided to try this new behaviour was because of the continuum activity done at the workshop. She felt she was closer to the environmentalist in the story knowing that she collected rain water even if it is out of necessity. They also compost for the garden. Listening to other participants also made her realise that she could take on extra actions. Just by listening to other participants in the course, she realised she could put a sweater on instead of turning up the thermometer or put an extra blanket on the bed. She now shuts down the television and the computer every time the family has finished using it. In the children's bedroom, instead of leaving the ceiling lights on which have two light bulbs, the children now turn on their night stands which only have one.

Lauren has always promoted environmental awareness but after the climate change session, she realised that she could also improve in a lot of areas. She was brought up in a country setting close to the water. Her father always planted a garden and has a real love of nature. Lauren and her family camp a lot in the summertime. Her husband is a very outdoorsy person and they're just not strong believers in television, they keep it limited to half an hour a day. Lauren and her family love being outside. They spend a lot of time there and they love picking berries and being in the garden.

Her emotions were very positive. It hasn't been like not having water was a very big inconvenience and she'd never want to be without it but she also realised how much they abused it too.


Mark (a teacher)

Mark's first attempt at a new behaviour was to strike at home. He wanted to get his wife on his side in particular with the one aspect of hot water washes versus cold water washes. "It didn't go all that well in terms of her buying into it, but I think just talking it through made her a little more aware of … And I think she's probably coming on my side."

Mark doesn't find it difficult to change because he really has committed himself to the whole thing of what we do in our society. He believes we consume too much and that we are caught up in the whole advertising campaign of society. He thinks kids want more and more and more and he doesn't see it as being any good at all.

He had already gotten rid of his second car since he didn't need it after moving closer to his workplace. He thought it was superfluous, another item that he just didn't need, so it was time to dump it. For the last two years, he had been riding his mountain bike to work (a 15 to 20 minute car ride) as a health component.

Mark bought into the whole idea of the Mutants' Circle. He thinks that by getting more Mutants to come into the circle we can get more on our side. He loved the concept and thought that deep down he was always an environmentalist at heart: "I think it was down deep inside me anyway". The workshop activities reinforced what he already believed. He thought the solo activity was wonderful though he is not sure it would work with his students but he might give it a try. He thought all the little experiments were good and he thinks some will work and some won't: "But if you don't try, you'll never know".

One of Mark's main motivation is to hear other people talk favourably about his switching lifestyles. He thinks more people wish they could make the leap like he did.

Mark feels excitement about getting rid of his television and walking to work. He feels less stress: "I'm taking 10 minutes to walk home, loving it, enjoying the ride so to speak". For Mark joining a golf club meant getting closer to nature. His mother was very into nature and getting him out into the countryside.


Kathy (a teacher)

After the workshop, Kathy took on two new actions. One was to walk to work more often and leave her car at home and the other was to stop being so dependent on paper towels. One of the reasons Kathy chose these actions was because she could easily get into the momentum of doing them. She felt that she chose things that were possible. Kathy has been doing these new actions for over a month now.

In order to walk to work, Kathy plans her day better, so as not to have to carry so much stuff. She is more conscious about how she is using her time. Kathy now spends days without driving her car and is spending less money on gas. She gets the exercise walking to school and back home. She finds it easier now that she is committed to walking because she doesn't have to clean off the snow on her car or warm it in the morning. The only time she thinks twice about using her car is if she has to carry a lot of stuff to work or poor planning resulting in being too rushed. So far, she's finding it pretty easy and has been able to stick to it.

Kathy feels very positive about walking to work because she enjoys the fresh air and getting some exercise in before she starts her day. She is spending a little more time at school but her home time now belongs to her not to the school.

As for the paper towel, Kathy hadn't thought about the impact it was having by using so much of it. Now, before using it she wonders if it's possible to use something else. She is still racked with a little bit of guilt when she uses paper towels to cook her bacon in the microwave but she finds it absorbs better than anything else. She now uses reusable washable cloths to clean up or wipe up counters. They will definitely last a lot longer. She has committed to not using paper towels, so she doesn't think about it anymore.

