Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drops in the bucket
Re Empty Gestures Trivialize The Very Serious Challenge Of Climate Change (Opinion, Dec. 28):
At first, Bjorn Lomborg’s column left me despondent because, according to him, there is nothing I can do to help prevent climate change and improve my children’s future. Our only hope is research and new technology.
But wait, can’t I as a consumer help drive that new technology and research? When I first went vegetarian, we were few in number and our only option was awful rice cake veggie burgers. Now there are delicious alternatives and thriving vegan restaurants and soon to be cultured meat and dairy.
Didn’t my choices help with that? Aren’t the people who are buying hybrids and electric cars now encouraging the car companies to invest in those technologies and come up with improvements? Even if my choices don’t make a huge difference in the amount of global CO2, can’t they at least have a financial influence?
Ken Smith St. Catharines, Ont.
Bjorn Lomborg has much to say about the futility of individual actions to fight climate change, and almost nothing about what we can do to effect positive change. His one offering – demand a “vast increase” in green spending – is insultingly self-evident to the concerned people who have already marched, written letters and voted, again and again, for just such a change.
So far these political efforts have largely fallen on deaf ears, which is exactly why so many people feel that they must also take drastic individual action. We have more tools available to us than Prof. Lomborg’s scant list. How we eat, live, consume, invest and travel can have a massive collective effect.
All that Prof. Lomborg’s sad-sack litany achieves is encouraging despair and apathy – the most effective tool to promote total inaction – when what we desperately need are new ideas, hope and resolve to prevail against this threat to humanity.
Kenneth Oppel Toronto
Although small changes in individual behaviour give people a sense of involvement in helping with the climate crisis, as Bjorn Lomborg points out, they can’t really help the problem all that much.
What we really need to deal with the twin crises of species extinction and impending climate disaster is immediate and sweeping legislation. This legislation depends on government action, which most governments are unwilling to take. The idea that small actions by individuals can help save the planet plays right into the oil companies’ desire to avoid regulation with further delaying tactics.
Patty Benjamin Victoria
Bjorn Lomborg makes a valid point about our puny efforts to mitigate climate change with LED bulbs, electric cars and so on. However, he then presents a solution (green-tech miracles through government and industry) that further relegates the citizenry to simply writing the occasional frustrated letter to this or that politician.
What we really need to do is what the majority of economists recommend: stiff carbon taxes with associated taxpayer rebates and green-tech investments.
Oh, and until we are finally able to achieve his aim of having a preponderance of green energy infrastructure, we might want to rein in his Holy Grail of constant “economic growth,” since a large part of it seems to only have the object of giving us more and more shiny toys that we don’t really need.
Evan Bedford Red Deer, Alta.
Bjorn Lomborg concludes with an admonition to vastly increase spending on green-energy research to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, the only green-energy source that could be remotely possible to replace fossil-fuel reliance is nuclear power, which most “green” advocates will find hard to contemplate.
Coupled with the fact that the better part of 200 million people a year are expected to join the middle class of consumers, we can forget about meeting the Paris Agreement emissions targets. More would be accomplished by a global contraception program to limit the “population bomb” that professor and author Paul Ehrlich warned us about 50 years ago, before its time and for a different reason.
David Morrow Calgary
Action on inclusion
Re Disability And Diversity (Letters, Dec. 17): Deputy Minister of Public Service Accessibility Yazmine Laroche points to a clear gap in the conversation about inclusion in the workplace. But as a parent of a disabled child and a scholar whose work focused on disability and cities, I am troubled by statements where disabled bodies are framed as being “good for business.” How about employing persons with disabilities because quite simply they are people who also possess abilities?
I know we aren’t there yet, so we need clear and simple signals to the able-bodied to get them thinking differently. However, persons with disabilities already do enough extra work in everyday life. Please don’t ask them to do the double work that often typifies the institutional diversity agenda.
Ron Buliung PhD; Toronto
I agree with Deputy Minister of Public Service Accessibility Yazmine Laroche and would like to send a year-end challenge to Corporate Canada to recruit a person with a disability to their boards in 2020.
Including a person with a disability on a board is not a charitable act – there is ample evidence that it’s good for business. If they’ve risen to the top in their professional roles and also have the right qualifications for appointment to a board, they are very likely to have what it takes to be a strong board asset. To be a champion of diversity and inclusion, one must include people with disabilities. Please remember the tone is always set at the top.
Vim Kochhar Chair, Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons; Toronto
Taxes as investments
Re A Huge – And Necessary – Property-tax Hike (Dec. 13): Ever since I first voted, more and more elections have been focused on lower taxes. We are paying the price now.
Infrastructure in cities is falling apart, requiring higher-priced repairs. Health-care spending has decreased, when more expensive treatments are required. And governments have cut back on basics such as education, sewers and roads. Canada has, for many years, had a social system in which we – all together – pay taxes, so that all of us can have good schools, good roads and other infrastructure, and good health care.
Paying taxes supports all of us. Let’s do it reasonably and responsibly and keep our society healthy.
Elizabeth Mintoft-Cohen Toronto
Making a difference
Re Peak Atwood (Arts & Books, Dec. 28): One of Margaret Atwood’s most profound statements is found in her book The Tent: “Wind comes in, your candle flips over and flares up, and a loose tent-flap catches fire ... but you keep on writing anyway because what else can you do?”
This message applies not only for writers but also for all those who strive to make a difference.
Don Kerr Collingwood, Ont.
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