This column is an imaginary correspondence between Maddie the Motorist, Byron the Bicyclist and Patty the Pedestrian.
Dear Byron the Bicyclist;
Last week you wrote to Patty about how getting exercise, fresh air and saving money while reducing pollution was a win-win-win. I count four wins there.
On reducing carbon dioxide emissions, isn’t our part just a drop in the bucket? Isn’t the real problem countries like China where the pollution is sometimes as bad as we have it during our forest fires?
Signed; Maddie the Motorist
China is indeed the single largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter. But our per person emissions are much greater. Canada’s per capita carbon emissions are 14.8 metric tons. For China, it is 8.2 metric tons per capita. (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) cited in European Commission Joint Research Centre Science for Policy Report C02 emissions of all world countries, 2022.)
Back in the 1990s our federal government encouraged us to reduce our emissions by what they called the ”One Ton Challenge.” At the time, I went on-line to check ours. Even though, we have a 1960’s house with a gas furnace, a gas stove and a gas water heater, our emissions ranked in the lowest twenty-fifth percentile of Canadians. While our mower is electric, I can only conclude our low emissions was mainly from walking and biking to work.
Reducing our emissions can be done. And we don’t need to have a hybrid or electric vehicle to do it. For short distances, simply walking and biking do make a difference. And don’t forget that our buses have a bike rack up front.
One less drop in the bucket, one less ton of CO2 and one less motor vehicle trip can add up for 38 million Canadians.
Signed; Byron the Bicyclist
Bert Groenenberg is a cyclist and pedestrian who has mainly biked or walked to work on Oliver Street for 30 years.
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