October 6, 2022


A recent poll shows that Canadians are seriously concerned about climate change. 65% believe that we have reached the tipping point and need to act quickly.

Some even believe that the time to take substantive action has already passed.

Despite the fact that a great number of Canadians are very concerned about climate change, the topic did not receive the attention it needed in the last federal election. Plans were discussed, but no details were given. And each party suggested a different plan. We need consensus.  

What needs to be discussed now is whether it's too late or not.

This perhaps will be discussed globally in late October when various countries gather in Scotland to talk about climate change for the first time since the 2015 Paris Agreement (with a 1-year delay due to the pandemic). Many believe that
industrial countries, including Canada, are not doing enough to fight this crisis.

This might be true as some goals are not being met; however, it must be emphasized that even though there is not much time left, it is never too late.

Recent NASA research shows that carbon-reducing actions can have a significant impact on extreme weather conditions.

For example, the western United States is prone to droughts, and climate change adds fuel to this problem by intensifying isolated peaks during drought periods. NASA's research shows that by reducing emissions, the chance of having those peak droughts will be reduced from more than 35% (high emission scenarios) to less than 20% (low emission scenarios).

And while NASA researchers believe that it is not too late to act and curb the impacts of climate change, a 'new normal' is expected.

It's reasonable to assume that reducing emissions can also help control the adverse effects of climate change here in Canada on flooding events, wildfires, heat waves, and more. 

That should be our role, and with the previous government being re-elected, we can hope that the incomplete climate change mission will now move forward.

So, what can we do as individuals and families?

While the Town of Gravenhurst is working to implement a climate change adaptation plan, residents can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Suggestions demand a diverse range of effort and investment, and everyone is encouraged to use the ones most practical and beneficial for them.

  • Use cruise control - Depending on the road and speed, using cruise control can reduce your fuel
    consumption by around 20% (according to Natural Resources Canada).
  • Home insulation - If you haven't done so already, you should consider sealing and air tightening your residence. You may even be eligible for government grants and/or loans to help with the expense. This reduces energy costs by roughly 11% according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Turn down the water heater - Setting your water heater to 49'C (120'F) reduces greenhouse gas emission by up to ~250kg (550 pounds) per year.
  • Switch to LED lights - If not done yet, consider using energy-efficient LED rather than traditional bulbs. That can save $100-150/year on your hydro bill.
  • Use drip irrigation - Inefficient irrigation causes up to 50% of water waste. Moreover, drip irrigation saves fertilizer as well (according to the American Society of Landscape Architects).
  • Drive slowly - Aside from safety, going from 80kmh (50mph) to 112 kmh (70mph) increases fuel consumption by up to 25%.
  • Invest in solar batteries - Using solar power is not a luxury option anymore. It's an affordable investment. If you have a remote cottage, this green choice is suitable for you. For less than $1500, you can have sufficient and renewable power (a variety of choices are available from private vendors).
  • Visit the library - We have a wonderful library in Gravenhurst. You can borrow a book or DVD, check your email, read the newspaper, print a document, and much more. Doing so cuts down on paper and e-waste. 

Stay tuned for more tips. When we all do what we can, it collectively adds up to major change.

REFERENCES:                                                                                                                            https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3115/nasa-drought-research-shows-value-of-both-climate-mitigation-and-adaptation

About the Author

Peter Johnston

Peter Johnston is a born and raised Muskokan with 30+ years of experience in municipal government. He has worked in both the public and private sectors in Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Bonfield, and Beijing, China. Gravenhurst is home.

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