BY WENDY HUENUL-VALDES
Having the ability to wear shorts one day and play in the snow the next may seem like all fun and games, but the weather changes that are happening in the city are part of a larger problem.
In a March 9 Waterloo Region Record story, Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s environmental commissioner, said Ontarians need to start living a more gas conscious lifestyle.
“Ontario has set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by 2020 by 15 per cent below the levels recorded in 1990, and by 37 per cent of the same baseline by 2030. Ontario met its 2014 target mostly by closing coal-fired electricity plants. Hitting the 2020 goal … will require a deeper cut in emissions than the province made in the almost quarter-century from 1990 to 2014.”
A lot of this can be easily done if everyone set aside their comfort and looked at the bigger picture. Earth will soon run out of the resources humans need to live the comfortable lives they are used to. So, we have to make some adjustments. Instead of cranking the thermostat in the winter, wear layers or some warm sweaters. Carpooling and making the conscious effort to walk to the corner store instead of taking the minute drive to it needs to become the new norm.
“Through most of human civilization, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has hovered around 260 parts per million,” Saxe said. Once it hits 350 parts per million “that is the highest level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we can have and expect the world to be basically stable.”
The bad news is we passed 350 parts per million in 1988, and currently sit at 400 parts per million.
Every winter the snow comes later, Christmases are greener and people are literally wearing shorts one day and winter jackets the next. This is not normal. It is not normal having a morning that is 10 C and having snow that very same night. This can no longer be something that is simply amusing, because killing our planet is terrifying. The government can implement caps on businesses using too much gas but it is not just up to the government to solve this problem. People need to realize the environment is not something we can compromise on. This planet is the only one we have and it’s time to start taking care of it instead of turning a blind eye.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.