Re: Tom Fletcher’s column of Sept. 25 (‘Fact-free climate strike spreads’):
Like Fletcher, I am not a climate change denier (though he has been so accused).
I think common sense tells us the burning of fossil fuels is a substantive cause of global warming. I think we also agree that sensible, prudent steps can and should be taken to protect our environment, including research and promotion of alternative fuels, protection of species at risk, protection of remaining wild areas and restoration of habitat.
Fletcher’s issue is the capturing of popular thought on the environmental issue by the publishing of irresponsible information and imagery.
We are being manipulated by enviro-corporates who have turned what should be one of our most important public initiatives into a shameful exercise of enviro-organizations that misdirect and misinform in the true tradition of the corporate entities they so smugly attack.
The time has come for common sense in dealing with all the legitimate environmental issues we face:
1. Let’s finally recognize our greatest environmental challenge — population growth. Regardless of what fuel you use, 7.5-billion people will and are destroying the environment. Let’s start spending our foreign aid on promoting birth control and education in the developing world.
2. If carbon taxes are here to stay, let’s stop being hypocrites by no longer putting the funds into general revenue. It is arguable as to whether the tax limits consumption, but it is unarguable that the tax proceeds can and should be used for environmental purposes. Carbon tax revenue should go toward funding our fisheries and wildlife officers to enforce the law (federal fisheries officers can barely afford to put gas in their boats), rebuilding salmon and other wildlife habitat, purchasing commercial fishing licences and placing a five-year, full-cycle moratorium on salmon fishing, funding the retooling of coastal community economies from fishing to eco-tourism and purchasing and closing open-net fish farming and replacing it with landlocked fish farming.
3. Continue to expand the true remaining wild areas as permanent parks and enforce the activities and boundaries in these areas.
4. Recognize that our civilization is 30 to 50 years away from stopping the use of fossil fuels and that the developing world will continue to consume oil and gas until a cheaper, plentiful, viable alternative is presented. In the meantime, our oil and gas is as good as anyone else’s and, if the developing world does not use ours, it will use someone else’s.
The taxes and royalties generated from our gas and oil sales pay for our country’s infrastructure, hospitals and other critical institutions, which are in woeful neglect.
Carbon tax proceeds and a portion of royalty revenue should be divided up amongst Canadians to fund technology initiatives to end our reliance on fossil fuels and to target immediate needs, including addiction treatment and water supply on First Nations land.
These are only a few ideas meant to start a meaningful dialogue and end the pop culture imagery that has dominated what needs to be a very serious discussion.
Findlay (Frank) Quinn