If you’re feeling cynical about your 100-buck carbon tax
rebate, don’t. Hadi Dowlatabadi, professor at the Liu Institute for Global
Issues at UBC and renowned researcher into all kinds of fascinating things
futuristic — such as how we humans are going to contend with climate
change — isn’t touched by a shred of cynicism over it. And, for what it’s
worth, neither am I.
By Mr. Dowlatabadi’s measure a carbon tax rebate like this is a
good way of compensating for the new 2.4-cent/litre carbon tax at the gas pump.
He thinks it’s the right behaviour-modification tool attached to the right spot
— the consumer end of business — and a nice way to jump-start new
conversations and new ways of thinking. Like this.
Let’s suppose for a minute that we’re talking about a single
person living in a condo at Creekside. The rebate, which should be in your
hands or at least your mailbox by now, is a clear hundred bucks you didn’t
expect to get. (A family of four, on the other hand is getting $400 —
$100 for each man, woman and dependent child, as the premier said.)
So how are
going to spend
that sucker to reduce your carbon footprint? The media’s doing a pretty good
job of covering the obvious options (buying 100 bucks’ worth of energy-saver
bulbs or new weather stripping) and the not so obvious (adding a computerized
fuel gauge monitoring device to your car).
The food zone also falls into the latter category, mainly
because we all eat, too much, some would say, and usually do it more out of
habit than mindfulness. So in the spirit of following in Carole Taylor’s green
shoes — from local designer John Fluevog, by the way — here are
some low-cal carbon strategies for leaving a better planet for the next seven
1. Go for a 50/50 garden:
I say spend 50 bucks on leasing a community garden plot for the year and 50
bucks for plants, seeds and a watering can. Not only will you have lots of
salad and stir-fry ingredients all summer long, and into the fall, you’ll also
have a lot of fun and get to mingle with some neighbours you might not
otherwise meet. For a plot in Pemberton’s community garden, visit Solstice
Organics or call them at 604-894-1410. For one at Whistler call Whistler
Community Services at 604-932-0113.
2. Go whole hog on organics:
Okay, so some people argue that organic food is more expensive than
run-of-the-mill, commercially grown food. I say give your head a shake. First
of all, North Americans pay less than 10 per cent of their disposable income on
food; in Europe, it’s 20+ per cent, and third-world residents pay 50-75 per
cent of their disposable income on food. Then what price do you place on
millions of tons of pesticides and carbon-based fertilizers dumped into our
ecosystems every day so one guy wearing a gas mask can farm 15,000 acres? And
what price commercial agribusiness where 4-5 companies control 60-80 per cent
of global food supply and everything along the system from production and
transportation to warehousing, packaging and marketing?