One of the reasons Kathy started these new behaviours is because she learned about the different impacts that human behaviour is having on the environment and the climate. Being in the Mutants' circle and talking about ways that we could make a difference also influenced her. She had time to reflect on how we were being wasteful and on what changes we could make. One thing that really hooked her was her place on the continuum. She didn't like where she was. She also felt inspired by another environmentally-friendly person who was at the other end of the continuum because he had made major changes in his life by selling his car, his television and his computer and walking to work. That was where Kathy would have liked to have been. This activity definitely made her think. She is also inspired by other people's actions for example composting. She does notice other people and what they are doing. Kathy and her roommate were already practicing recycling. up


Renée-Mai (a teacher)

Renée-Mai's engagement was to reduce the use of her car by one day per week, by walking to the university, which is about 3 minutes from her home. However, because her husband was away, she had to bring her son to the bus. Insufficient time then obliged her to take her car to the university. So, she decided to do other things to compensate. For example, she picks up her son and they walk home. She also walks to the corner store. On top of that, she returns the plastic bag in which her daily paper is delivered back to the delivery person, who can reuse it.

She has, in other areas, added to what she was already doing. She does more composting. She organizes her washing according to the weather to use the dryer less.

The motivation for undertaking these new behaviours was tying the thread to the Mutants' Circle cord and the commitment and responsibility made by this gesture. She did not want to betray this commitment. She also found it was an issue of self-esteem, of being in harmony with her values.

What makes her undertaking somewhat difficult is the lack of time. It takes time and management. One has to be organized. Besides that, sometimes the people around you are not very aware. Her son sees what she's doing and wants to do the same, but her husband is not as sensitive though he has started to become more aware. At the university, she met professors who were not aware of the environment. This discouraged her because she thought other people were as aware as she was. One professor gave her hope. She has had highs and lows of energy to help the environment.

What encouraged her is feeling that there were other people who want to do something for the environment. For example, she and her sister collect the plastic newspaper bags to recycle them. They encourage each other. Doing it together gives them energy. As she says, it's "community".

What also encourages her is knowing that one child will take one more breath in his life for each gesture that she makes. As well, she believes that the planet Earth is our mother and even more than our mother, that she is our life source.

The course on climate change she is currently taking is what gave her the impetus to do something for the environment, as she has no background in science. Some of the activities done (the experiment on the greenhouse effect) will permit her to transmit and to illustrate the ecological concepts so they will be clear to the children. This gives her teaching methods to transmit the information. There's action and there's understanding too.

Renée-Mai became more aware of the environment through a project on pollution done by her sister. She was 8 years old. This left such an impression on her that she also did a project on the environment. She got herself some books, information on pollution, and she understood the different types of pollution.


Fortin (a teacher)

Fortin's new action is to conserve water. What motivated him was the fact that he had a well at home and he feared running out of water. So he thought that a good beginning would be to reduce his water consumption He wanted to try using less water when showering, brushing his teeth, and with the dishwasher. As for the shower, things didn't work out because he needs his water, that's non negotiable. As for the dishwasher, that went well. He waits for it to be completely full. His wife doesn't like this idea too much because the cupboard runs out of dishes but he can negotiate this. Also, when rinsing the dishes, he now puts a little water in the sink and rinses out all the dishes in the same water. Before, he would let the water run when rinsing. When brushing his teeth, he always puts water in a small glass.

Each day, Fortin figures out how much water he saved. By conserving water like this, he tells himself he is going to have water in his well for an additional year. What's more, he is proud because he tells himself that he is doing an action that could perhaps save a part of the planet. He also tells himself that his neighbours will have water for a longer period of time.

One activity in the workshop that he found touching was the continuum (the person who consumes a lot versus the one who saves). This activity brought him to do more reflection on his water consumption. It incited him to be thriftier and to try to waste fewer resources.

