It’s time to take action

OK! The evidence is more than complete that we must do more to improve the environment and reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Yes, we did sign the Kyoto protocols. We paid lip service to reducing our outputs. We talked the talk. However, as a nation, we have failed to really take actions.
We can blame the government; first the Chrétien and Martin Liberal governments and now the Harper government for not reducing Canada’s emissions.
Beginning at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, countries set about stabilizing greenhouse concentrations to hold developing countries to levels of 1990.
The pact was formalized in 1997 with the Kyoto Protocol, which set binding targets to reduce levels to below 1990 levels.
We now are learning of all the consequences that will befall us, our children, and their children. The costs of implementing change will be large; but the costs of failing to bring about change will have an even greater impact on the lives of Canadians.
The pact ends in 2012. Canada has not met its targets and really even today has very few policies in place to begin reductions. Some developing countries are meeting their targets.
This week, delegates arrived in Bali to reach new agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s policy seeks to include developing nations into the process and not just include developed ones.
We can ask governments to meet the requirements. They can create incentives for citizens and businesses to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels.
But only the people of the nation can begin to make reductions.
I had a university professor some 37 years ago who suggested at the time that the only power that should be considered was that developed from hydro. He looked at it being clean, renewable, and safe. He probably was ahead of his time.
To achieve a reduction of greenhouse gases, we must transform how we power our global economy and how we power our communities. We must look to other methods of developing renewable sources of energy.
In Fort Frances, AbitibiBowater is building the hog fuel boiler. Is there an opportunity to grab some of that unused energy to heat buildings in the downtown core, notably the Civic Centre, courthouse, and hospital?
Yes, the infrastructure is not currently in place but what would be the cost of putting in the piping to heat those buildings? Could the community reduce the amount of fossil fuels it consumes?
In Canada, we tend to use a lot of energy—firstly to heat our homes in winter and cool them in the summer.
A large home used to be 1,000 square feet. Today that is considered a small home. Today the average home runs over 1,700 square feet, requiring more energy for heat and cooling.
Higher energy costs have not discouraged us from building super large homes. Are we ready to downsize?
Nor has the price of gas discouraged us from operating large SUVs and trucks.
We are encouraged to replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient lights. More LED lights adorn Christmas trees and homes than ever before. Most appliances and televisions now use less energy than before.
We, personally, have lots of choices we can make. Are we interested?

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