Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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George Monbiot, Global Warming, and Canada’s obligation to the world…

“You (Canadians) think of yourselves as a liberal and enlightened people, and my experience seems to confirm that. But you could scarcely do more to destroy the biosphere if you tried.” – George Monbiot

I caught the As it Happens interview with George Monbiot the other day via the CBC‘s excellent Words at Large podcast. Listening to it on the bus, the predictions of what could be just around the corner due to global warming gave me, um, chills. (You can download the Monbiot interview here. You can also hear him interviewed on Alberta’s Wild Rose Country here.)

It’s clearly time for major action from all of us. I’m looking forward, sort of, to reading Monbiot’s book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning.

Here’s what Monbiot had to say about the “Clean Air Act” my students and I heard so much about a few weeks ago on the floor of the House of Commons during Question Period:

“Oh!” he says, his disgust clear in that single syllable. “It seems, to a complete outsider, to be a misreading of the national mood. That bill was treating people like idiots, both lumping together local pollution with carbon dioxide pollution, and talking about the intensity of carbon emissions. It’s almost like putting up a sign saying ‘I think the people of this nation are suckers.”‘

The Harper government, he says, is becoming an international embarrassment because of its environmental policies.

“That Canadians are living in a fool’s paradise, that they picture themselves as being environmentalist but their carbon emissions show they are as damaging to the planet as the U.S. and Australia,” he said.

They have to act quickly or “have on their conscience a major contribution to what could turn out to be deaths of hundreds of millions of people.”

Just to play devil’s advocate, perhaps Monbiot’s book would have an even greater reach, and far less of an environmental impact, if he’d released it solely in e-book form. Regardless, after hearing the interview I think I’m going to stick to taking the bus or the bike to work.

Top 10 Things You Can Do For The Environment

from George Monbiot, author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning

1. Cut your flights. Nothing else you do causes so much climate change in so short a time.

2. Think hard before you pick up your car keys. On average, 40% of the journeys made by car could be made by other means – on foot, by bicycle or on public transport.

3. Organise a “walking bus” to take the children to school.

4. Ask your boss to devise a “workplace travel plan” which rewards people for leaving their cars at home.

5. Switch over to a supplier of renewable electricity. You don’t have to erect your own wind turbine, but you can buy your power from someone who has.

6. Ask a builder to give you an estimate for bringing your home up to R2000 standards.

7. Ditch your air conditioner.

8. Turn down your thermostat: 18 degrees is as warm as your house ever needs to be. You just have to get used to it.

9. Make sure every bulb in your house is a compact fluorescent or LED.

10. Do NOT buy a plasma TV: they use 5 times as much energy as other models.


1 Global Warming Articles { 09.13.07 at 11:42 am }

Wow thats interesting…instead of spending time, efforts and money on Iraq, we should spend it correcting the situation or at least trying to slow it down a bit.
Thanks, fuser

2 Kenny { 10.19.07 at 7:46 am }

Another big one is leaving electrical equpment on standby. TV’s, DVD’s, Hi Fi systems – this again uses up a huge amount of electricity in your home

3 tv { 01.03.08 at 10:37 pm }

Wow thats interesting…instead of spending time, efforts and money on Iraq, we should spend it correcting the situation or at least trying to slow it down a bit.

4 Allan Barker { 03.28.08 at 12:21 am }

That is a really great post. If you want to find all the links to every information source on Climate Change and Global Warming go here.
Its a great aid to study or research on those topics:
Allan Barker

5 Geo { 03.09.09 at 2:10 pm }

Nothing regarding CO2 emmisions of our cars… The motorway tax should be diffrent : If in the car is 1 people – 50 usd, if in the car is 4 peoples – 10 usd. Is not correct to use 1 car for every 1 people.
PS : In that top I think 8) should be 1) – my opinion.