Cape Breton Post

Halifax talk on climate change calls for warning on gas nozzles


For the past few years sobering pictures on cigarette packs have been making Canadians think twice before lighting up – and some are hoping drivers do the same when lifting a gas nozzle.

Robert Shirkey, lawyer and executive director for the nonprofit Our Horizon, is stopping to speak at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday about their campaign to have municipali­ties across Canada require climate change informatio­n on gas pumps.

“A lot of people initially will come in … thinking ‘It’s a sticker, what’s a sticker going to do,’” Shirkey said Monday.

“If you’re exposed to this maybe once a week or so … you might be more motivated to consider something like public transit or carpooling.”

At first glance, Shirkey said the idea may seem like a band-aid solution for a huge issue like cli- mate change, but simple ideas are most effective at changing one’s mindset.

With more people reading labels like “use of this fuel product contribute­s to smog,” or how climate change may put up to 30 per cent of species at risk of extinction, or contribute to ocean acidificat­ion, Shirkey said it’s harder for people to disconnect themselves from the idea they are responsibl­e for these things happening.

He said conversati­on could move towards what alternativ­es to fossil fuels are out there, having citizens question the fuel industry more and explore different transporta­tion options, which all give politician­s more leverage when calling for transit funding and encouragin­g green technology innovation.

It’s easy to think of climate change as a result of the oil sands or offshore drilling, but if residents regularly use fossil fuels there will always be the infrastruc­ture to deliver them, Shirkey said.

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