The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Remember the environment?

Let's talk politics and the environment.
Remember when our Government said they were going to do something about global warming?
When they were willing participants of the Kyoto Protocol?
We stood behind that.
Maybe we can focus a bit on what we can do as individuals.
Remember the One Ton challenge?
We can do that!
The present Government tossed it.
But you don't have to.
Watch the Al Gore interview,
Make it a date to go see his film.
Think about what we can do.
Let us know what you plan to do.
It's an open topic.

I got the following info from the EPA global warming kids site... just to help us get started...

When Do You Send Greenhouse Gases into the Air?
Whenever you ...

Watch TV
Use the Air Conditioner
Turn on a Light
Use a Hair Dryer
Ride in a Car
Play a Video Game
Listen to a Stereo
Wash or Dry Clothes
Use a Dish Washer
Microwave a Meal
... you are helping to send greenhouse gas into the air.
To perform many of these functions, you need to use electricity. Electricity comes from power plants. Most power plants use coal and oil to make electricity. Burning coal and oil produces greenhouse gases.
Other things we do send greenhouse gases into the air too;
The trash that we send to landfills produces a greenhouse gas called
methane. Methane is also produced by the animals we raise for dairy and meat products and when we take coal out of the ground. Whenever we drive or ride in a car, we are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. And, when factories make the things that we buy and use everyday, they too are sending greenhouse gases into the air.
To watch more posts about the environment click on The Hour


Sarah said...

I don't feel comfortable delcaring myself "environmentally conscious", but I do care...I am not apathetic. I do plan to watch "An Inconvient Truth", no matter how much it terrifies me. Lets hope our government is watching too! Recycling and community projects can only get so far. I think it is definely time for government intervention and major manditory changes; Let's show some real appreciation for our beautiful country by keeping it that way.

I recycle my cardboard, cans n' bottles and I cut up those plastic pop thingys so birds and fish don't get trapped in them. If it counts, I have been to see David Suzuki speak. And I think I should get some props for spending the last 13 years taking transit, rather than being another vehicle on the road. Now that I have a toddler in tow and time is of the essence, I am actually getting my license. What's worse is the vehicle handed down to me is going to be an SUV, ewwww! Not much I can do about it but wait until I can afford something more efficient. It's a good thing I am 10 mins. drive away from work and groceries. And if by chance I actually get to leave the Suburbs for the excitment of the Metropolis, it's always in some kind of car pool.

Barbara said...

I think you are going about this the right way. To my shame I drive the five minutes to work just so I can drive home at lunch and check my emails. *hangs her head in shame*. No excuses for me...nothing a bicycle and blackberry can't solve (if I had one). Or I could just bring a book and forget about checking emails. *Think of cost of 20 minutes of gas I will save on nice weather days. *think of the environment...*

Barbara said...

I copied the bulletin I got from David Suzuki from his MySpace. Here it is.
Quebec gets it right on global warming
Body: While Environment Minister Rona Ambrose fights for her political career over the federal government's inaction on global warming, Quebec has put forward its own plan to deal with the problem - and it's one that could teach the feds a thing or two.

Ms. Ambrose has been taking serious heat for her government's flouting of the Kyoto Protocol and international law. While most industrialized countries are not only sticking with the accord, 30 out of 34 of them are well on their way to meeting their commitments.

Meanwhile, back in the great white north, Ms. Ambrose and Prime Minister Harper have shut down every climate change plan and insisted that the federal government will follow a "made-in-Canada" approach - as though the previous plans were made somewhere else.

Ms. Ambrose says she scrapped existing programs to fight global warming because they weren't working. She may be partially right about some of them. Some programs only appealed to people who were already doing their part to reduce climate change. These folks are sometimes called "free riders" because they got a financial incentive or rebate to do something they were going to do anyway. As a result, these programs were really more like tax cuts than effective greenhouse gas reduction policies.

Yet, in spite of Ms. Ambrose's complaints, the only thing in the recent federal budget that her government touted as a climate change initiative was a tax incentive for transit riders. However, the tax deduction was not nearly enough to encourage new riders, which means it simply becomes a tax cut - with zero reduction in global warming emissions.