For the last year, he has been doing a lot of composting and that is going well. His wife initiated him. In the beginning, he found it far to go to the field to bring the food waste but now he finds it agreeable. His children like it and they participate. His wife does a lot for the environment. She has taken several courses relating to the environment. She was a big help in initiating him. She motivated him to act in order to protect the environment so that their children will have a clean planet. She lectures him sometimes. He is trying to act in a better way to try and save the planet.


Roger (a teacher)

Roger decided to reduce the use of his car and to buy products with less packaging. With regard to the car, he felt the constraints of time, of the babysitter and of the quantity of work he had to transport (a lot of paper, which is heavy). He felt he wasn't succeeding because he wasn't doing it as often as he wanted to. But, Roger feels there is a positive side to this, which is, even if he hasn't done it as often as he would have liked to, he has at least become aware because of his decision, though he felt bad that he wasn't always doing it. He thinks that this action is something that he can do. Once he found his other action difficult, Roger decided not to do it. This may be the reason why he didn't find it difficult.

Concerning the buying of products with less wrapping, he found that difficult because there is little choice for people who want to avoid over-packaging. On the other hand, while buying fruits and vegetables, Roger has lost the habit of putting them in a bag before weighing them. He's happy with himself for that. He's been able to make a little effort, buying in bigger quantities and using fewer bags, therefore less packaging. On the other hand, he has become very frustrated because he thinks maybe there's an 'understanding' between industry and standards or maybe it's simply the consumers who have long wanted the packaging. So, it's a choice of one box of cookies or another, one box of cereal or another, there's not a lot of difference we can make. We have to make a compromise on the product we want to buy, not only on the packaging.

Roger told himself he was able to change. If he didn't try, he wouldn't know his own capacities. He adjusts when necessary so he can say to himself at the end of the day: "Today I made a little difference. And if my neighbour upstairs and my neighbour on the side have done the same thing, at the end, the way we do things will have changed a bit." For several years now, Roger has become aware that if each person does a little bit, it will make a difference in the end. He thinks if others commit to try new behaviour, it will change the way things happen. He feels very good and a sense of personal satisfaction. He would like to become a model to inspire others to take action for the environment.

Since he has a two-year old daughter, Roger is concerned with future generations. The new generation is a source of inspiration for him, and he'd like to leave them at least the equivalent of what he grew up with. Since he was very little, Roger was always somewhat sensitive to the environment, to nature and the relationships between living beings and the environment. His background is in biology.

During the workshop, the circle activity with the cord was very meaningful for him because he felt something as a participant. At first, he wondered why it was there and he found it rather silly, but in participating in this activity, he really felt and understood something. He thinks this activity would succeed in reaching his students. He really liked the solo because it gives him the chance to make a bond with nature. He realizes that he does not want to lose that prospect. It is something which he does often when he has the chance to go out in nature or go camping. The 'bag' activity with the bits of paper was good for the knowledge level and would allow his students to discuss, to share their experience and to bring out their knowledge.

Roger thinks that the most difficult actions are certainly those which we're not ready to take on, but one day, that will come.


Marie (a teacher)

Marie was already active in several actions for the environment but she wanted to try a new behaviour. She chose to no longer buy any throwaway or non-functional gifts. She's been trying for a few years now to always buy useful and necessary gifts. So, it was a real challenge for her to do it this year.

Since Christmas was approaching and she didn't have much time to find practical gifts to which people could attach some value, she found this difficult and even more difficult when she had to buy a gift for a person she didn't know very well.

Marie felt good when she succeeded in finding gifts which she thought would be appreciated.

Her mother has been an influence and motivator. Her mother made great efforts to not buy useless or superfluous gifts. Now she understands why we must act in this way. Besides, her work is in the field of environment. She works with children, teaching them about the value of the forest. She thinks it is important to live what we say and to learn in teaching. When she was little, Marie went to summer camps and her mother would bring her on hiking excursions. Later, she worked at that same camp. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Environment.

Her experiences in nature, like the solos experienced in her youth and during the workshop on climate change, also influenced her.


