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Ryan’s Regards: Climate change pledges leaves out rural population

It would seem the Trudeau government doesn’t understand the Canadian landscape
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Black Press Media)

Nestled inside the federal budget announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that Canada will slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent within the next decade.

It is clear climate change is at the top of the to-do list for most governments across the globe; growing not just a greener economy, but a more sustainable country, is something Canada can’t ignore.

But even with this pledge, I can’t help but feel hopeless from where I’m standing.

Though we like to uncharacteristically brag about our size to the rest of the world, Canada’s landmass makes fighting climate change a tall order.

It’s both a blessing and a curse that with multiple oceans, mighty winds, and ample sunlight, we have the opportunity to invest in different power sources; but one size will not fit all.

Certainly not like oil and gas has managed to do.

So instead of becoming a solely solar country or wind-powered nation, we’ll have to play to each region’s strengths.

In doing so, however, each industry may run the risk of further isolating each area and making travel or trade far more complex than we’ve ever imagined.

READ MORE: Ryan’s Regards: Teachers need far more faith and respect in this day and age

As it stands right now, isolation is nothing new when it comes to climate change pledges beaming from both Ottawa and Victoria.

There are recommendations upon recommendations on what one can do to limit their carbon footprint and make a difference.

But I find most of the research and advice and even funding initiatives are based on an urban lifestyle.

I’d like to think our government is just unsure what to do with urban communities, but it’s more likely they just plum forgot that Canadians live in the country.

We hear ad nauseam that communal transit like taking the bus is key or how riding a bike to work is a great solution.

For most, a bike is far too cumbersome of an option to make it to work on time. I know many Aldergrove residents who work in downtown Vancouver. I can’t imagine making that journey everyday. Can you?

My childhood home in Southern Alberta stands isolated on a seldom-travelled gravel road; no buses will likely ever go in that direction during my lifetime.

And while I’ll commend Aldergrove for having some countryside routes (lawn-chair bus stops and all), there’s too much land to cover. The further southeast you get, the fewer routes there are.

And just think of mountain communities throughout the Kootenays that rely on skiers and campers? How could they stand a chance?

No one will be giving up their vehicle to climb aboard a tour bus. No one will be going electric if prices don’t come down.

The SkyTrain will reach Aldergrove by the time I’m a senior. It’s a start and certainly important in terms to communal travel, but immediacy is what’s key!

On top of the federal government’s cold shoulder is that fact rural dwellers is that the agriculture industry consistently thrown under the bus as a high emitter. Few in government seem to grasp the farming lifestyle, let alone appreciate the importance of what they do.

I try to do my part. I use my own bags at the supermarket. That’s enough to save the planet, right? RIGHT?

And I’m trying hard to swallow my dreams. All I want is to own a 1956 blue and white Thunderbird, but I think by the time that happens, gasoline will be obsolete. Someone will have to push me instead I guess.

I’m supposed to say “let’s all come together. If we act now and all make sacrifices, we can achieve anything and stop climate change in its tracks.”

But we can’t. Not for rural communities that lack the resources and support to make drastic changes.

Aid may come from the feds, but only after their attention wanes from helping out urban communities when it will be too late.

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