Bring back Northern’s Red Maple to save the environment

Editorial & Opinion, Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When Guy Dauncey came to town earlier this month with a message of global warming and what we could do about it, I wasn’t sure if I’d hear anything new. The presentation was much like An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary on global warming by Al Gore.

What impressed me most about the movie and Dauncey’s presentation was a set of graphs comparing CO2 levels in the atmosphere with global temperatures. The hockey stick shaped spike is clear from the past 30-plus years; we are having a profound and frightening impact on our world.

I used to be one of the people who believed that global warming was a construct of politicians not in power, and of scientists looking for a goldmine in research funding.

I bought into the arguments that it is not global warming, but just cyclical weather patterns or solar bursts. But that’s what the oil conglomerates want us to think – they are trying to throw in sufficient fear, uncertainty and doubt (known as the fud factor).

I was crushed when I found out that one of the scientists bankrolled to say there was no link between tobacco and cancer is now funded, in part by Exxon, to put uncertainty and doubt into our minds about global warming. I’m embarrassed to say that I bought it hook, line and sinker.

But now I know better.

The science is solid – we cannot continue on the path we are on without major repercussions, including increasing sea levels that will flood many major cities, and the potential to throw the planet into an ice age (seems counter-intuitive, but true).

So what can we do about it? Dauncey outlines 101 solutions to global climate change in his book.

I’ve already got two kids – so according to him, that is a no-no and I should have stopped at one. But since that ship has sailed down the low-water Great Lakes, I flip through to see what I can still do.

My house was recently built, so there is no need to upgrade insulation or stop air leaks.

I’ve replaced all my light bulbs with compact fluorescents (except those on a dimmer or motion-detector), but I should look into more efficient appliances.

Now that the province of Ontario has launched – posting Ontario’s climate change plan, a carbon footprint calculator and incentives for consumers to become more energy efficient – I may even save money while becoming more “green.”

But back to Dauncey’s book, I can go vegetarian or at least reduce my consumption of beef – but I am not yet prepared to eliminate steaks totally from the grill this summer.

I can buy local produce to end the days of the thousand-mile salad. Coming from Ottawa where the Byward market is packed full of local produce vendors with fresh veggies and fruit, I have high expectations for farmers’ markets. Last year I went too early in the season to the local one by the Bondar Pavilion and only found radishes, fresh bread, local honey and bison. I shouldn’t say “only.” What I bought was excellent, but I then had to go to the grocery store for my greens.

Hopefully, this summer will be even more plentiful with veggies, but in the meantime, in addition to the honey, you can buy some great local lip balm and other skin care products (mostly organic, too!).

What else? Beer. Drinking local micro-brewery beer will help save the environment. Excellent. Wait – we don’t have that anymore. Maybe we need to focus some political will on resurrecting Northern Breweries now that St Marys Paper has been purchased. I miss Red Maple, and it seems I am not alone. There is even a group of 13 individuals on Facebook that wants to bring back Northern Red Maple.

Mayor John Rowswell was at Dauncey’s presentation – as were a couple of local city councillors. What do you think Mayor John? It would be easier to revive Northern Breweries as our commitment to environmentalism then to entirely redesign the city to eliminate urban sprawl, thus allowing citizens to walk and bike everywhere.

We can talk about it over a barbeque at my house, say some wild (not farmed) local fish steaks? You bring the Red Maple if you have any hiding in your basement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *