COPS26 comes home

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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist


Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

We have just witnessed (and participated in) two major public events: the world’s climate change conference (COPS26) and the Pontiac’s local elections. Both occasioned a lot of comment, all the pros and all the cons. And as interesting as this has been, we have moved to a new stage: our own roles, participation and responsibilities. You and I, our families and friends, co-workers and neighbours: we are involved, and it’s time to drop the social media chatter and step up to the plate.
We might start by recalling last summer’s climatic events: the West’s horrible "heat dome" and ensuing forest and grass fires, destroying an entire village and hundreds of homes, sawmills, businesses, cottages, warehouses and vehicles. Picture that happening here. Would Otter Lake, for example, even survive? Will our highways be cut, power lines down, our economic resources either wiped out or put
out of reach? Picture the massive fires in California and in Australia – here. This is what COPS 26 was about: us, here.
Our part in this world-wide initiative is at home. We can criticize the politicians (Greta’s "blah-blah-blah"), coal and oil corporations, the biggest emitters of carbon, the superpowers who refuse help to the exploited nations. Plenty to criticize. But what of us? After we picture a Heat Dome over the Outaouais, besides not permitting ourselves the luxury of immobility, of doing nothing, what can we do? How can
we assume responsibility for our roles in our planet’s deterioration?  Unsurprisingly, there are hundreds of actions within our reach: from switching to electricity from fossil fuels to reducing
the waste and rubbish we add to our ecosystems.
North American consumerism is one of the foundations of environmental destruction – from start to finish, from the mines to the factories, shipping, packaging, selling – then add the trash. Stop buying new stuff! Recycle, re-use, re-purpose; we all know the drill! Make our old habits of buy – buy – buy into thoughtful choices, even if they are fewer, and require extra care in disposal.
Speaking local, the Pontiac needs vehicles, given our lack of public transport and our distances and low populations. But must these gas-guzzling noisy vehicles also serve as psychological crutches to broadcast our wealth, aggressiveness, or, simply, our presence? One common complaint is the future cost for fossil fuels to power our guzzlers. Are we willing to identify ourselves as people who refused to turn from oil because the alternatives are "too expensive"?  
Hey, they aren’t – unless we remain chained to the gas-guzzlers. That’s our choice, not an imposition by big government.
Don’t we each harbour a larger-than-life estimation of our personal brain power and foresight?
Let’s prove it. Let’s be part of the solution.
Let’s aim past COPS 26!  
Every one of us.