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It’s Not an Environmental Problem

By: Amanda Smith, M.P.S.

September 11th, 2019

Election Series

Let’s take the word ‘environment’ out of the discussion of environmental policy for a second. If we can understand the impacts of climate change without actually using the terms ‘environment’ or ‘climate change’, it may provide a more comprehensive view of the problem that we are facing.

  • Imagine a provincial policy that inflicted a tax on the agricultural market for tender fruits which cost the industry an additional $100 million per year. This would provoke an uproar within the industry. Meanwhile, in March 2012, unprecedented extreme weather events cost the tender fruit industry that same $100 million, which resulted in an increase in prices at the grocery store [1]. 
  • Similarly, let’s imagine the government decided that healthcare is too expensive, and switched from a public to a semi-private model at an annual cost to citizens in Toronto between $3-11 million. This would induce rage among citizens. Meanwhile, the results of higher smog concentration and warmer summers from climate change are estimated to cost between $3-11 million in increased healthcare costs in Toronto alone [2].
  • What if a major public insurance company, through bad investments, incurred $1.9 billion in losses over a single year? Meanwhile, the Insurance Bureau of Canada suffered a loss of $1.9 billion due to payout for an increased number of catastrophic disasters in 2018 that can be linked to climate change [3]. 
  • Finally, what if the province raised the HST, costing the average Canadian between $675 and $1162 annually? By 2050, it is estimated that climate change will cost the Canadian economy between $24-43 billion dollars, at a cost of $675-$1162 to the average Canadian citizen [4]. 

Any one of the scenarios above would likely cause negative backlash or even uproar onto the provincial and federal governments. Yet, when the words ‘tax’ or ‘healthcare’ are switched for words like ‘climate change’ or ‘environment’, we are often reluctant to act, or need more evidence. These are real costs that are being inflicted on the Canadian public due to unchecked consequences of climate change, and unsustainable business practices. 

This is not an environmental problem. This is a social problem, an economic problem, and a moral problem. This is a problem. 

This year’s election is pivotal for climate change action. Each party will be releasing climate action plans; it is vital that the public is informed on their impact at a federal level, as well as how these policies will impact us here in the Waterloo region. This blog will be your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know in the upcoming election about federal policies and their local impacts. As a voter, you have the power to make a difference and set our country on a path that creates a sustainable and beautiful world for generations to come.  

Make an informed decision this fall when you go to the polls. Keep up to date with ClimateActionWR resources and visit our website to see what you can do to make change, and help fight climate change.

amanda smaller pic

Amanda Smith, M.P.S





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