Commentary by Chris Clegg
It was a spirited debate Feb. 10 at the M.D. of Smoky River meeting between some councillors and climate change co-ordinator Emily Plihal.
Councillor Donald Dumont, it is fair to say, is not the biggest fan of climate change. Plihal, on the other hand, brings incredible passion to the debate. Both dug in deep while the banter continued.
It was a good listen! I am not here to say climate change is a farce, nor I am here to say Dumont is wrong, because I just don’t know. Even scientists can’t agree, although most seem to lean toward believing the impact is substantial.
However, what I do agree with is Plihal’s statement that we can all do a little bit to help. Climate change or not, that is a good thing.
In town, clerks and cashiers pretty much know I don’t like the few items I purchase put in a plastic bag. I know it’s not the here-all end-all to save the world, but I’d like to think if others did so it would sure save a lot of plastic. Why use a second plastic bag when your vegetables are already in one? If you’re getting a carton or jug of milk, why use a plastic bag? Or a frozen pizza? We don’t use a plastic bag at the pizza parlour, do we?
A marathon begins with one step, so saving one plastic bag from the landfill is a step in the right direction, I’d like to think.
What would it be like if each person every day did just one little thing to help save the planet and/or recycle? People with the attitude that the world is so big it doesn’t matter, or that other countries pollute more, may be true, but we can all do a little bit to help.
Dumont cited a figure I have heard many times. Canada contributes less than two per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. Canada should be proud of that! We have outstanding records on emissions from agriculture and energy production.
However, does that give us an excuse to not turn out the lights, recycle plastic and compost? Not really! We can all do and should try to do better. I admit I am terrible for not shutting lights off because the actual juice is cheap as heck. It’s the distribution charges that comprise most of your power bill. A poor excuse for not doing better.
As we all grow older, one should not ignore the incredible advancements made in solar power, light bulbs, and more. Gradually, the world is moving toward the elimination of fossil fuels. For now, however, it is a cheap source of energy.
I may not see it in my lifetime but the world will eventually be run on solar-powered cars. Scientists will figure out a way to harness the energy and store it. Inventions occur daily at an incredible pace as discoveries are made. The change at which the world is undergoing is occurring at breakneck speed.
Farming is certainly not what it used to be. We are only seeing the beginning of major transportation changes. Who would have thought 100 years ago we would have the transportation networks we enjoy today?
Climate change or not, it only makes sense to move toward renewable energy. The problem is, it has to be inexpensive and it has to generate the same power as fossil-fueled engines. In the meantime, try to do at least one little thing each day. Earth gives us so much, let’s give just a little bit back.