Thursday, March 18, 2010

Environmentalism: Descent into irrelevance

I was scanning the "Mail Bag" in the most recent issue of MACLEAN'S (March 29th, 2010) and read a letter about plastic grocery bags. It seems that in Atlantic Canada, Loblaw's has dropped a five-cent fee for grocery bags because customers were switching to Sobeys rather than pay the fee. The letter writer went on to say "apparently, cheaper is more important than greener." Of course in some places (Toronto) the municipal government (one of the dumbest, most incompetent in the country) has made it a law that retailers will charge five-cents per bag in an attempt to curb their use.

Fortunately I don't live in Toronto, where the municipal council believes it knows how people should live their lives. My municipal council has other stupid laws - but not that one....yet. But I digress.
In today's Globe and Mail one of the regular columnists (Lawrence Martin) had an interesting comment about Elizabeth May and the Greens. The gist of the column is that May (leader) and her Party are slowly losing ground. Of course she has no elected MP's in the parliament (so not much to lose there) and the Greens seem to be a one issue team. That issue - with many names: environmentalism, climate change, green shifting. All of that seems to be fading away from the media spotlight and the public consciousness as Martin suggests, especially since the Copenhagen non-event. Whatever the reason, it is a good thing. Environmental responsibility need not be forced down each of our throats by zealots like the Gore's and Suzuki's and by governments that seek to pander to them.
Maybe now problems with the environment will be put into perspective, along with all the other important issues of the day. Who knows maybe people will start to see that the biggest issues can be dealt with right at home, right in your own country, your own province or state, your own town.  


  1. I blame the lack of 'greens' in Parliament due to an inequity in our democracy. It's the same problem with Libertarians. Instead of regional representation (an outdated, obsolete form of government) seats could be chosen on simple mathematics - if you get 10% of the popular vote, you get 10% of the seats.

  2. What's your take on the plastic bag fee? Other than the fact that it is ridiculous the government has imposed it in Toronto, do you think reducing plastic bags actually makes a big environmental impact? Or is it just another way for us consumers to lose money?

  3. Why grocery stores must charge for bags in order to get Canadians to bring reusable bags. In Melbourne, reusable bags are in rampant use without the 5-cent law. Is it impossible to curb North American thinking to prioritize going green over having it all?

  4. First about the proportional representation. I have sympathy for that idea, but I'm not sure if that is the solution. This type of government exists in many countries, most of them seem to have more unstable governments than we do. Among libertarians, some are for, some against even though we could gain a seat somewhere someday. But you're right, proportional rep would have given the Greens a seat by now.
    As for garbage bags, clearly when Canadians are given a choice (as in Nova Scotia) they prefer "free" plastic bags. Years ago stores (esp. in the States) gave people the choice "paper or plastic". I like the choice, attitudes here will change, like they did for smoking. I think the "throw away" attitude is still very prevalent here and worse in the States. Many stores here already charge for bags without being coerced by government, but in return they offer lower prices. I go to those stores - Costco/No Frills/Price Chopper etc. That's how it should happen, I hope that's how it will happen. The good thing that has come out of the environmental hysteria is that people are more aware of their relationship with nature, thats not a bad thing.


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