Amélie (a teacher)

Amélie wanted to reduce the amount of waste in her lunch. She found this action difficult because she gets up late and doesn't have enough time (she drives to work with her father who is in a hurry). On the other hand, the plastic containers take a lot of space in her lunch bag. When she realized that this wasn't working very well, she decided to do it once or twice a week. To compensate, she changed her task a little by trying to reduce her water consumption by taking shorter showers.

She believes it is guilt which led her to compensate one activity for another. She at least tried to continue the action of reducing the amount of waste in her lunch and to keep herself motivated with the hope that eventually it would be easier.

What motivated her to try this new behaviour is the fact that the environment has always interested her. Enrolled in the course, she found it interesting and encouraging to note that many people were doing this type of thing. It was motivating for her to see that she is not the only one trying to make a change and to see everyone working together.

She feels proud when she does a new behaviour. When she doesn't act, she feels a bit guilty, because she knows that it has harmful effects on the environment. So, each time she does her action, she congratulates herself, because she feels she is doing something for the environment.

She really liked the continuum activity with Oscar Opportunity and Marilyn Master-Key. She learned from the activity that we don't have to be extreme. In other words, we don't have to change our entire lifestyle, but little things. Doing one's bit can make a big difference.




Her mother listens to what she has to say about the environment and she wants to participate more. She is the family member most willing to get involved.


Annie (a teacher)

Annie chose from the list, actions that she thought she needed to improve. She decided to reduce the waste from her lunch and her children's lunches. She also encouraged her husband to turn off the lights in the house. She finds her attempts at these new behaviours are going well. It wasn't something that she was suddenly trying. She's been conscious of the environment for a long time and she believes that each person can make a difference.

Doing things for the environment makes her feel proud. According to her, if we decide to start, we have to persist and it is important to have people around, like family members, who are doing the same thing. It is difficult for her to keep her commitment when she's tired but she wants those things she is doing to become a habit. The workshops on climate change have helped her realize that others are doing things for the environment and that she is not alone. So the results will be multiplied.

The workshops have also moved her to question herself. She has done a lot of research since the first workshop and she finds it all interesting.


Conrad (a teacher)

Following the workshop, Conrad thought that over-packaging was something he wanted to try to reduce. He decided to avoid buying foods which were over-packaged. He found that new action somewhat difficult because everything in stores is wrapped. To solve this, he buys things in bigger quantities so he needs the product less often. He also decided to try to calculate his CO2 emissions. But he hasn't consulted the Internet to find the formulas necessary to calculate them.

He started to try this new behaviour because in coming to the climate change workshop, he realized that the Earth has certain problems and that with the little actions that he did, he could help. He realized he could do his part and that he could encourage others to do the same and that perhaps at some point we would sort out the situation. Conrad was already recycling since it was expected by his municipality.

He found his task somewhat hard to do because everything is packaged. For example, when he went to eat at Subway, the employee wrapped his submarine in waxed paper, then in another paper and then he put it in a plastic bag. Conrad could have told him he didn't want it wrapped, but he doesn't know if the employee would have done it.

When he does his action, he feels he is trying to do his best so he is content with what he is doing. He is happy because he is trying to do something and even if it doesn't end up as a huge thing, he at least is doing his part.

During the climate change workshop, Conrad liked the 'bag' activity with the pieces of cardboard where he had to classify the atmospheric problems. He found this very good and he thinks he could use this activity in class with his students.


Denis (a teacher)

Following the climate change workshop, Denis chose to turn off his computer each night. This has now become part of his routine. Since he associates the time when he puts his dog out at night with turning off his computer, he rarely forgets his action and it is not really difficult for him.

He started to do this behaviour because it was important for him to not waste electricity because it costs money. What's more, he dislikes different forms of waste, be it electricity or paper. At school, there are teachers who leave the lights on all the time. Denis doesn't like this because, for him, it is a waste of money and the school board isn't rich. When he leaves a room, he turns off the lights and closes the door as his parents asked him to do when he was young. He tries to always do it. When he leaves his classroom with his students to go to music, to physical education or to the library, he asks the last person leaving to turn off the lights and to close the door.



