‘Green’ reputation trashed by garbage
TORONTO—Canada’s consumer-based society and laggardly approach to reducing energy consumption has cast a long shadow over the country’s “green” reputation, a prominent think-tank said yesterday.
The Conference Board of Canada released its biannual report card of environmental performance, which ranks 17 developed countries across 14 indicators ranging from air quality to biodiversity.
Only the U.S. and Australia turned in a worse environmental performance, the board added.
France took top honours in the ranking, followed by Norway and Sweden.
Len Coad, director of Energy, Environment and Technology Policy at the Conference Board, said Canada’s poor showing is due largely to the country’s comparatively low-key response to environmental challenges.
Policy-makers have made strides towards improving Canada’s record, but haven’t reacted as efficiently as many other international players, he noted.
“Most of the challenges are being addressed, but given that we’re slipping in the ranking, we’re not addressing them strongly enough or quickly enough,” Coad stressed in a telephone interview from Calgary.
Canada’s performance on municipal waste was particularly alarming, Coad said.
Canadians threw out more trash per capita than any of their counterparts in the report, he noted, adding waste disposal rates sometimes were more than double the numbers posted by much more densely-populated countries such as Japan.
Canada did manage to post some strong scores in areas related to use of forest resources and threatened species protection, but Coad said the results emphasize the need for Canadians to weigh the consequences of their environmental practices.
Economic growth must be balanced with environmental sustainability, he stressed, adding every facet of Canadian society has a role to play in establishing that balance.