It’s easy being green

Sky, woods, lakeFirst of all, thank you to everyone who contributed to this first issue of the new Toronto-Danforth Greens Newsletter. And thank you for taking the time to read it. The newsletter will focus on issues and events in our riding and provide a “Green perspective” on many issues in the day to day media.

By “Green perspective”, we mean using the 6 fundamental GREEN Principles that the Green Party of Canada uses as a filter through which it views every issue facing the country. Proposed solutions to the country’s problems must meet these 6 principles or they will not become Green Party policy:

  1. Ecological wisdom — “Let’s not destroy the planet.”
  2. Social justice — “Be fair to everyone in the world.”
  3. Participatory democracy — “All voices should be heard.”
  4. Non-violence — “Peace through cooperation, not intimidation.”
  5. Sustainability — “Let’s leave something for our grandchildren.”
  6. Respect for diversity — “Live and let live.”

Our goal will be to demonstrate just how easy and beneficial a change to a “green” lifestyle can actually be for you and for those you love. As you can see from the 6 principles above, “being green” goes far beyond just the ecology of our planet, it’s about the values we choose to live by.

Living and being Green does not mean giving up all luxuries but instead simply adapting our mindset and values. Do you want to go for a pleasant healthy walk or watch another rerun on T.V.? Do you want to go to a mall and buy substandard goods from overseas or do you want to shop locally and make sure they are quality and healthy goods? Do you want to buy electricity from a nuclear reactor or coal/gas/oil plant or do you want clean power from wind and solar?

These are choices we all make every day. We can choose to spend more on some products and services and cut back on others that, when we analyze their value, actually serve little purpose or cost far more than the sticker price.

For example, our riding suffers from high levels of air pollution primarily due to our society’s dependence on the automobile. While increasing transit use will help, transit is not a feasible or convenient option for everyone. However, switching to LEV’s Hybrids and even electric vehicles will go a long way to improving the air we breathe. Combined with improved transit, making our community more walk able and bicycle friendly, we all win though improved health and a more enjoyable community.

Instead, our Federal government is cutting rebates on efficient vehicles when they should be going in the opposite direction to make sure all our automobile plants are converted to the production of hybrid and electric vehicles. Even climate change “deniers” acknowledge that oil will run out. When that happens, all the plants producing fossil fuel powered cars will close. Since the auto industry is a major component to Ontario’s economy it makes sense to convert this sector to producing electric vehicles to protect this vital sector. This is where a lack of vision is most apparent among all of our current governing parties.

The same can be said for the continued use and support of our existing coal, gas and nuclear power production infrastructure. Contrary to all the misinformation we are continuously fed, this province alone has massive wind power potential (600 GW potential wind power alone versus the 30 GW of total power we currently use as per the Ontario Power Authorities own reports). With the 300GW from Hudson’s/James Bay we could:

  1. Power Ontario with 100% clean, renewable energy thereby exceeding our Kyoto obligations;
  2. Provide excellent paying jobs for our aboriginal people and Northerners for construction and maintenance of the wind turbines, and
  3. Help claim sovereignty in our North.

As for the other 300 GW, the construction and maintenance of these would create high paying, SUSTAINABLE jobs. This is about VISION. Add in new solar technology that will be as cost effective if not more so than other existing power sources and the future could be very GREEN should we invest in sustainability today. Imagine all this excess electric power?! What would we do with it? How about selling it to the Americans cheaply enough to force the closure of all their coal plants! Indirectly we would help the US meets its Kyoto targets as well.

Those are just two examples of what we mean by “being green”. What else can you do? Write letters to MPs, MPPs and City Councilors and let them know when you think they are right or wrong. Send them suggestions. When you see journalists or editors writing misinformed, incorrect articles, send the publication a letter to the editor. We hear much about the power of the press, but the power of people is even stronger, but only if it’s used.

Future articles will be filled with many more examples of how easy it is “being green.”

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