Last year I wrote a list of ten things you can do as an individual to reduce the negative impact you have on the Earth (focusing on some less well-known or obvious ideas, instead of the usual “drive less, replace your light bulbs” kind of stuff that I assume most people already know).
There is, however, an ongoing debate about individual versus collective action. In other words, how much of a difference can we as individuals really make, and how much change must come from government and business.
Obviously action at all levels is critical, and the individual changes we make to our lives do make a difference. That being said, I believe there is an increasing need for strong leadership at the government level. During the last campaign I was asked by a young boy why we need “politics.” I answered that government, at its best, allows us to do things together that we would otherwise be unable to do. Big things. Things that are larger than you or me, but not larger than the two or more of us combined. The challenges we face are large, and require this level of cooperation.
This year, since we’re in a by-election campaign, I suggest you use your vote on March 17th to help achieve your grander New Year’s resolutions. Here are some ideas for resolutions for Canada:
- Exercise more of a positive influence on the international stage. Rebuild our reputation as a global leader, instead of a global saboteur.
- Enjoy life more by making sure we measure genuine progress.
- Quit drinking 4 barrels of water for ever 1 barrel of oil extracted from the tar sands.
- Quit smoking whatever it is the Conservatives are smoking that makes them believe the obviously false idea that action on the environment can’t also be positive for the economy.
- Lose weight at the federal level, and transfer more resources and authority to cities and communities.
Any other good ones I missed?