Because he is doing something for the environment, Denis finds his actions positive. He is also doing this in his classroom. In effect, at the end of the day, he asks a student to turn off the computer. He has also explained to his students why he is doing this and why it is important to do it every day. The students think it is a good idea. Some of them are doing it at home.


Élisabeth (a teacher)

Élisabeth had first decided to calculate her car's CO2 emissions but she didn't find any information on the subject. So, she decided to turn off the water while she was soaping up in the shower. She had had the habit of taking a bath but she didn't like wasting water. This new behaviour was difficult because her bathtub is not surrounded by walls and she has a telephone shower. She found a way of doing it and has been doing that since the first workshop on climate change (1 month). Since she lowers the temperature of her house, it was somewhat difficult at first because it was very cold. But Élisabeth has developed the habit of taking her shower this way. She sees advantages. She spends a lot less time in the shower, which gives her more time to do other things and besides that, she conserves energy.Her behaviour has really become automatic and now, she doesn't think about it. Élisabeth is going to try to outfit her bathroom with an ordinary shower.

As she was already doing many things for the environment, this new behaviour was simply added to the others.

Since she thinks a lot about the environment and that her action is positive, it doesn't bother her to be cold in the shower. Having lived in Greece, she's been conserving water since she was 4 years old, because that country has a water shortage. Having travelled a lot, she's seen conditions in poor countries. This has made her more conscious of waste and the need to recycle. The recent visit of a friend who was quite impressed with her efforts has motivated her even more.

Nobody around her helped Élisabeth with her new behaviour. She is the most aware person of her group and she influences them with her environmentally-friendly behaviour.


Géraldine (a teacher)

Géraldine chose to save electricity by turning off the lights at home. Since it was December, she found this difficult as there were so many lights on because of the holidays. She did however make a big effort to turn off the lights upstairs. Having two children who go everywhere in the house, Géraldine feels obliged to remind them often to turn off the lights since they are not very conscious of the importance of conserving energy.

What motivated her to choose this new behaviour is her mother's influence who always told her to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Besides, she thought this would be a relatively easy action to do.

What makes it difficult to do this action, according to Géraldine, are the concerns of life: "We're always busy, life is fast. We are always doing something - cleaning, doing housework, working." There's also the fact that it is hard to stop something we've always done and to take up a new habit.

When she turns off the lights, it gives her some satisfaction. She thinks it is impossible to always do this action but changing little actions contributes to a bigger change.

The fact that she has always loved gardening and has started the greening activities at her school gives her the incentive to do these actions for the environment.


Jocelyne (a teacher)

Jocelyne wanted to save water while doing dishes and taking showers. Up until now, when doing the dishes, Jocelyne would fill the sink with water, then put the dishes in. Often, she would go off to do housework in another room and returning, would find the water cold. Then she would add hot water to heat it up. Besides that, she would let the water run to rinse off the dishes. She saw that she was wasting a lot of water. She tried finding new techniques like using a washbasin which she fills, then rinses all her dishes. That improved things but sometimes she feels the dishes are just accumulating so she quickly wash the dishes while letting the water run. She then tells herself that she has to come back to her habit.

As for the shower, instead of taking 12 to 15 minutes, she now takes 5 minutes less all the while being able to do the same things. She relaxes as much but she has reduced the 'time wasting'. She also takes her shower with her daughter. When she finishes, she would fill the tub and let her daughter play in the water. She realized that doing this two or three times a week was too much. So she reduced this to once a week.

What motivated Jocelyne to try this new behaviour was her observation that there are places in the world where people don't have easy access to water, while she was wasting it. This was an easy choice for her. She even thought of buying a dishwasher. Instead of washing 3 or 4 times a week, she would do one wash a week.

Sometimes it's hard to think of saving water because we live in a world of consumption and abundance. It happens that she goes back to her old way. But thanks to her will and her concern for the environment, she is able to act and not return to her old ways.

While taking her first shower after she had committed to reducing her water consumption, she was more conscious of what she was doing in the shower. When she shortened her shower, she was happy. Jocelyne is thinking of actions she might take this summer, for example collecting rain water for her garden or for washing down her entryway and it makes her feel good. She's looking forward to the summer and organizing her system.

