I took a peak at the Sarasota Herald Tribune this morning to find an article on an environmental impact study. Seems that Sarasota manages to score just slightly better than the average americans. Good news right? Well, there is still tons the city could do. Improving mass transit and increasing the number and safety of bike lanes would be a step to reducing traffic, encourage more “walk” areas in the downtown core, and increase the citizen awareness of recycling and reuse programs are just a few of the ideas that I have. But the city is getting better with the use of hybrid vehicles and the construction of “green” buildings … nice to hear.
Well, it got me thinking … back home the environment is a big deal. You hear about it in the news, at school, at work … the three R’s of Recycle – Reuse – Reduce … and BC Hydro’s PowerSmart program is a household term. So … how does Canada rate?
According to Redefining Progress, Canada had the third largest footprint in the world at 8.56 global hectares per capita according to their 2004 report. The numbers are based on food and resource usage, waste and pollution and calculated based on a formula developed at UBC. This is a lot worse than I was initially expecting – but my views have been tainted a little living in Victoria and Vancouver. I know the rural communities still don’t utilize mass-transit (there are no masses) – and don’t encourage the use of bikes as much as they could. And with the country rich in resources we have not yet felt the pinch seen by the Europeans or Asians. But this should be a signal to our governments that more action is needed … we, as mankind, have been using more than the sustainable amount of resources this world has to offer since 1970. That kinda of usage can not last forever, which is why things like the Kyoto Treaty are so important. While the balance of the economy and the environment needs to be taken into account, industry should not drive environmental change – it is not generally in their best interest.
And where do I stand? Well, I took the Earth Day Footprint Quiz to find out … I carpool when possible, prefer to walk a block than drive, recycle everything I can, and watch our energy usage at home … but there is always more that I could do. How do you rate?