So when Quebec unveiled its climate change plan last week, it was a refreshing change. The plan actually has a target to reduce emissions - 1.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. The province still wants to meet Kyoto, but it expects the federal government to help them get there. And rather than use tax cuts that only benefit free riders, it has a series of initiatives and regulations designed to get the province to its goal.

For example, a new mandatory building code to be introduced in 2008 that will update virtually all aspects of design, including building envelope, heating and air conditioning, lighting and ventilation. The new code is expected to improve the energy efficiency of new buildings by 25 per cent. It's an initiative that other provinces have been slow to adopt and the federal government has largely ignored.

Another step: mandating gas mileage standards to be equal to those introduced in California. Canada's fuel efficiency standards are currently voluntary and weak. By insisting that auto makers sell their cleanest, most modern models in Quebec - the very models that are also destined for California - Quebecers get cleaner air and end up with lower fuel bills. Don't all Canadians deserve to have this advantage too?

The plan also includes serious investment in wind energy and public transit, and a carbon tax on the bulk sale of oil - a progressive "polluter pay" initiative that helps the market reflect the true cost of fossil fuels on society. Right now, polluters are able to pass the cost of their pollution onto taxpayers through increased health care costs and environmental damage. A carbon tax is a more fair and equitable way of dealing with the costs of pollution.

Quebec's plan isn't perfect. It includes highway expansion projects and large hydroelectric dams that will cause more problems than they will fix. But it's a big step in the right direction. If Ms. Ambrose wants to keep her job, and ultimately Mr. Harper his, they would do well to pay attention.

Jeremy said...

Most apartment buildings don't recycle, nor do they typically have incentive programs to reduce electricity consumption: utilities are often included in the monthly rent. This suggests (to me, anyway) that there is a lot of room for improvement, especially since big cities like Toronto have lots of apartment buildings.

When we moved into our current apartment, I bought enough "Eco-friendly" lightbulbs for all of our lights. (That was over a year ago and I still haven't changed a bulb!) Last month, I also went out and bought a small recycling bin, so separating the garbage would be easier. (Now we carry our recycling out to the neighbour's dumpster, and it has dramatically reduced the amount of garbage we produce.) We also use the subway almost exclusively, so not only do we not have to pay for gas, but we also don't pollute while we commute. In short, when we moved into our new apartment, our family made a choice to reduce our ecological footprint as much as possible.

Now I'm thinking of buying some green tags to offset the remainder of our emissions....

What have you done?

Allison said...

A while back (I think even a few years ago) a friend sent me the link for the David Suzuki Nature challenge, his points I've listed here:
1.Reduce home energy use by 10%
2. Choose an energy-efficient home and appliances
3. Don’t use pesticides
4. Eat meat-free meals one day a week
5. Buy locally grown and produced food
6. Choose a fuel efficient vehicle
7. Walk, bike carpool or take transit
8. Choose a home close to work or school
9. Support alternative transportation
10. Learn more and share with others

I can say I do just about all of those listed, but as you guys have been discussing, sometimes its hard to do everything. Especially if your job requires you to drive, or your apt doesn't have a good recycling system. I think what's good about this little 'challenge' is that it gets the dialogue going, and points out how simple it really is.

Alana said...

I'm sure there's more I could do to contribute to Nature Challenge or the One Ton Challenge, but I DO take the bus everywhere I go instead of driving or taking a cab, or I just walk instead. And I do buy locally grown organic fruits, vegetables and meats, all natural, no chemicals. And I know it doesn't count towards toxic emissions, but I never litter, NEVER. I'd rather have a pocket full of a day's worth of gum wrappers and bus transfers than throw it on the ground.

And "An Inconvenient Truth" looks absolutely enthralling, I look forward to seeing it. It's good to see politicians do more with their time and money than just lying and campaigning, for once.

Anonymous said...

You're addin' to the freakin greenhouse gas problem by spouting so loudly. Let's just all move back to the forests and burn trees like we used to. You'd be happy with that?

Barbara said...

your right anon, time to turn off my 'puter and go enjoy the semi-fresh air. Nothing like a good walk in the vanishing woods.

Deb said...

and if we could only get those damn cows to cooperate and quit farting.

On a serious note...very important issue and thanks for the reminders of how we can help. I'm pleased to say that at our lottery booth we recycle every ticket, rather than "trash" them (like many places do). Little things all add up in the end.

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