She feels bad when she strays from the path she wants to follow and from her good habits. For example, when she wastes water, she knows she's wasting it and she is not very proud of herself. She takes note and promises herself to do better the next time.

Becoming aware of her household activities encourages her to see other solutions to improve what she's doing at home, outdoors and even at school. The dishwater has brought her other ideas. For example, while washing the dishes, she realized she could save the water to kill insects outdoors. She thought of trying to make a container to collect that water.

When she prepares a meal, Jocelyne wants to cook more food, to keep the leftovers and to make more than one meal out of it.

During the climate change workshop, the sharing of goals set and the recounting of actions which each participant undertook in their home gave her more ideas and the motivation to try new actions. For example, putting a bottle in the toilet tank and lowering the temperature of the water heater are things she wants to try too.

As for an action plan in her classroom, this has made her realize that she has to prepare her students, to make them aware. She wants to concentrate on one main project, but she will also do some small supplementary activities. She is thinking about what she can do to make her students aware and to change their behaviour.

When she sees her daughter who will be 2 years old, she feels she has to do something so that she will have a healthy planet later on and that she'll be healthy too. She is doing things for her daughter's future. She also wants to be a model for her class. In her classroom, she has boxes for garbage, recyclables, paper, plastic and compost. She separates her garbage in front of her students so they see her do it. She is a model and does this to make them more aware.


Marguerite (a teacher)

Marguerite chose the action of reducing the waste from her lunch even though she found she did not have that much (waste). It was something in her daily routine, which she found easy, not too long, not too demanding and therefore she would remember. It became a reflex, a part of her routine after the first workshop on climate change. Since she succeeded with her commitment, she feels she could now try other actions.

She's happy with herself because she comes home with the same dishes which she took in the morning, simply reusing them. There is hardly anything which goes in the garbage. She looks at her students and finds they have a lot which goes directly into the garbage, while in her case, it either goes into the recycling bin or it's brought home to be reused. She feels good because what she is doing is helpful to others.

She is happy with herself because it seems to her that there are several things she is doing while the people around her are not making the same efforts.

In terms of the environment, Marguerite already knew that she was doing some good things, but that she had to change others. The list activity, done during the climate change workshop, gave her the motivation to do something to help the environment. She found the suggestions were concrete. She thought: "Yes I can do a little step for the environment".

After the first workshop, she was much more aware of what she could improve, even if she didn't improve it right away. She told herself: "It's perhaps not that difficult, I can do it". After this first meeting, she also started the municipal recycling and composting program before the required date in order to help the environment even when her friend did not see the necessity of starting right away. She convinced him by saying that they would be ready when the program began.

She and her friend began taking one car rather than two to do their errands. Before that, they would always take two cars even if they were going off in the same direction.

She found the workshop activities simple and within her reach. She told herself that it might not make a big difference immediately for climate change but if everybody does a little, it could help. The list of concrete actions, given during the first workshop, helped her to become more aware of actions that could help the environment. The solo helped her appreciate nature in the city and now, she sometimes goes jogging on a path, something she would not have done before.

She feels that she can say to other people, either her family or her students, to try environmental actions. She now reminds her friend to recycle.


Octavie (a teacher)

Her new behaviour at home is to turn off the lights, the computer and the television. It's coming along nicely. She forgets sometimes, but it is certainly better than it was. Her new behaviour with her kindergarten students is to try to eliminate paper towel and to use cloths instead to clean their hands and the tables. So, she has encouraged her students to use cloths. She finds it is working well because the students like to wash.

The education she received in the climate change course has forced her to stop and reflect on everything that's happening. She got a lot of information about the greenhouse effect and the causes and the impacts of climate change. She has done the readings in order to complete the assignment for the course. All of this has helped her to become aware of the global warming problem. Before the course, she thought it was the government's responsibility or that of other people to solve environmental problems. Since her training, she has really understood that each one of us must do our part for things to get done.

