This is my son, Jacob. He can say “Hi” and “Bye”. He climbs onto tables. He climbs under tables. He climbs onto me. He smiles with all fifteen of his teeth. He laughs so hard when I tickle him. He is my son and I love him. Until he was born I did not truly understand the meaning of the words “I would do anything for you.” Now I understand.
For a long time, I’ve thought about our relationship with our world. But only recently I discovered that we are in a desperate state of crisis when it comes to the environment. The world is changing dramatically as the result of our actions and will continue to do so unless we make massive and sustained changes. We have huge challenges ahead of us – the main one being to reduce our global carbon emissions.
But why should you care? Because you have a Jacob in your life. He may be your son, your grandson, your nephew, your neighbour. What will his life be like in 10 years? In 30? In 50? We may not be here to see that world but he will be. What will our legacy be? Will we be the generation that squandered the remaining time we had to act? Will we be the generation that indulged ourselves with no thought for the real future of our children? Or will we be the generation that made a difference?
What should you do? This problem requires individual action but more importantly it demands political action. Take a moment to read the ideas below and to visit the links.
For the sake of all our Jacobs, get involved,
Richard and Jessica Munter
I’ve started with political action because this is where the real changes must be made. Our individual contributions help reduce carbon emissions but not enough. Voluntary reductions of carbon emissions (such as through the use of hybrid vehicles, energy efficient homes, renewable energy, etc.) will not on their own be sufficient to meet the targets that the science now demands.
Carbon emissions must now be lowered so greatly that the only way to achieve that lies in government regulation and international cooperation. Unfortunately, the political will is weak as is the population’s demand for change. This is where you come in. Together, we need to raise public awareness and lobby government to take decisive action on climate change. This can be done by contacting your elected representative.
In addition to contacting your elected representatives directly, you can get involved with lobby groups such as:
- Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
- David Suzuki Foundation
- Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund)
- Environmental Defence
- Greenpeace Canada
- Nature Canada
- Pembina Institute
- Pollution Probe
- Sierra Club Canada
- World Wildlife Fund Canada
Volunteer with or donate to these or other organisations fighting climate change.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about where and how to act. Suggestions marked with a dollar sign* can save you money.
- turn down your thermostat 2° in winter and raise it 2° in summer*
- use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs*
- buy local produce (to reduce carbon emissions produced by transporting food long distances)
- eat at least one vegetarian meal a week (raising animals for food comes with huge environmental costs)*
- switch to renewable electricity like that supplied by Bullfrog Power
- use recycled paper (trees suck up carbon so by keeping forests intact, we help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere)*
- better insulate your home to reduce heating and cooling costs*
- support environmentally responsible businesses
- clean or replace filters on air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators; when running efficiently, these appliances use less energy*
on the go:
- walk instead of drive for those short trips; combine multiple errands into one*
- take public transit or ride your bike*
- avoid flying (long distance flights generate tons of carbon dioxide per passenger)*
- keep your car tuned up to so it produces less pollution*
- shut off your computer at night*
- choose green suppliers
- donate 1% of your profits to environmental organizations
- implement the same energy efficiencies from home at the office – e.g. energy efficient appliances*