Sunday, April 08, 2007

Should Global Warming Solutions Start At Home?

Happy Easter my inshutis. I hope you all had a blast

A couple of days back, Hopes showed me pictures he was about to upload on to his Flickr page (find one attached here-below). His excitement emanated from the fact that he captured with utmost clarity, the Toronto Skyline from the Hamilton Mountains, which is a distance of about 90 km (56 miles).

Hopes' snap depicting beauty and the beast. Dofasco (above)
accounts for 14.6% area pollution. Both Dofasco & Stelco
have agreed to pay for clean up. Source: Hamilton Spectator

I am not bringing this up to brag about his camera, but rather, the evidence of thick gas emissions from Ontario’s largest Steel Industries (Dafasco Industries and Stelco Inc.) located in our city of Hamilton. According to Environment Canada (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program) Dafasco alone contributes 14.6% of this area's total emissions and Stelco Inc. 11.5% which is, by simple calculation, a national emission accumulation of 2.6% by both polluters.

According to a similar report, large Industries in this country have emitted into the atmosphere more than 4.5 billion kilograms of pollutants that cause health complications like cancer, respiratory ailments et al. and environmental degradation that accelerates climate change and yet the current regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that supposedly set national air quality standards, are so flimsy they might as well not exist, owing to the mere fact that they do not trigger any punitive action to violations.

The way climate change is hastily affecting us, it’s up to all of us to commence responsible energy consumption other than laying all the blame onto Industries and Governments. I for one signed a petition against the central government’s planned giveaway of Mabira forest in Uganda, but as petitioning locals, aren’t we late or indeed exhibiting double standards after doing virtually nothing for decades as this forest reserve got depleted for her wood resources, new settlements and farming by the local peasants around her? Shouldn't we - the media, Ugandan environmentalists, anybody agitating against gov't's move today, have tried fighting for the forest ages back?

Like wise a vast majority of Canadians that responded to a recent poll thought that the environment should be the top priority of Ottawa than terrorism and Afghanistan; that they are personally careful to avoid polluting; and that Ottawa should do more to be involved in the International politics of global warming. The million dollar question is, are we individually trying hard to avoid polluting the world or is it just lip service?

I am of the opinion that both the Provincial and Federal gov’ts agree on how to decrease on the supply of energy to consumers other than leaving the initiative to us. If all of us knew that on a certain day between say 10:00pm to 6:00am there will be power cuts but only enough to run essential services like hospitals, then I am sure we will all plan on alternatives like running our clocks on batteries, pouring buckets of water into toilets than flushing or even using energy reserving bulbs that actually save on energy. I believe this fight is contagious. If charity begins at home, I am convinced that big time polluters will finally jump onto this band wagon as a result.

The problem is the difficulty of putting these abstract thoughts into action, because to be fair choices are sometimes difficult. However, if people in Uganda, Rwanda and other developing countries can live relatively comfortably in their world of energy shortage and power cuts, why can’t we?