It was a bit difficult for her to change her habits at home, for example, to turn off the television when she wasn't watching it, but it wasn't terribly difficult. To change a habit, we have to make a little more effort at first and that's harder. But the more we do it, the more it becomes another good habit.

She is proud of herself when she keeps her commitment. The fact that she feels guilty when she does something that has an environmental impact moves her to adopt new behaviours. Her lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse.

The walk on the Bouctouche Dune during the climate change course and the explanations of the fragility of the ecosystem made her think even more and helped her understand that each of us must do our part to make changes.

There are some people in her school who are quite concerned with the environment. They do composting and discuss things. This encourages Octavie to do her part.


Samuel (a teacher)

Samuel has a wood furnace in his house. He wanted his setup to be efficient, both energetically and environmentally. While doing his research, he realized his furnace was not energy efficient. So, he made some changes. He found this difficult because it was costly, but, now he's made most of the necessary adjustments.

What motivated him to try this new behaviour was primarily for economic reasons, more than for environmental reasons, because he wanted to reduce his oil heating bill. However, thanks to the research he's done for the climate change course, he feels this is even more efficient for the environment.

What is difficult with the change that he has chosen is the cost for the modifications he's done as well as the need to continually supply this furnace (with wood) to avoid the oil heating from turning on. He wants to avoid this for economic and environmental reasons. As he says, oil is expensive and polluting.

He feels very good about doing his action. He really feels he is contributing by salvaging wood for heating. (He collects trees and stumps. He even salvaged the wood from a barn which he demolished and all the no-good wood goes into his furnace). In doing the research for this project, he learned that big boilers (furnaces) allow for the recycling of wood from construction and bark - which can be burned rather than buried in a landfill. He feels bad when he knows his furnace is not burning efficiently because he knows it pollutes.

The fact that he's in the Prince Edward Island Waste Watch program has motivated him to be more careful. He has really appreciated the discussions during the workshops on climate change. The information he's gotten from the discussions has helped him greatly. Other people's ideas have pushed him to try things in his class. He liked the way that the participants' questions were treated by the facilitators and that they were respected.

His children make him think about future generations and they move him to do things to help the environment. He is a little disappointed about the legacy of the "babyboomers" generation. For Samuel, his children are his hope. It is the love he feels for them which incites him to environmentally-friendly actions. When he goes to the Farmers' Market, he sees a lot of people who are motivated and who sell organic products.


Mutants from Cornerbrook, Newfoundland wrote a song.


Recycling, bottles and cans,
Juice boxes too,
A helping hand ,
For Mother Earth,
Where we all live!

Let's not be mean,
Let's keep the Earth clean
Le Recyclage

Let's plant trees,
Some clean air PLEASE!
S'il vous plait!

Oh my good gosh,
The lights aren't off!
Pas d'gaspillage!

You won't get a fright,
Put on a night light!
Pas d'gaspillage!

It's not a bother,
To turn off the water!
Pas d'gaspillage!

Use your brain,
Don't let it go down the drain!
Pas d'gaspillage!

Pas d'gaspillage!

A Mutant from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia decided to write a poem.

A Mutant Moment

Alone on the street, too early for the kids,
Stillness on the harbour,
Seasmoke on parade.

A crosswalk with chrome,
Rubber on pavement slips away,
Snow crunches with impact,
To start the day.

A purple sunrise paints the border,
Along the school yard road,
With a smile from one who understands the load.

An army of smoke advancing on blue,
A bird attacks, then slips from view,
The time has come for a new climate for change.

Mike McCormick

Hi there, my name is Eileen Ouellet and I joined the "mutants' circle" in August 2002. I have decided to take up two actions to help the environment.

The first is to use less water in the shower by turning it off while I soap up since my new showerhead permits me to turn it on again at the regulated temperature. Though I truly enjoy the warm water running on my back I think of the millions of people who don't even have drinking water and it motivates me to limit my use of this valuable ressource.

The second action I have taken is to read about climate change at least twice a week on different websites. The more I learn about it, the more I can learn about other useful actions I can start.

Your story can also be added to this website. Send us a description of your behaviour change at :

Isabelle Levesque
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