Find­ing so­lu­tions to climate change

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - OPINION - KEITH ASHLEY kash­[email protected]­

When I was a very young lad there were two things that kept me on track and fol­low the stan­dards my par­ents and school set for me.

In school, at the ten­der age of five, I, along with my friend Gord, dumped a bas­ket of horse chest­nuts on the teacher while she was play­ing the na­tional an­them. In the prin­ci­pal’s of­fice I was shown the strap. I never went back. Dad kept a long strap hang­ing in the stair­way to the base­ment. Didn’t know what it was for but took no chances.

Where am I go­ing with this story? Well it re­minds me of the po­lit­i­cal process not only here in Canada but through­out the world. The strap we have to­day to keep politi­cians in line is the power to vote. It is a crime that nearly more than half of Cana­di­ans do not vote dur­ing the elec­tion process lo­cally, provin­cially and fed­er­ally

Climate change is here and the ev­i­dence is all around us. One of the most dra­matic in­stances is the fact that the north­ern and and south­ern ice caps are melt­ing at an alarm­ing rate.

Ex­cess car­bon diox­ide in the at­mos­phere is one of the ma­jor rea­sons for our climate grad­u­ally warm­ing.

Car­bon tax is be­ing bandied around by many na­tions when the an­swer is star­ing them in the face. Canada is a car­bon neu­tral coun­try. We are lucky to have a ma­jor part of the coun­try cov­ered with forests. Last count I could find is 990-mil­lion acres of for­est. Th­ese forests, along with our marshes, grass­land, ab­sorb four times the amount of car­bon that Canada pro­duces. To me that would make a car­bon tax here in Canada just an­other gov­ern­ment tax grab.

Rus­sia, the Congo, Brazil and many other coun­tries have the lux­ury to be cov­ered with forests, marshes and grass lands. Would it not make a lot of sense to use th­ese ex­am­ples to show the rest of the world that for­est, grass land and marshes should be pro­tected from de­struc­tion by money hun­gry cor­po­ra­tions?

We can do more to re­duce our emis­sions and keep the pres­sure on oth­ers to do the same. The tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing so quickly in the area of al­ter­na­tive forms of pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity. Two young univer­sity stu­dents in the U.S. have been given a grant to pur­sue their al­ter­nate source for pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity. It is an ob­ject the size of a soc­cer ball that catches wind from all direc­tions, pro­duces elec­tric­ity and can be mounted on the bal­conies of apart­ments and high­rises to catch the wind as it swirls among the build­ings. It is just a mat­ter of time be­fore this sim­ple, in­ex­pen­sive invention will be on the mar­ket. There are many more in the works but the world has to wake up the the fact that things must change.

As I write this there are over 6,000 coal burn­ing plants (in pro­duc­tion or be­ing built) around the world.

Canada has an op­por­tu­nity to show the rest of the world what can be done. Pro­tect our forests, grass­land and marshes, plant trees on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, and find prac­ti­cal al­ter­na­tives to fos­sil fu­els. I have a great deal of faith in Canada’s youth to find so­lu­tions that can be shared around the world.

Re­mem­ber the vote (strap), just in case our gov­ern­ments need a lit­tle re­minder to get an ac­tion plan in place.

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