Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

It's Earth Day. To celebrate it, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has announced that the province will be banning cosmetic pesticide use in the province next year. (Farmers and forests will be exempt for now.)

That is good news. But one does have to wonder how relevant Earth Day is to many people any more. I still remember the celebrations and the hoopla over the 1990 events, the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. That year, people were really talking about what it meant and would take to save the Earth. You couldn't turn the radio dial without hearing at least one song about Earth each hour.

Since then, people have done little things that do help; like turning down the thermostat in the winter and up in the summer, changing light bulbs to more energy efficient models, using the cold water cycle for clothes washing, etc. But it's big industry that continues to get a free ride. Despite tough air and water regulations, they have collectively a much bigger footprint than we do. Under the guise of pollution credits, they are continuing to poison our water and our air. It's true that both Liberal and Conservative governments are to blame for the carte blanche, but it's gotten worse the last two and a half years. The current government in Ottawa which is content to see the former green Alberta turn into a wasteland isn't helping matters at all.

As oil hit $118 a barrel this morning, and the price of shipping food becomes evident at the supermarket, we need to think about what needs to be done. Long and hard. Because this is the only place we've got to live.

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