From a general perspective, Canadians are beginning to question their carbon footprint and embrace the principles of recycling. While much progress remains to be done, the level of awareness is slowly rising. Today’s parents are thinking about the world that their children will inherit: the good, the bad and the ugly.
While the above noted paradigm shift is to be lauded, are these efforts dwarfed by the pollution generated by industrial polluters such as the petroleum sector? When we consider that the Federal Clean Air Act (tabled 2 years ago) was critiqued for being too weak and not aggressive enough, will the new Federal Green Plan (Turning the Corner) rise to the challenge and be the catalyst for true change? Consider the following report from the Sierra Club: By 2015, tar sands GHG emissions are expected to rise to between 57 and 97 MT–which would make it the single largest contributor to GHG emissions growth in Canada. This would also virtually guarantee that Canada would fail to achieve its Kyoto Protocol targets. Is Green Plan’s targeted 20% reduction in GHG by 2020 sufficient? If not, our recycling efforts are simply the equivalent of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Our Governments have a challenging task: maintain our wealth while protecting our environmental and economic future. In addition to the latter they must also work on changing our consumption habits which are deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. Understanding that individual efforts are required, have we truly dealt with the elephant in the room? Can true change occur? I have to hope so if not the future of mankind will be bleak. We will be become the frog immersed in progressively boiling water. When the water reaches boiling point, it will be too late.