Let’s use free transit on Canada Day
I share the sense of despondency so evident in Gwynne Dyer’s June 14 column in KTW (‘Once again, we are all (yawn ) doomed!’):
I don’t know how we are going to work our way out of the climatic mess.
National and provincial governments are either afraid or incapable of dealing with it — but, try we must.
In North America, it may be that our best bet is to work through and with our municipal governments.
With that in mind, I was encouraged to note Kamloops council’s recent decision to make public transit available to all, free of charge, on Canada Day, Sunday, July 1.
Surely this is a timely and imaginative way to celebrate our national holiday as public transit brings people together.
On July 1, it will cost nothing and it will get us thinking of how we can reduce our collective transportation-carbon footprint.
With every successive month, we get closer to the tipping point at which carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are such that the best scientists today cannot predict what will happen to our ecosystem and the interdependent web of life, other than to say they will be damaged to a disastrous extent.
That tipping point is estimated at 450 parts per million. Every year in our lifetime has seen an increase of about two parts per million.
We have gone from 350 parts per million to the better part of 400 parts per million in just 26 years (the reading as of May was 396.78 parts per million).
At the current rate of increase, we will hit 450 parts per million in just another 25 to 30 years.
Not only are we just years away from damaging our earthly home beyond repair, we, and our politicians, seem content to do nothing about it.
The transportation sector (at 25 per cent) is the largest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions in Canada and half of that comes from privately owned cars and trucks.
No doubt one of the most effective ways of reducing the carbon footprint associated with private transportation is the expanded use of public transit. If, as in New York and many European cities, three of four drivers left their vehicles at home and either carpooled or took public transit, we would reduce our private-transportation output of CO2 by 75 per cent.
That is big and one of the most effective things we can do preserve a friendly, livable and fully living planet for our children and theirs.
Before this can happen in Kamloops however, we need to show that we are not afraid to change our habits, that we support public transit and that we want further improvements and inducements to use it.
On Canada Day, let’s enjoy council’s gift by taking a bus to somewhere we have never been before.
Kamloops 350 Committee