Everyone is for the Environment Until Inconveniences Them.

I have a good friend who says this about the environment when ever I go Suzuki on her.

“Everyone is for protecting the environment until they have to pay for it or it inconveniences them.”

Getting rid of coal-fired plants was (and still is) a good idea. But no-one wants a wind farm near them or a rise in hydro rates. Even reducing use of electricity by turning off the lights or doing the laundry later seems too much.

Putting aside the issue of Light Rail Transit, people are now contacting me to say they do not want to pay for the slight increase in taxes to pay for regular transit. Even though as I went door-to-door , people were very much in favour of more transit in their neighbourhood. I have had a parent tell me she drives her teen-agers all over town, rather than have them take the bus because the reduced high school bus pass is too expensive.  I would think teens would be the first to travel on the bus. (Just adding, I am looking at other parts of the budget for cuts to cover the regular transit increase, but still I know you get my point)

People are also complaining about the 5 cents they are charged for a plastic bag for groceries. I admit, remembering those reusable bags can be difficult until you get into the habit. A kit I got at Curves contains three reusable bags that can be rolled up small and put in a purse or backpack. But with my new busy lifestyle as Chair of GRCA, I admit I need to get back on the wagon with this one and not end up paying for the occasional plastic bag because my reusuables are waiting on the kitchen table for a re-roll!

But new habits can be learned and I don’t think removing the 5 cents from plastic bags just because us old dogs are taking time to learn new tricks is a good excuse. There is a hashtag on Twitter called #firstworldproblems. It lists tweets of inconsequential annoyances like an empty ketchup bottle at a restaurant, that really, if we were poor people in the third world, we wouldn’t care.

Compared to the problems of asthma and premature death caused by coal-fired plants and greenhouse gases, a trip on a bus or forgetting a reusable grocery bag seem small.

One response to “Everyone is for the Environment Until Inconveniences Them.

  1. Jane,

    We moved into our small home in 1987. We replaced our grass with garden when people were still getting charged for not cutting their grass. We received many comments telling us what we were doing was not appropriate for the neighbourhood. We’ve always grown our vegetable garden without the use of pesticides and collected runoff from our roof into barrels. We’ve always composted our garden/home waste, purchased with the environment in mind and recycled religiously wherever possible. All of these things were purposefully done to maintain as small an environmental footprint as possible – despite the pressures four growing boys.

    I don’t have property tax records back to 1987. I do have them from 1995 to today. Give or take a few bucks my average annual property tax increased by about 5% each and every year. The CPI over that same period averaged an annual increase just under 2% and I can assure you that my salary did not increase at 5% a year.

    These cumulative losses don’t even include the ever increasing cost of government regulated electricity, water, sewage and the many service charges we didn’t pay for back in ’95. Nor does it include the ever increasing federal and provincial taxes.

    Please understand that it is far more than objecting to paying ‘for protecting the environment’ or being ‘inconvenienced’. It’s getting to the point where we can no longer pay for these costly ‘green’ projects – many of which are of questionable environmental value in any event. (Surely you don’t believe the numbers spouted off about coal plant deaths!)

    For what it’s worth I’d like to see is a reduction in the size and influence of government. I see government today as far too meddlesome, expensive and wasteful. From my conversations with many others I’m far from alone.

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