We Need Better Commuting Options

As each week goes by, the evidence supporting man-made influence on climate change gets stronger. One would think that thoughtful, logical people could easily connect the dots and start living their lives in a manner that would not spew so much CO2 into the air. The percentage of the population in Saskatoon that are making the small changes that results in less future climate change is much lower than it should be.  Why? Why would anyone knowingly put their grandchildren’s well being in jeopardy? Even If you are not convinced that people are affecting the earth’s climate, why take that risk when the alternatives are relatively cheap and painless. People gain peace of mind by buying fire insurance for homes, even though they understand that the likelihood of their house burning down is very low. Yet many persist in living high fossil fuel use lives and electing governments that seem committed to inaction on climate change, when the science is screaming out that future generation will suffer greatly. Perhaps people need more solid, factual evidence that the obvious is true, and that alternatives are doable.

Look for our weekly information sharing piece in the Star Phoenix that will cover many topics, from a variety of authors on how we use and create energy. When a local, provincial or even national energy issue arise we may wade in and sprinkle words of wisdom. To that end, look what fell into our lap lately. Once per year, when budget time approaches, Saskatoon’s council contemplates cutting city bus services in an effort to keep city taxes from rising too much. Council unanimously passed a Greenhouse Gas Management Plan a few years ago. Since then, little has been done by the city to actually reduce Saskatoon’s GHG’s. We have a very high reliance on vehicles for commuting, much higher than most countries. To encourage people to get out of their autos and try the bus, there needs to be an efficient, cheap transit system. Some progressive cities choose to offer free or nearly free transit as a better, low CO2 alternative to subsidizing a vehicle driven systems of freeways, bridges, overpasses,etc. A council that is serious about reducing GHG’s does not starve transit, it enhances transit and other non-auto commutes. If private auto use is heavily subsidized, why does transit have to break-even?

-Brian Sawatzky

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized