Municipal Election 2006

Attention Candidates: The World Needs You

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 25, 2006

James P. Leape, the Director-General of the World Wildlife Fund, accompanied the release of WWF's Living Planet report with a speech in which he called on humanity to stop using up earth's resources faster than the planet can replenish them.

He identified the key to this transformation:

The way energy is generated and consumed - particularly over-reliance on coal, gas and oil - accounts for almost half of our ecological footprint. Climate-changing emissions from these fuels pose a growing threat, already manifest in rising temperatures and melting glaciers. ...

In fact, we can meet the challenge, but the sooner we get started, the less costly it will be. First and foremost, we must change the way we use energy, and the ways we produce it. [emphasis added]

This goal has to be a priority at all levels of government, but cities have a special role to play, since they consume around three quarters of the nation's energy.

In Hamilton's upcoming municipal election, exactly two candidates, Ward 1 candidate Brian McHattie and Ward 13 (Dundas) candidate Julia Kollek, have made energy production and consumption a priority in their campaigns.

Folks, the consequences of the way we produce and consume energy - from habitat destruction to resource depletion to climate change - are absolutely the most important challenge we face. When only two out of 51 candidates - that's 3.9 percent - are even thinking about it, we're in pretty damn serious trouble.

Attention candidates: if you want your tenure on council to mean something, if you want to be remembered positively, if you want to look into the faces of your grandchildren and tell them honestly that you did your bit to make a difference (appeal to emotion, you say? Damn straight it is), then wake up, get educated, and start thinking about how Hamilton can be a national or even a global leader in producing clean energy and consuming it efficiently and sustainably.

The great news is that Hamilton already has a plan to do this. All you have to do is support it, nurture it, and see it to fruition.

It's about twenty years too late for excuses, so get to it, eh?

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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