World Environment Week

The environment seems to be a very controversial issue at the moment. This reminds me of a presentation that my team and I recently received in our offices from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, my colleague Ms. Dianne Saxe. I think it is safe to say that since that meeting, we have grasped the negative effects that climate change is having on Canada and the world.

Before delving into the subject, I’d like to take a moment to introduce my colleague. Commissioner Saxe has been working on environmental issues for many years with passion, determination and tireless dedication. She has more than 40 years’ experience in environmental law and has been (and still is) one of the most highly regarded environmental lawyers in Canada. She is a seasoned professional who is passionate about the environment. As a result, she has had the opportunity to travel to every part of Canada and many other countries. She has contributed to many discussions and has also had the privilege of witnessing the signing of important government agreements and commitments.

In her presentation, Commissioner Saxe outlined her latest report on climate change. On the basis of her arguments and anecdotes, I can tell you that we don’t have to be experts on the subject to understand the gravity of the situation. What is alarming is that we have reached record levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere, and temperatures are higher than normal. This is causing a rise in sea levels (with hurricanes and tornados that are more frequent and more powerful), more extreme weather events, and a huge change in natural cycles.

The effects of climate change, however, are not felt until the next generation (we are currently experiencing the effects of the emissions released by our parents and grandparents).

The question we must ask ourselves: It is too late to have some new ecological resolutions? It’s never too late, and it’s more important now than ever to help protect the planet for future generations. No action is too small, nor too big. Encourage your family and friends by reducing your carbon footprint.

Here are some simple and effective ways to help lower your carbon footprint:

  • Transportation: Bike, use public transportation when it’s available, make carpool arrangements, or drive a fuel efficient and low polluting car (hybrid or electric car).
  • Energy: Make sure you air seal along your walls, windows and doors to have a well isolated dwelling, choose energy-efficient appliances, replace your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs, and unplug all unused electronics to reduce the ‘’phantom energy’’ consumption.
  • Food: Select local and organic products

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I also urge you to visit the Commissioner’s website. This portal has tons of useful information in French. It is important for Ontario’s citizens to get involved and especially to learn about the subject. Whether you are a fervent environmentalist or not, I encourage you to continue this discussion with your co-workers, friends and family members to consider what you can do to protect the environment. We all have a role to play. Who knows – your actions and ideas may inspire others!

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