By Larraine Roulston:
Voices of optimists rang out in the 1980’s believing that the 1990s would be the ‘turnaround’ decade. In a 1989 special 24-page newspaper supplement entitled ‘Our Fragile Future’, Thomas Lovejoy, a Washington biologist, credited with bringing plunder of the rain forests to world attention, said, “We have only 10 years to change course.” Maurice Strong, head of the United Nations first environment program stated in the same issue, “What we do or don’t do in the next decade will largely set the course … If we don’t, we are on the pathway to the demise of the human species.” Although the present warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are dire, solutions are still within grasp. If we all take simple steps, collectively we will be able to turn the tide.
Discuss Climate Change –
During the ‘80’s, grassroots environmental groups encouraged people to host Environmental Tea parties to debate solutions. According to the Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN), we have talked less and less about this subject, and as a result we are all underestimating the amount of support there is available for climate change policies. “Most people think that about half the population is opposed to renewables, for example,” says Adam Corner of COIN. “In fact about 70-80% are in favor. If we start having conversations about this, we can really build up a bedrock of support for this subject.” The organization 10:10 has been running ‘It’s Happening thread’ with this in mind. Today we can use social media and post green initiatives on Facebook.
Examine Your Diet –
Lessen your carbon footprint by eating less meat and not wasting food. The publication ‘An Atlas of Meat’ by Friends of the Earth’s Vicki Hird sheds light on the impacts of meat and dairy production, and aims to catalyze the debate over the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming. Buy locally.
Avoid Flying –
There are times when we must travel by air, but choosing to take a weekend flight for entertainment or skydiving, are about the worst things we can do for the environment. Destination weddings, air shows, lotto ticket flight prizes and even the November 11th memorial air tributes should all become a thing of the past.
Become Energy Efficient –
Start by using LED light bulbs. There are hundreds of other useful tips at Energy Savings Trust. If you are interested in generating your own energy, you will find advice on how to get started. As well, view the range of technologies and support schemes that are available.
Contact Members of Parliament –
Tell politicians that you are passionate about a certain issue and are following it closely. This will give them motivation to become proactive towards an environmental solution. Visit ‘WriteToThem’ for inspiration.
By lobbying city officials to incorporate bicycle lanes and pedestrian areas into your city, greening your investments, creating compost, reducing consumption and vacationing closer to home, you can tackle some of the many things we can do easily. It has taken almost 45 years, since the first Earth Day in 1970, for the environment to become featured in mainstream media. While the recent 2014 Remembrance Day services remain in our hearts, let us take up the Torch for the next generation and tackle the enemy – common habits. This may be the last decade that we have a chance to chart a new course. I will be a proud Canadian when my government steps up to the environmental plate.
Larraine Roulston writes the Pee Wee at Castle Compost adventure series. Visit www.castlecompost.com