I’m not against a law prohibiting carbon from swallowing up our skyline, and the moral aptitude for inciting such responsible behaviour is inarguable, but an anti-idling bylaw begins and ends with people becoming more informed and personally more accountable.
I’ll be honest; I was pretty ho-hum about the mass effects of exhaust wafting into the atmosphere and into our lungs until I became a father.
It really is about the kids, but our collective air consumption should be held to a higher standard.
In fact, I agree with theories claiming if we want to cut emissions, air or the atmosphere should be commoditized, boxed up, bought and sold like other valuable resources.
This way, vested individuals or companies would protect their marketable and profitable resource.
It isn’t really that far-fetched when you consider the relatively new and huge bottled-water market.
But until capitalism sinks its far-reaching fangs into the potential oxygen sector, pundits at councils nationwide will be squandering and dilly-dallying to come up with the best way to meet federal, provincial and municipal pressures to cut back carbon emissions.
I think council should focus on education, work to improve congested traffic conditions, and fund more specialized initiatives targeting clean-air aspirations.
Linsay Luhnau, co-ordinator of environmental education at the Clean Calgary Association (CCA), thinks a bylaw would at least give citizens recourse if others don’t heed educational campaigns.
“You can engage in all the education you want, but if I am at home and my neighbour gets up every morning at 6 a.m., idles their vehicle for an hour before they get into it, all the education in the world won’t give me any recourse for it,” she said.
Simply, it comes down to moral fibre and a desire to act on foresight for generations, meaning clean air should be a right for everyone.
CCA is launching an anti-idling campaign on March 17, aptly labelling it “Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day” in an attempt to contrast the finger-wagging, fear-mongering methods of deterrents employed by the City of Calgary.
“We are using a community-based, social marketing avenue, by encouraging people to join us in positive idle-free behaviour,” said Luhnau.
To change our physical environments, and begin to cut through the induced smog clinging to our horizons, we must change the environment of our minds by recognizing that danger can exist without the fangs and claws.