Solving a problem as immense and complicated as climate change is beyond the concept of what most of us can handle. We simply become over-whelmed and put our trust in others to be honest and forthright. Afterall, they’re the experts – right? Let me give you one example to illustrate why this may be a bad idea. The federal carbon tax is a hidden tax. Look at any of your bills. Do you see a line that’s shows how much you’re paying to offset carbon emissions? At the pumps, do you see a similar statement? No you don’t – simple as that. The whole idea of this is to make us realize that fighting climate change will cost us financially as well as environmentally. So where’s the benefit if we don’t know the real impact or the cost? On one hand, politicians say we must pay our own way, next they say we will tax you and then we will give you back more than you gave us! How can that be!?? I get taxed and make money? Nonsense. It is this type of rhetoric that ruins the work the government is trying to accomplish. It’s time to tell the politicians that we want to know the truth about the real cost and the benefits of what they say we must do to save the planet.
As individuals we can only try to do what is within our power. First and foremost we need to be informed so we truly can make wise decisions and challenge those who tell us the only way is their way. Ask them how and why they know it will work. Ask them why we can’t actually support global solutions and must only sponsor home-grown ones?
Make wise choices in your own lives. Commute wisely, shop wisely, live wisely. Make the best choices. Did you know you can get served on real plates and cups at many fast-food outlets if you eat-in? Have you ever thought of taking your own take-out container with you when you buy lunch? Do you carry a travel mug and ask that it be filled rather than using a throwaway cup? Have you ever asked your restaurant why they serve milk in tiny plastic one-serving containers and why sugar and salt/pepper has to be single-packaged? Do you reuse milk bags as lunch or freezer bags? Do you ever challenge your municipality to do better environmentally? Do they have a no-idling bylaw? What is their policy on water bottles in town facilities? Do they have recycling containers in town parks and are they emptied regularly? What do they do with co-mingled waste they find in these bins? Does your town have a native tree planting program in place? If not, why not? Do they support roadside mowing without thought to pollinator health and the timing of the cut? Is the cut larger than needed? I just watched mowers on Hwy 401 near Cornwall cut a swath 75 meters wide for several kilometres at the peak of the breeding seasons of several ground nesting species! Why?
Speak out! You have a voice, but use it wisely and base what you say on knowledge not passion or rhetoric. Question what you hear and find a forum to be heard. Join a club or organization that has a mandate that agrees with what you believe to be right, but again make sure that what you want will actually lead to solutions and benefits. Above all try to be non-partisan in making decisions. It doesn’t really matter which party comes up with a good idea. If it’s good, it’s good, regardless of who thought of it.
Live your life as if the environment and climate depended on it – it does. Cut waste where you can; make good choices when you can; challenge others when you can.
These are only a few ideas and thoughts. Do what you do with good conscience and with the climate amd Mother Earth in mind and we will eventually be fine.
Geoff Carpentier is a published author, expedition guide and environmental consultant. Visit Geoff on-line at www.avocetnatureservices.com and on LinkedIn and Facebook.