I largely live with the belief that collective humanity will not effectively act to prevent future catastrophic climate change. Most of the time I believe that we have crossed the tipping point of no return and it is too late. I live with what joy I can find in the present and at the same time I continue to act in ways that support a life within the constraints of the environment. I like to think that my environmental footprint supports protecting the future environment if we all were doing much the same. There are times when I hear stories that perk my interest and I feel hope that maybe, just maybe there is a possibility for real change. On Thursday 13 December 2018, CBC Radio Host Anna Maria Tremonti of The Current, spoke with Guests Margaret Klein Salamon and Robert Gifford http://www.cbc.ca/1.4944735 . Listening to their proposed actions I felt very inspired and hopeful. At the same time I felt a chill as I remembered a mock speech that I wrote ten years ago that told much the same story. In 2008 I believed that for real change we needed political leadership unlike anything we were seeing in Canada. I sat down and wrote the message I wanted to hear from the Prime Minister (knowing that he would never say these words). While I might write it a little differently now, there is nothing that I said in 2008 that I disagree with in 2018.
(Mock) Speech-from-the-Throne 2008
Prime Minister Steven Harper
As we enter a new session of parliament, I commit Canada to a process of change unlike anything seen in all of history. For the past 20 years, scientists have repeatedly pleaded with world powers to look at the environment and look at our actions and consider the future consequences. Like politicians the world over I have not wanted to hear the message. I tell you now that times have changed and the government of Canada is ready to listen.
As of today, I commit Canada to path of change that will affect us all. A path that will reshape everything we know about Canada, the way we think and the way we live.
To start, today, we acknowledge that the most serious contributor to greenhouse gas production is the internal combustion engine and the private automobile. As of today all oil and natural gas exploration stops. In 2008 Canada will cut oil production by 5%. In each of 2009, 2010 and 2011 there will be further cuts of 5% based on today’s use. Following 2012, we will cut production by 10% each year until 2020 when no oil will be produced, no oil will imported or sold, and all wells will be capped.
To balance the resulting challenge to transportation, our auto manufactures will immediately shift to production of smaller, short distance, low impact personal vehicles. Automobile research resources will focus on new technologies to promote zero emission vehicles, electric, pneumatic, or energy sources unheard of today.
As of today, all new highway construction will stop. Over the next 10 years at least half of all existing roads will be decommissioned. By the year 2020 we will have established a rail network to service all communities in Canada. Trains on these lines will be carbon neutral, powered by wind and solar generated electricity. In ten years it will be rare to drive a personal vehicle further than a neighbouring town.
Concurrent with this massive adjustment to the auto industry, we will change the whole structure of how we transport goods and people. Within one year all transport subsidies will be eliminated. We will have a carbon based tax on the shipment of all goods. A similar tax will cover air travel. All tax monies collected will be directed to the development of carbon neutral, trucking, shipping and flight.
In an effort to mitigate this massive increase in transportation costs, Canada will develop a new strategy for the supply of food and materials. As a nation we will embrace the concept of the 100 mile diet. Every community in Canada will be required to examine their ecological footprint. While goods will still be traded, every community must have the capacity to feed itself and provide its material needs from lands within a 100 mile radius. All development must meet this goal. Cities and communities unable to meet this requirement may trade credits with communities exceeding the 100 mile requirement, but with a 50% credit penalty.
In the coming years Canadians will learn to live in a balance between our resources and industries, and the environment in which we live. By 2020 all industry in Canada will be 100 percent non-polluting and carbon neutral. For us to survive there remains no other choice.
In the coming years we all will see changes and challenges in our lives. The task is beyond the effort of all the wars and disasters we have ever faced. I ask all Canadians to reach beyond anything you have ever imagined and meet this challenge.