Posted by: jmtoriel | February 15, 2008

Enough is enough!

Provincial and federal governments want us to believe that this is our problem and we, the citizens, must take responsible efforts to curb our GHG emissions in our daily lives while giving little or no incentives to do so (Gordon Campbell’s Liberals have made this abundantly clear in this week’s Throne Speech). This purely rhetorical assumption is flawed and shows the lack of understanding and commitment by those currently making the big decisions (and largely favouring big business, industry, and the natural resource sector).Meanwhile, big business and industrial emitters get off scott free while the rest of us ponder our collective fate (the best friends of BC Liberals and federal Conservatives). Enough is enough! Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil is the 3rd largest emitter in Canada (according to Corporate Knights Magazine’s The Carbon 50: Canada’s Biggest GHG Polluters) at a whopping 13, 580,131 tonnes last year (and they want to expand – putting them in the lead)! Each Canadian emits approximately 5.7 tonnes in day-to-day activities over the year (Environment Canada figures), but the average goes to 23 tonnes when industry and utilities are factored in. Am I the only one to notice this massive discrepancy?… It’s time for the larger emitters AND the governments to take on the responsibility with concrete action (as they have done in Europe -and last I looked the Euro as well as their economy were doing far better by not relying primarily focussed on the natural resource sectors!) by adopting an entrenching polluter pays principle. At the same time, those polluting less should be rewarded (hence, there’s balance and fairness). In a globalized world where most of our Canadian exports head straight south, we are setting ourselves up for disaster while massively polluting our own backyards for short-term gain. Enough is enough! We must better manage our own resources while limiting growth in conventional forms of energy supply. Switching to the vast array of renewables (wind, tidal, wave, geothermal and solar) would largely reverse the negative trends and create green jobs and boost innovation in the process. We could be world leaders in this regard and decentralize the grid by making our homes and buildings net zero emitters (green building, passive solar panels, geothermal heat exchangers, etc). Incentives are needed to make this happen and it all starts with the ending of heinous subsidizing of the most profitable (and most polluting industry on the planet) — BIG OIL.Instead of clinging on to what we know is damaging our planet and our health, we must turn over a new leaf and realize that the economy is, indeed, a part of the planet’s ecology and not the reverse. Separating the 2 is unfounded and illogical. Listening to political rhetoric continuously separating the 2 and creating sides of environmentalists vs business is preposterous. We all share the Earth’s resources (of which all are finite).Finite resources are increasingly less plentiful and there are no new continents to exploit. This is the capitalist reality that is unaccounted for in GDP calculations and account statements. We should instead monitor our well-being and happiness with an alternate Well-Being Index (accounting for true cost of business at societal and environmental levels as well as our current lifestyles). Measuring communities, regions, province/state, nationally and globally we can generate a genuine macro-picture of our current state — not just measuring uncontrollable growth). Then we could achieve a high quality of life with smaller social and ecological footprints based on a more frugal approach. Buying and spending more does not make us better or happier than anyone else — and that’s the real bottom line. So, enough IS enough. Enough said.

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