Friday, December 08, 2006

Letter to Citizen: Vote with your feet, not your car keys

Here is a letter I sent to the Citizen after reading this article. We'll see if they want to print it:

Buy, live locally to save energy

re: "'Turn off lights more, use less water,' Ambrose says"
Friday, December 8, 2006, A02

It's funny that federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose is sending out the same messages to Canadians that her ministry's One Tonne Challenge campaign sent before she cancelled it earlier this year. She says "Industry alone is not going to be able to solve this issue."

Frankly, it'll be nice to see Industry do anything.

I am sick of being asked to do a little bit more. I try to set an example, but there's no more energy that I can save: Every light in my apartment is already compact fluorescent. My hydro bill is under $30 a month (with electric heaters). I bicycle everywhere, so I won't be "buying a more fuel-efficient car".

I buy local goods, which don't require as much energy to transport, but this is difficult. Maybe Minister Ambrose can tell me why the apple at the big-box grocery store from South Africa costs less than the one right next to it from Ontario? Or the beef from South America, and the myriad consumer products from China and southeast Asia (where, I might add, pollution regulations aren't as strict as in Canada)?

In Ottawa, the commercial property tax rate is much higher than the residential rate. When consumers buy their goods at a big-box store, local stores close, and the City loses their tax revenue. On top of this, the City must spend millions to build roads for citizens to drive to these large stores.

Those who want to reduce their energy consumption have already done so; Ms. Ambrose needs a better plan than asking politely if she wants to reach the rest of consumers. In the meantime, people should buy locally: vote with your feet, not your car keys.

- RG>


Anonymous said...

Nothing that Ambrose has said is any different than that which was first talked about in the 70's: personal responsibility for one's own environment, and a world environmental view requiring extra thought about how other people will treat the world. Sadly, Harper closed the book on Ambrose right after the personal responsibility part and before the chapter on "What Government Owes the Earth."
Thanks for biking! I am not able to bike so I rely on shank's pony and the transit system. Needless to say, both systems have their drawbacks and hours of service problems.
Ambrose would be better off making decisions on better ways for people to get around without killing the environment, but I hear she drives an SUV *sigh*
Thanks for being grouchy in a good way :)

Anonymous said...

Shank's pony, eh? Sounds familiar.

If you're into cycling (or the promotion thereof), Citizens for Safe Cycling could use your help!