Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Taking Action

As you may or may not recall, I made a post on 2006.06.09 called Inconvenient Indeed, where I commented on Al Gore's environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. I also put together a laundry list of environmental issues near and dear to my heart. As it so happens, I got a bulletin that week in the mail from my MP, Bill Graham, talking about how Stephen Harper's lovey tax cuts are affecting funding for items such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. To make a long story short, the bulletin had an e-mail address for the MP, and I decided to write to him. This is the letter that I wrote:

Dear Mr. Graham,

A couple of weeks ago I received your bulletin entitled "The Conservative Budget: Ignoring the Environment". I must say that I was very pleased to see that a Member of Parliament such as yourself seems to be genuinely concerned about the Environment. I fully support the message of your bulletin that the Conservative government needs to take action to combat climate change. After having seen Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", I believe that we must act now, before it is too late. I am writing to you because I would like to know what I can do to help you spread your message of concern to the rest of Canada and to the world.

It seems to me that there are so many small things that people could do that would have a very large overall impact in helping the environment. As a voter and as a concerned citizen, here are a few things that I would like to see happen in Toronto and even around the country:

1. Now that it is summer, many businesses have their air conditioners at full blast, while they leave their doors wide open. I find this to be a complete waste of energy. Unfortunately, businesses complain that leaving their doors open makes it more inviting to customers. I think that there should be some sort of legislation in place so that if a business leaves its doors open in the summer, then the air conditioning should be turned off.
2. Many office buildings claim to have recycling programs; however, I've stayed after hours enough times to notice that in many cases, the contents of recycling bins are simply dumped with the rest of the garbage. I know that many property management companies have policies whereby if garbage is mixed in with recyclables, then all of the contents of the recycling bin are thrown out with the garbage. It's such a waste, and it only takes a few extra minutes to separate the garbage from the recycling.
3. I once saw on the Discovery channel that if all of the buildings in Toronto had roof-top gardens, it would significantly improve the air quality in the city. Imagine what a difference it would make on those normally humid and often smoggy summer days!
4. Many office buildings and small businesses leave lights on at nighttime. While I realize that not 100% of the lights are on, it's still a significant enough portion. I find it appalling that the lights would be on in these buildings when nobody is using them.
5. The number of electric billboards in the GTA has increased significantly in the last few years. What I find most appalling is the fact that after the blackout of 2003, we "claim" that our eyes have been opened concerning our power consumption. But have we really learned the lesson? During the blackout, while my building was still without power, a number of the electric billboards on the Gardiner were up and running. Although I realize that the portion of the power grid where the billboards were located just happened to have gotten restored first, do you think it would've taken that much effort to shut those billboards off to reduce the strain on the grid? And we haven't learned our lesson. The blackout of 2003 is now a distant memory, and we really won't care about power conservation again until the next blackout hits.

I do realize that I can't expect you to move mountains, but I do expect that if you are truly as concerned about the environment as your bulletin claims, that we could perhaps help each other in spreading your message to the rest of Canada and to the world.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Well, today, I got an e-mail back from one of Mr. Graham's representatives:

Dear Ms. IndyComp0T1,

On behalf of the Honourable Bill Graham, thank you for your email of July 12, 2006 regarding environmental issues. Please be assured that your concerns have been brought forth to Mr. Graham's attention for his review and response. Many thanks once again for writing to share your views.

Kindest Regards,

So I guess now it's a waiting game. My points have been made, and they are supposedly being reviewed. If not, I guess I'll have to look into running for office. ;-)

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