CHANGING OUR HABITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
by Robyn Lee
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently visited Canada to encourage –among other things– more urgent government action against global warming than Ottawa’s "timid" climate change plan.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s point is well taken. It’s the Harper government’s timidity on environmental action that’s been particularly frustrating. Ottawa is responding feebly to public anxiety about the environment, not only blaming the uncertainty of how environmental policies might affect the economy, but also the former Liberal government’s inaction to lay the groundwork.
As in the United States, it’s not the federal government that’s taking a leadership role on the environment, but rather consumers and corporations who respond to consumer "green" demands. They understand that the cost of not acting on the environment is far greater.
Even the Ontario government’s initiatives seem tentative and almost apologetic. One example. Prompted by the provincial waste disposal crisis, the Ontario government would like Ontarians to cut back on the 7 million plastic grocery bags they use every day. If we don’t voluntarily cut our usage in half by 2012, the province threatens to get "really tough" with us. They’re proposing charging us for the bags, or possibly even banning the bags altogether.