Climate Change

A Quick and Dirty Climate Change Plan for Hamilton

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 20, 2007

As cities around the world struggle with how to respond to the challenges and dangers of climate change, Hamilton remains stuck in neutral, idling away the months and years and watering down its meager initiatives until they're effectively useless.

It's not that difficult, really. Here's a quick list of steps Hamilton can take to make a real, measurable improvement in its greenhouse gas production, air pollution, and quality of life.

Please add your comments and let me know what I missed.

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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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 20, 2007 at 12:21:54

This reads like a dream mayoral platform!

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 20, 2007 at 16:47:04

....in Vancouver.

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By farmer6re9 (registered) - website | Posted June 21, 2007 at 09:07:59

It is heartwarming to know that at least a few folks like yourself recognize there is a problem and earnestly reach deep within themselves for a solution. But quick and dirty doesn't work when there is no one willing to get down and dirty doing it. And there are scant few who would get behind most of those wallet whittling suggestions as the steeds of those who leer.

Here again is a list of "what the admin needs to do" to presumably "knock the wind out of (local loco-notion) climate change." Where is the individual's accountability? It is a far better thing to pray for the best while preparing for the worst.

Too much of our precious time and energy is being spent trying to figure out how to reverse a destructive trend, when all we have to do is pack up and go back in time for the solution. Isn't it is as simple as FLICKED-OFF and UNPLUGGED? Do we want bees and trees or do we want blackberries and cell disrupting topiary's? We per chance can no longer have both.

There is a great disorientation taking place in the natural world and it doesn't matter if you walk to work, ride a bike, take the bus, drive a car or commute in the company leer. Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life here! We owe it to ourselves to do ALL THAT WE CAN to diminish our own personal environmental footprints now! Not because we're gonna "Save the Planet", but because the act of trying to be more conservative and less wastful is good for YOU. It teaches you how to live a simpler yet more satisfying existence.

Don't expect nor even attempt to force conservation onto someone elses pocketbook until you yourself have carefully implemented a frugal regime of your own. Live and do by example to others, a drop becomes a ripple, a wave and then it crests, to create.

Dump the extra vehicles, crank the thermostat to off and endure it the way it is, because you'll get used to it and it pales in comparison to real quick and dirty abrupt change. God doesn't want us to worry about His creation, that's His and He's got that under control. Our sin has made our environments we live in uncomfortable and we need to deal with that.

There is both torrential and long gentle rain; In the end we receive the same precipitation, justly, through degrees of dithering weighs and means.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 21, 2007 at 10:09:15

Yes, but we (the motivated ones) need to inform as many people as we can... and it makes the most sense to try the hardest to reach the people who themselves have the power to reach thousands through policies and politics.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 21, 2007 at 12:31:51

All great ideas. IMO the political will to accomplish these things is going to come from those in their 30's and younger. Boomers and up are the ones holding everyone back with our outdated views on economic growth models, single use zoning, and individual vs. the collective good (Lloyd Ferguson anyone?). My preteen kids know that their survival depends on sacrifices, a fact that us older folks are still denying. So I believe that younger people must become more politically engaged if we are going to see any of these things come to fruition. Ward 1 had the lowest turnout per capita in the last municipal election because of our high student population. Tragic. These kind of stats need to be reversed.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted June 21, 2007 at 12:37:54

So if I can't mow my 2 acre lawn with a gas mower is there someone that sells 51 inch deck electric mowers and ginormous electrical cords? That's easy to do downtown when you don't have land or very little of it, but on the edges that's a little impractical.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted June 21, 2007 at 13:22:39

No, Frank, what's impractical is owning a 2 acre lawn in the first place. If you can't manage it without polluting the air, you need a smaller lawn.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 21, 2007 at 14:01:36

Or let it grow...

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted June 21, 2007 at 14:17:44

Crazy idea: grow, y'know, food on the 2 acres...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 21, 2007 at 16:11:43

Hi farmer6re9,

The important thing to remember is that people respond to incentives.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/355/

Governments create the regulatory framework in which the incentives that guide our actions - mainly through price signals - are shaped. At the same time, democratic governments exist so that people have another means, outside the marketplace, to express their values and preferences.

People won't make good choices if we've framed our markets to punish good choices and reward bad ones. Governments exist partially so that citizens can decide how to frame the choices we make.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted June 24, 2007 at 10:55:47

Well the lawn happens to be on the edge of the city and is owned by a friend of mine. half the property is left overgrown but since the place is also a world class studio letting it grow is a bad image. i think i'd like to see a study on the pollution as a result of smoking... the smoke itself, the litter it leaves behind and there's the health problems resulting from it as well of course. This is the only point of contention that I have with your plan btw. I think that assuming that all individuals are in a position to do what people in the city proper can do, is rather small minded.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 25, 2007 at 15:50:05

If lawnmowers were taxed as heavily as cigarettes, people would think twice about buying one instead of letting it grow -- or converting to gardens -- or finding an indigenous plant that thrives with less maintenance than Kentucky Blue.

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