Environmental policies in Canada-I’ve got concerns and questions?

“The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.”

-E.O. Wilson-

These are my concerns and my questions after reading David’s Suzuki’s Green Guide.  They will be a part of my letter to Prime Minister once I get my thoughts here down to a less gargantuan size.

Create a bold vision for a sustainable future.

–   Sweden has set an admirable example of laws and policies to move towards a sustainable future.

–    Sweden has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and has dramatically reduced emissions of sulphur dioxide, the use of highly toxic pesticides and the amount of garbage going to landfills.

–     Targets were set and yearly review by an expert committee is done to keep it on track.

–      Does the government of Canada have a detailed plan of action, with laws and policies to support it, to lead us to a sustainable future?  If so, what is it?  If not, why not?

Replace Fossil Fuels with renewable Energy.

–     Germany and Japan are world leaders in renewable energy because of innovative policies.

–     Germany is among the top nations in the world in both wind and solar energy generation.

–     Germany’s Feed-in tariff innovation has spread to more than forty other countries worldwide.

–     Solar roof initiatives, using consumer subsides to make solar electricity competitive with conventional sources have worked in both Germany and Japan.

–     Does the government of Canada have any solar initiatives or any Feed-in tariff innovation in the works?  If so, what is it?  If not, why not?

 Move toward a waste free economy as in as has been done in European countries.

–      Laws of Extended manufacturer responsibility which makes manufacturers take back their product when the consumer is done with it for the express purpose of recycling all of its components.  This will make it in the best interest of the manufacturer to produce recyclable products.

–      Laws for absolute elimination of hazardous substances, including mercury, lead, cadmium and toxic flame retardants.

–     Halt all production, mining etc of hazardous substances that are exported to other countries that still use them even though they are banned for use in Canada such as asbestos and coal.  Why is Canada still mining and producing Asbestos and Coal for export?

–     Does the government of Canada have laws and policies in place to move us as a nation toward a waste free economy? If so, please clarify?  If not, why not?

 Mandate safe substitutes for health harming chemicals.

–      Make it a law as done in Europe…not just a suggestion or vague campaign promise.

–       Is there a mandate as such in place to protect the citizens of Canada?   If so, please clarify?  If not, why not?

 Set high environmental standards through laws and policies and raise the bar regularly.

–      Zero energy bldg codes

–      Zero emission standard for all product

–      New construction to produce zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2016 through stronger energy efficiency policies

–       Most polluting and least efficient products should be banned such as incandescent light bulbs, plastic bags, and low efficiency furnaces

–        Has the government of Canada addressed these types of high environmental standards as mentioned?  If so, please clarify?  If not, why not?

 Make the market work.

–      Shift taxes to discourage harmful actions and promote sustainable alternatives

–      Cut tax on employment, investment and tax pollution and waste as done in Europe

–       People need to know that carbon taxes are designed to discourage harmful action and encourage sustainable alternatives not just a money grab…they need to see those specific tax dollars used to grow environmental change.

–        Halt industrial subsidies which are incentive to grow harmful production of harmful products and redirect the funds programs that promote sustainability.

–        When will the Government of Canada stop supporting harmful industrial practices and instead tax and fine offending manufacturers that harm the environment?

Plan vibrant Green Communities that encourage people to work in their own community which lowers emissions of car travel.

–     Give buses priority

–      Lower or eliminate fares

–      Tax drivers of cars thru tolls etc.

–      Eliminate free parking redirect parking fees to offset cost of public transit

–      I realize this may be provincial territory however, what is the Government of Canada   prepared to do to encourage these changes?

Promote Healthy Diet.

–          Eliminate and discourage super size corporate ads of unhealthy foods

–          Ban junk food from all schools

–          Prohibit ads directed at children

–          Tax junk food producers

–          Reallocate subsidies from bad production practices to organic and local producers

–          Regulate accurate and meaningful food labels…levy fines against deception and noncompliance.

–          Ban, as is done in Europe,  the use of antibiotics to promote faster animal growth and feeding arsenic to chickens

–          Educate all grades on health nutrition sustainable diet

–          Ban food ads for unhealthy foods—especially those directed to children

–          Does the government of Canada have laws and policies in place to address these serious health concerns? If so, please clarify?  If not, why not?

 Make ecology literacy a cornerstone of education

–          Educate all ages, all grades and even post secondary

–          Increase budget for environmental education for all

–          Is the government of Canada going to provide the children and young people of Canada with the proper knowledge of environmental concern? If so, please clarify?  If not, why not?

 

 Measure society’s progress according to things that really matter

–          Gross Domestic Product lacking as measurement as it does not take into account trust, respect, community, clean air, clean water, beauty and compassion.

–           GDP equates crime, cancer, environmental destruction and war as positive due to expenditure…this is bizarrely wrong.

–          Institute a more meaningful assessment of social and economic and environmental state of affairs

–          Incorporate ecological footprint into the national accounting systems to monitor progress toward a sustainable future.

–          Policies and laws are required to point society in a different more sustainable direction.

–          Laws and policies are needed to encourage or compel everybody to adopt sustainable actions. These have already been successful in some parts of the world and need to be emulated everywhere.

–          Does the government of Canada understand and is it prepared to move away from an economic paradigm that has proven dysfunctional in measuring the true wealth of Canada? If so, please clarify?  If not, why not?        

 

 

 

 

 

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