Thanks for the email Kevin

I received an email the other day from a gentleman (whose first name was Kevin) in response to a media interview I had just done.  Let me start by thanking Kevin for his email.  However, I must disagree with much of what he said.

Kevin writes:

“John,

Heard your comments on the news today and as a freelance member of the media and one time environmentalist I have to say wake! You need to get out of Ottawa and see what is going on. First off, your comments on Harper. What about the Liberals who signed Kyoto to great fan fare and did nothing. Even Chretien admitted they weren't going to do anything. What no criticism? What about Dalton McGuinty promising to close Naticoke? It has been rebuilt and is putting out the same power on half the coal. Its not closed. John, come out of Ottawa to Owen Sound and see the protests against a wind farm. How about Oakville protesting a Natural Gas fired plant which is needed because of growth in the 905. How about the people in Niagara that had a  recycling plant for grass and other vegetation shut down because of the odours. Actually there were two plants in two different areas in Niagara. Green recycling okay as long as it is done elsewhere. What  about the people complaining about  greenhouses and their organic digesters which produce heat and light for greenhouses.

John, in other words, people are marginally behind the idea as long as it doesn't hurt them. Look at the NDP led protest in Toronto against the original airport train. Park the cars take the train. Okay until it runs through your neighbourhood.

What bout buying local in food. I live in Niagara and I am involved with the local food groups. People will buy imported that used lots of fossil fuel then spend an extra buck on local.

The problem is not the government but the people of this country. The USA is no better. Individual Americans have a worse attitude. Come to Niagara I will introduce you some across the border.

If your going to keep talking about the issue check out the realities of the country outside of Ottawa.”

 

Kevin points to seemingly contrary events and suggests it's not government, but the people that are the problem when it comes to taking action on climate change.  In a sense this is true.  

We do elect the politicians who govern us, but in the last election 68% of people voted for parties advocating climate action and 38% voted for the one party opposed.  Yet, through the mysteries of our parliamentary democracy the 38% are in charge.  

Nevertheless, this isn't the real issue here.  Kevin argues that, since projects dubbed "environmental" are opposed by local residents, the public doesn't really support environmental action. 

On the contrary, what is happening is a healthy democratic process.  Is a person anti-environmental if they demand that the health and safety of themselves and their children be considered?  No, it is the basis of all environmentalism. Reading through Kevin's list of "anti-environmentalism" I was not surprised or dismayed.  In fact, several of them I would support.

Projects are not good just because government, developers, or even environmentalists say so.  Every industrial project must undergo a thorough environmental assessment.  Would we have built the Darlington Nuclear Power Plant that went $10 billion over budget if we had taken the time to conduct an environmental assessment?  

I can't tell you how many times I have been in fights demanding government not take short cuts.  Too often things are done in haste.  No one should have to live next to a smelly composting plant for example.  If it smells bad something is wrong with its design or operation.

Bravo to people who force government to seriously consider all aspects of any project.  So sure Kevin, you pick up the expenses and I'll tour Southern Ontario with you.  

Let's make sure we make the right choices and not repeat the mistakes of the past.  Things like promising the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions then doing almost nothing to meet our international legal obligations are unacceptable.

READ THE BLOG of Sierra Club Canada Foundation's Program Director John Bennett and follow him on TWITTER

       

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