Letter to the Editor

Climate action ‘lagging’

The current drought in our area is quickly waking us up to the need for community action on water conservation.

As a resident of the new South Okanagan West Kootenay (SOWK) federal riding, a question that I have for our candidates relates to climate action. My family and I are very interested in knowing of any specific, “new and improved” plans on Canadian climate action that the various parties are putting forward.

The current drought in our area is quickly waking us up to the need for both individual and collective community action on water conservation. In similar fashion, climate change needs to wake up all of our political parties to the urgent need for wise government regulations and individual responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on every front.

Over the next ten weeks, we’ll be listening carefully to the candidates’ views on practical climate action. From achieving far-reaching greenhouse gas reduction targets cooperatively with international partners to improving Canadian building codes for true energy conservation. There is work to be done by our federal government.

Just as we in the SOWK riding can be ‘weaned’ off the concept of unlimited water use in our day-to-day, we can also be ‘weaned’ off our dependence on fossil-fuels for our energy needs.

Just as the switch to trickle irrigation systems for agriculture and water-metering on homes affected some local business models and personal practices, the switch to non-carbon energy sources (passive solar, active solar, geothermal, wind power, even “safe” nuclear power, etc.) will mean real changes in what we do, and how we do it.

We’ve been wasteful of water, and are now learning to conserve it. We’ve been lagging in significant climate action these past nine years, often pointing at other countries instead, and now it’s past time to “put our own house in order.” Doing our part to reduce global climate change is too urgent in 2015 to be ignored by our politicians. Empty electioneering slogans and voter bribes won’t fix anything, either.

Speaking of “houses,” here’s my question for our candidates:

“Will you, if elected, bring in robust incentives for energy conservation in our houses (beyond small, individual tax credits for old homes to be renovated) that will set new energy-conserving standards and make Canadian buildings highly energy-efficient on all levels of design and new construction? If so, what is your party’s plan?”

I would welcome much conversation on this and other climate action being proposed.

The Oct. 19 election is an opportunity for the basic Canadian idea of the “common good” to come to the fore once again.

In this early 21st century we need to recognize the importance of putting our globally shared fragile environment at the forefront of our democratic, Canada-wide, decision-making — starting right here at home, in the SOWK riding.

Brita Park

Oliver, B.C.

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