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Let’s speak up for the country we want

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Written by Dr David Suzuki

We’ve just had our federal election and, if nothing else, the environment did become an issue. Unfortunately, global warming and order viagra prescription other environmental issues were overshadowed by an economic crisis and, no doubt, by the fear people have of the word tax, so much so that they didn’t notice the word cuts was also in there.

Now it’s up to all of us to make sure the environment doesn’t get lost in all the noise about the economy. The new government has some important choices to make in the near future.

alt Although a few nations are putting plans to combat global warming on the back burner while they weather the visit our site buying viagra with no prescription economiccrisis, many more are holding fast, realizing that protecting the environment makes good economic sense. The European Union has stated that it is committed to meeting emissions targets even as some Eastern European countries are getting cold feet.

And the U.K. has created a Department of Energy and Climate Change to confront both energy security and climate change, with an emphasis on creating green jobs and a green economy.

Even the State of Florida, a Republican stronghold formerly governed by U.S. President George Bush’s brother Jeb, has released an ambitious climate plan. The Florida plan estimates net economic savings of $28 billion between now and 2025, along with a 51 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels, and a 33 per cent reduction below 1990 levels. Projected drops in fuel consumption are also expected to lead to significant reductions in the state’s dependence on foreign and “dirty” fossil fuels.

altHere in Canada, several provinces, including B.C. and Ontario, have taken the lead in establishingplans to combat global warming and to shift to a sustainable economy. But more needs to be done, especially at the federal level.

Continuing to rely on projects such as the Alberta tar sands to keep our economy afloat is a short-term strategy with long-term negative consequences for both the environment and the economy. Sure, we’ll be able to pull in some money while the oil lasts, or while it is economically feasible to extract, or until the rest of the world has switched to renewable sources of energy, but then what?

alt Should we really continue down this path while the rest of the world takes a more forward-looking approach to energy, the environment, and the economy? Where will that leave us in 10, 15, or 20 years? Maybe the current batch of politicians doesn’t care; most of them won’t be in government then. But we should care. After all, it’s not just our world; it’s the world we are leaving to our children and original online viagra it's cool grandchildren.

We may be able to withstand the current economic crisis, but we’ll surely face more in the future. And the environmental crises we now face, from rapid extinction of mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, reptiles, and plants to global warming, may not be as immediately apparent to most people, but the consequences will be far more severe than diminished retirement savings plans.

If we start now to shift from reliance on dirty and nonrenewable sources of energy to renewable sources, and if we put more effort into conserving energy, we will benefit in so many ways.

Other countries have proven this, and continue to prove it. Scientists and economists have confirmed not only that we must do something, but also that acting now will cost us far less in the long run than doing nothing.

Canadians may have elected a government that differs little from the one we had before the election – and they may have even shown, through the votes they did cast and through the disappointing apathy that many demonstrated, that it was difficult to connect with the parties that made the environment the top priority. But we shouldn’t conclude that the results of the election mean that the window of opportunity for government action on the environment has slammed shut.

altWe must keep in mind that more than two-thirds of voters cast ballots for political parties with strong plans to fight global warming and other environmental problems. Millions of Canadians have sent a message to this parliament that they want action on global warming.

A minority government such as the one we just elected has an even greater responsibility to listen to all our voices. We just have to speak loudly enough to be heard.

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