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Canada Day, 2022 – a “Sustainable” perspective

As Canada Day, 2022 approaches, we at Sustainable Orillia can see both positive and negative in the directions our country is taking in response to the many threats of the Climate Crisis.

The recent Federal announcement of a ban on some single-use plastics is a cause for celebration as it is a first step in the battle to reduce both plastic production and plastic waste. In spite of the growing knowledge of the hazards of plastic waste, plastic production has increased over the last decade, meaning the world—and Canada—must work even harder to reduce this threat. While Canada’s first attempt falls short of what many think needs to be done (for example, not including single-use water bottles in the ban), it is a start.

Then there’s the March announcement of the Government of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy that expresses the intention to slash this country’s emissions by 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan will provide incentives for zero-emission vehicles among other energy-saving measures. A person looking to get financial help for home or business renovations to reduce energy use can already find available subsidies from both Canada and, to a lesser degree, Ontario. Go online to check out the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

This good news was matched here in Orillia by the City’s announcement of a Climate Change Action Plan—Orillia’s Climate Future– that outlines steps we must take to reduce emissions here in our own community. One doesn’t have to look far, either, to see Canadian companies and non-governmental organizations (like Sustainable Orillia) announcing new technologies and real strides in moving our economy toward a more sustainable model for the future.

But on this Canada Day of 2022, it is clear that more needs to be done—and it needs to be done faster! Canada has felt the consequences of climate change in very recent years and months, and it ends up costing us all, both financially and emotionally, as windstorms, fire and flood batter parts of our country.

These events are telling us to act now. Experts tell us that some of these climate “events” will get even worse if we continue to do the minimum to mitigate and adapt to climate changes. And it is not enough to simply “announce plans.” They must be effective, they must be aggressively set into motion, and they must be rigorously monitored to ensure they succeed.

So far, Canada has failed to meet any of the targets it has previously set. Is that something to be proud of on Canada Day?

July 1st–Canada Day—is a day to celebrate our country—and there is much to celebrate. But it is also a day for all of us to think about our duties and responsibilities as citizens of this country—and of the world.
Our duties do not end after casting our ballot on election day. Nor do they consist only of attending Canada Day parades. Our duty as citizens—our responsibility—is to do our part to ensure this country continues to be a wonderful place in which to live—for ALL of its peoples.

Can each of us do more? Can we speak up and demand that our elected representatives take more aggressive action on climate issues? Sadly, it looks like we must, as our elected governments in Ottawa and across Canada’s provinces are not yet taking the Climate Crisis seriously enough. Much more will need to be done—and in the next few years—if we are going to succeed in this existential battle. We all must do our part to ensure that it gets done.

Good news and bad news. That’s Canada Day, 2022. Enjoy the day, everyone.

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