Tuesday, November 21, 2006

America & climate change

The Promotion of Cycling in Canada petition is here.

As reported in the Toronto Star yesterday, the best thing about the recent American election might be an about-turn on U.S. environmental policy. Up until the election, the U.S. Senate's environmental committee was headed by one James Inhofe, a Republican Senator from Oklahoma. Inhofe has compared environmentalists to Nazi's, and on the issue of American atrocities in Iraq, and the torturing of prisoners, Inhofe believes that they deserve every bit of abuse they get. Inhofe also believed that climate change was a hoax, and used his power to block any initiatives that would combat climate change.
The new head of this committe is a California Democrat named Barbara Boxer. She has already called for massive cuts in carbon emissions.

Thank God people like Inhofe, and Joe Barton (who I wrote about here) are gone now. If the U.S. makes a big push on the environmental issue, hopefully it'll impress Harper and Ambrose enough to open their eyes on this issue as well. (P.S. the photo is from this Toronto Star story. I actually think Harper looks good. He looks like he's having fun and being nice. It's the look on Bush's face that cracks me up.)

Although the above petition is doing well, there are currently around 250 signatures, I'm pretty sure it will get read in Parliament and do the old "in one ear out the other." We all think the promotion of cycling is a good idea, and probably a lot of MP's do as well, but this will just be one single petition amongst many others on lots of other topics.

If you go to the Parliament Debates website, and just type "petition" into the search box, you get hits of all the various members standing up and saying "Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present this petition from X on the issue of Y."
I guess National Literacy just passed, because there were about 15 to 20 different petitions read in the house recently regarding literacy. And then you can also find a petition about once every day where people are asking for a re-opening the same-sex marriage issue, asking the Gov. to make same-sex marriage illegal.

So - one lonely cycling petition probably won't do too much. It's a nice first step, but we should probably think of this as a marathon. We're going to need lots of petitions and really try to hammer a "pro-cycling" message home in the House of Commons.
If you want to start a petition, read through these instructions, start searching for an MP who'll read your petition in parliament, and let the other cycling bloggers know so that we can help you spread the word to get signatures.
Let's do it. Let's force the M.P's to hear about climate change and cycling every time they sit in parliament. If other special interest groups can do it, so can we.


Joe (BikingToronto) said...

If we can get a few million to sign your petition (say, perhaps by the summer?) then the government will pay attention. :)

It just needs lots of promotion... making sure as many people as possible know about it.


Anna-Maria said...

I signed. My husband has been biking to work in good weather. We need more bike trails to make it safer. Many of the roads between here to Halifax are neither pedestrian nor cyclist-friendly.

You might want to bundle this with some other petitions. Paths that could be used by kicksleds in winter would make good sense. Why we don't use kicksleds in this country, I don't understand. You can't kicksled on a salted road, though.
I'll keep advocating anyway - watch my blogs at www.greenribbons.blogspot.com
and www.nsgreenlight.blogspot.com.
Great snowshoes!

Anonymous said...

I signed your petition, my husband will too. I forwarded to the multisport group in Kenora, ON.

Kicksleds are a great idea, I tried one for two weeks and then got into dog sledding. I love mushing.

Karen Stilwell said...

Tomasini, you might be interested in this intiative by the city of Fredericton called "Active Transportation." It's a program to encourage people to, well, actively transport themselves places by walking, jogging, biking, etc.