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Has mother nature gone soft on us?

Has mother nature gone-mundo-mileniostadium
Créditos: DR

From a very simplistic approach when it comes to our environment…what can we really do to help our plant today and for the future of generations to come?

It’s an interesting question and one that requires some thought because many of us are skeptical about anything that has to do with being “environmentally friendly”. When government or pundits tell us how to recycle or how we have to dispose of our garbage… the real question should be – does it really work? Who is really benefiting from an environmental system that was implemented by beaurocratts? There is no such thing as a “green” product.

The corporate sustainability gospel that green companies sell green products, and green products have some absolute and well-defined environmental attributes – evaporates on closer inspection. What do l mean by this, well when you take a closer look at the current thinking about green products, most folks realize that virtually all products and services have environmental impacts, just as they have economic costs. In other words, practically all products and services require the extraction of natural resources and cause the release of wastes and emissions, and both these activities are almost certain to affect the natural environment adversely. The environmental benefits of green products are not that they somehow fix the environment or have zero impact, but rather that their environmental impacts are less than those of similar products.

If there is no such thing as a green product, and is the pursuit of corporate environmental sustainability futile?

However, the goal shouldn’t be as simplistic as trying to sell as many green products as possible. Efforts to increase the environmental sustainability of corporations should lead to an overall reduction in environmental impact or be net green as we like to call it. We define net green how…well a business activity is net green if and only if it reduces overall environmental impact. Although this statement sounds straightforward, implementing it is not trivial, as our discussion of the elusive green product has shown. One good thing about the net green concept is that it applies not just to selling products, but to any business activity, and because a business is at some level simply a collection of activities, net green can be used to evaluate entire businesses as well.

Let’s take the garbage industry and the incineration processing plants and how they have become such powerhouses thus far…. when we dispose of our garbage and anything that needs to be taken away, in most cases it always ends up together in one big landfill. We are told that when we separate our garbage that it would be processed properly and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner…well l have news for you…it very rarely happens and in many cases it is all processed together in one big landfill.

Our oceans are facing a plastic crisis….

Plastic debris has been found floating on the sea surface, washing up on the world’s most remote coastlines, melting out of Artic sea ice, sitting at the deepest point of the ocean floor, and in the stomachs of fish, marine mammals and seabirds. It’s everywhere and to make matters worse, the volume of plastic waste is expected to increase four times by 2050.

Many folks here in Canada still think that plastic pollution, especially in our oceans, is not a Canadian problem. We recycle, we have good waste management systems, do beach cleanups, and generally we care about the environment. Unfortunately, the reality is that Canada is a disproportionately large contributor to the growing plastic disaster. Canadians make up less than 0.5 per cent of the global population, we use 1.4 per cent of all plastic produced.

As one of the wealthiest nations with a relatively small population, this is a huge problem made worse by the fact that we only recycle about 9 per cent of our plastic waste. Plastic pollution is harming our oceans, the animals that call them home and even our health. Our government and Trudeau need to take a leadership role to end the fatal flow of plastics into our oceans.

The most compelling climate change evidence scientists have of climate change is long term data relating atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature, sea level, the expanse of ice, the fossil record and the distribution of species. This data, which goes back millions of years, shows a trend of increasing temperature and rising CO2 levels beginning in the early 19th century. All parts of the global climate are connected, scientists have been able to create models of how changes caused by heating should work their way through the entire system and appear in different areas.

We can agree that something is definitely going on with global warming or climate change, whatever buzz words you may want to use… how can we all do our part…that may be small or big, we all need to do something. Talking about it and having some meaningful discussions amongst your peers and others is a good start in my humble opinion. Change is very difficult, especially when there is part of the global community that is benefiting monetarily, and others are suffering. But we must fight on and keep government and agencies that regulate at least somewhat accountable and on track.

One needs to remember that someone or some entity is always making money on the back of this planet, and we need to be vigilant to keep the conversation and awareness front and center.

Vince Nigro/MS

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