Environmental changes start at home

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To the Editor:

CBC One’s March 23 BC Almanac, hosted by Gloria Makarenko, discussed our inadequate commitment to battling climate change caused by our use of fossil fuels. The retired doctor who shared his memories of the Canada-wide mobilization, which was our response to the Second World War, caught my attention. Everywhere in Canada people were aware and focused, committed to the cause. Not only did men and women enlist in the armed forces, but citizens at home contributed to the war effort by reducing their consumption of critical resources. Many grew Victory gardens to maximize food distribution across the dangerous Atlantic for the troops  and the largely blockaded population of Great Britain.

When people have identified a foe, for better or for worse, their collective energy knows no bounds. There is no longer any doubt; 97 per cent of climate experts are in agreement. And sadly enough, the enemy is us, or, more concisely, our current lifestyle and its profligate use of fossil fuels. To be blunt, we have been as spoiled children in our consumption of cheaper, better, faster, and more comfortable, more pleasurable, more exciting.

Perhaps we in Creston are more entrenched than most in fossil fuelled ease and pleasure. Aside from the large number of motorised recreational activities such as motor boating and snowmobiling that are a large part of the Creston lifestyle, we make numerous small trips in our cars. Having worked for 25 years in the town, I was struck by the number of my colleagues who travelled four times between work and home. Today, I witness the same behaviour in my working neighbours who are able to cover quickly the small distance between work and home to enjoy a comfortable lunch at home. Simply packing a lunch to work  would reduce our  commutes by half and lower our carbon use substantially. For an even greater reduction, why not view bicycles and walking as transportation instead of recreational activities? Surely, distance is not an issue in our conveniently small community.

Now too is the time to engage our municipal and regional leadership in the challenges of sustainable communities. Already, the present administration has taken steps to provide recharging facilities for electrical cars. However, there are many projects that would provide both employment and a greater impact on reducing our use of fossil fuels. With promised funding for more efficient infrastructures available from the federal government, there is every reason for Creston to take a leadership role in the war against climate change.

Finally, a word about the dangers of comparison. A generation of Canadians were ready to give up their comforts, their daily pleasures, freedoms and even their lives to bring an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the fascist movements of Europe and Japan. The Second World War spilled the blood of millions. Experts have yet to calculate the accelerating carnage that climate change is likely to cause. But already, it is the poor and the uneducated who are suffering greatly. Droughts in Syria and sub-Saharan Africa have led to the political and economic instability result in the turmoil, separation, anxiety, desperation and anger of having to give up one’s community, one’s homeland, one’s gardens, farms, and the network of life one was raised in, nourished by. The stakes in this war against climate change are greater. What is at stake? Our home, this planet and the amazing network of life that has sustained us.

Clements Verhoeven


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