LETTER: How dare we?

From reader Heather Jenkins

Greta Thunberg has it right. How dare we?

We have been chastised for doing little and causing harm every day. We nod and agree. But Greta is right: we talk big but do nothing that matters.

Gas trimmers and lawnmowers are being used to ensure that the trim is “just so” and lawns are appealing. Really? How dare we care about this when ecosystems are collapsing due to rising temperatures?

Grocery stores carry produce from China, Poland, and other countries because we buy the large, very orange carrots from China, fruits from Mexico and the U.S, and other exotic foods that we have become accustomed to. We are not prepared to radically change our habits as consumers and thus force grocery stores to do our bidding. How dare we?

We use vehicles without a second thought. Yes, there are times when using a vehicle cannot be avoided but many of us do not make the sacrifice to do without when we can as often as we can. Policy makers can help by providing free transit yet they don’t. How dare we continue with this vehicle mentality rather than make the changes we need to?

We want to use our water toys, take cruises, and fly off to vacation spots. We do these things knowing that the oceans are so full of plastic that many species are dying. We continue knowing that the fish in our rivers and lakes are experiencing the same fate. We fish because it is our right. Sport fishing makes us so much money. Cruise lines are busier than ever. Flying is so much faster. How dare we ignore what is happening around us at the expense of our children?

City council could have made the radical decision to ban plastic bags but didn’t. We need radical policies from our leaders now, not discussion, debate, or baby steps. How dare we continue to behave as if we have lots of time to figure it out at the expense of our children?

Many of us view our behaviours and habits as our “right to do so.” We don’t like the inconveniences that big changes bring. We are at the point now when only major changes and inconveniences will save us. We are out of time. Babies born today may require a solar suit. Fish and foods from the ocean will have labels indicating the proportion of meat to plastic. There may not be enough water to fight forest fires. A global food shortage is looming due to soil erosion, use of pesticides, bees dying out, drought, and too many people to feed. It’s time to act.

Heather Jenkins


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