Tick tock on climate change action

Trevor's Take

Trevor Hutchinson headshot

By Trevor Hutchinson

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.

"The science is real. Our climate is changing. We have to take action now," writes contributing editor Trevor Hutchinson. File photo.

It’s possible that you’re as shocked as I am that it’s 2024. I’m sure my journals over the years would show lists outlining ambitious plans: by 2005 I wanted to own “x.” By 2015 I wanted to be “y.” And yet here I am, in a year that seemed science-fictiony in my youth, with more than a few unrealized goals.

Except for the super high achievers among us, we all experience this to some extent. The same can be said about our communal goal setting.

Take the City of Kawartha Lakes’ Healthy Environment Plan (HEP) for example. Released in 2019 after two years of extensive research and community consultation, the HEP is a very aspirational plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take other measures to mitigate the effects of climate change within the city.

While very light on policy mechanisms and costing, the HEP is bold in its targets. Aligning with federal and provincial targets, the plan calls to reduce GHGs produced in the city to 20 per cent below 2015 levels by 2030. The HEP sets a high bar for the political leaders and city staff: “We will be leaders in addressing our changing climate to ensure a healthy environment and a prosperous community.”

I receive every public-facing communication from the city. Maybe it’s just me, but I am not feeling that envisioned leadership on climate change. Where are the annual report cards? How have we done in the five years since the plan was announced? How is our 2030 target (which is a short six years away) looking? Why don’t we have electric vehicle charging stations? Is the city fleet moving off fossil? Can we spur innovations in agriculture GHGs?

Climate change is real, and it is increasing at an alarming rate. Of course, it has been allowed to become a political issue. And there are possibly current councillors that doubt the science of climate change. Thing is, science is not an opinion. Late last month the entire world met at COP24 (the UN Climate Change conference). Items being discussed there include timing the complete phase-out of fossil fuels.

The science is real. Our climate is changing. We have to take action now. And by action, I mean education, local mitigation measures (building codes, transportation), and advocacy where needed to higher levels of government.

It doesn’t matter if a climate-change-denying bro with a diesel stack lets off a performative smoke show when passing an electric vehicle. That way of thinking will one day be extinct. Council should ignore that misguided sentiment and start being the leaders they aspire to be.


  1. Wallace says:

    Well since there’s no manufacturing in Lindsay anymore, to point the finger at, and shut down, in an attempt to save the planet from Chinas pollution, perhaps it’s time to shut down that big hospital that emits pollution from its huge furnaces and generators. Schools are large buildings that certainly use a ridiculous amount of energy too. Time to shut ’em down in the name of progress (progressive ideology that is). I mean, what’s more important than virtue signaling to the rest of the world, (a world that completely ignores Ontario and Canada in general) ? Lets ban all oil, gas and wood home heating in CKL as well. Once China sees a few thousand CKL residents freezing to death in the winter, surely they’ll stop building 2 coal plants per month. C’mon folks, look at the big picture. Do away with all forms of heat. Do away with all forms of transportation. Do away with your modern way of life and start living the way the impoverished do, all over the world. Look how happy they are , living their 45 year life spans, knowing they’re doing their part to keep the Left happy . “Sunny ways my friends, sunny ways. “

  2. Kevin says:

    All well and great, however the fact of the matter still remains that even if Canada turned Net Zero today, we would affect carbon reduction on a global scale by less than 1%. Furthermore, climate change policies in Canada are being driven for political posturing and at a pace that far exceeds the ability to adapt. One simple example is solar. Solar can and will be a great technology in the future but in today’s world, is inefficient, costly, and requires a tremendous amount of heavy industrial mining to produce the raw materials. Combined with the fact that China is the leading producer of photovoltaic cells, in large part produced in manufacturing plants powered by coal, and quickly the the “green initiative” of utilizing solar power becomes a greater detriment to the carbon emission reduction argument. If nations that contribute the heaviest to greenhouse gas emissions aren’t doing their part, than why should Canadians unfairly be burdened by the financial implications without meaningful results.

    Furthermore, the logic of going all electric in a country the size of Canada with the climate Canada has, is completely flawed. Let’s ignore the fact that we currently do not have the infrastructure to support going all electric and simply look at the consequences of moving to a single source of energy for all aspects of life. Transportation, communication, heating and cooling, cooking, cleaning, all electric. What happens when a storm of any magnitude causes power outages, let alone a major storm that could knock out power for days or weeks. Your entire economy now grinds to a halt and the risks to human health and well being is greatly increased.

    Climate changed has and is unfortunately become a way to further personal, corporate, and political agendas instead of being based on science and common sense. Carbon and greenhouse gas reduction is a great thing. Moving away from our global dependence on fossil fuels is a great thing. Pushing technology and innovation to make life in the future more resilient and sustainable is a great thing. However, pushing a single narrative that is short sighted and doesn’t consider the ramifications is of equal detriment and wrong.

  3. Joan Abernethy says:

    One thing everyone agrees on is mortality. Human mortality and the inevitable death of our planet. I do not believe there is much human kind can do about it. As the century turned, I thought the reduction in wars might perhaps facilitate an evolved and enlightened human existence, a newer, kinder one that respected all life. But as we inch our way forward, wars and cruelty have re-erupted with a passion.

    Getting rid of gas heat in Kawartha Lakes won’t do a damn thing in the face of rising human belligerence and wars. We might as well get down on our knees and pray for salvation as the world ends for some with a bang and for some with a whimper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.