Was it just a cheap way out of buying a gift to recognize the occasion, or did City council really have our best interests in mind when, a few weeks ago, it voted to pick up the tab so the residents of this fair city could enjoy free public transit on Canada Day?
I prefer to think the latter. Not only that, but I think this is a bold, creative and progressive way of recognizing Canada Day 2012.
Bold because our governments, at all levels, seem afraid to even mention, let alone engage in serious discussion about global warming and its consequences.
With every successive month we get closer to the “tipping point,” where 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 ppm. It will correspond with an average increase in global temperature of two degrees Celsius.
Every year in our lifetime has seen an increase of about two ppm. We have gone from 350 ppm to the better part of 400 ppm in just 26 years (the reading as of May 2012 was 396.78). At the current rate of increase, we will hit 450 ppm 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 our private transportation is the expanded use of public transit.
If, as in New York and many European cities, three out of four drivers left their vehicles at home and either car-pooled or took public transit, we would reduce our private transportation output of CO2 by 75 per cent.
That is big! It is one of the most effective things we can do to preserve the 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 say thank you to a progressive City council and enjoy their gift by taking a bus to somewhere we have never been before.