Nov 17, 2018: Action a Day
Since I’m starting up my action a day again, I thought I’d check out the “action” program that the City of Edmonton runs. Click here to see what you can do to participate in the Change for Climate movement: https://changeforclimate.ca/action. Let’s face it, energy transition and change are needed on a much grander scale that the actions proposed in the list of potential actions proposed by the Change for Climate campaign and the city knows it. I’m mindful of how classist many of the actions are — in other words how unfeasible they are for so many people for financial reasons. Many of the actions presume individual home ownership and an automobile-organized lifestyle: “leave your grass clippings on the lawn” or “drive an electric car” or “avoid idling your car.” Many of these actions also assume a level of expendable cash not even realistic for your average homeowner with the ability and means to qualify for mortgages and car loans: “switch to a tankless water heater” or “install energy efficient windows” or “retrofit your building’s envelope for efficiency”. So while it is easy to critique the options provided to the middle class and more affluent citizens by the City of Edmonton’s Change for Climate actions for the ways that these solutions perpetuate a mindset that we can largely invest and buy into a greener future (rather than simply living less large), they are a place to start. City employees, I happen to know, from the qualitative research I’ve been doing over the last year are, to greater and lesser degrees, aware of these criticisms. At the same time, our current systems in Edmonton and Alberta and Canada require individual homeowners to invest in a more green future because our current tax structures do not allow the various levels of government to financially mobilize this transition without individual ‘buy in’–literally and figuratively. And, while I could go on about the failings of a plan to achieve 1.5 or 2 degrees warming that is premised on the need to continue consuming more and newer and more technologically sophisticated products, I’ll write today instead about the positive that I see in these proposed actions.
Like this action a day, making these choices in your own life, might make us all just a little more mindful about climate change and energy transition. In and of themselves, the actions proposed are not sufficient to even begin to address the issue–which is not only climate change but the interlocking systems of oppression that have led to this moment. However, in taking one action, perhaps we will each take another, and perhaps, eventually, there will be many more of us mindful of the climate change that is underway and how we might change to address it. In so doing, I can only hope that there will also be many more of us who will no longer tolerate practices, policies and politics that act counter to our own survival and the survival of so many species and eco-systems on this planet through our own negligence. Cheers to taking one action every day as part of attuning ourselves to our neighbours, our communities and our environments!