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.