This year’s G8 summit in Japan resulted in a commitment from the leaders of some of the world’s largest economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. It is ironically symbolic that this resolution was made in a place not far away from another Japanese city where a similar – but much stronger – commitment had been made a decade ago. If the Kyoto treaty failed to produce the results it was intended to produce, why should the G8 summit’s resolution be any better? Continue reading Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Enough Talking, It’s Time to Act
One opportunity to prevent environmental damage that has so far been widely overlooked is the opportunity to take actions that would simply eliminate the need for people to commute. As far as commuting goes, all efforts so far have been focused on accommodating it and reducing its impact, not on curbing it. Some say that commuting is not really preventable, but I would argue that this is exactly the sort of attitude that needs to change for people to really help the environment – and our communities.
Continue reading Myths That Perpetuate Long-Distance Commuting
There has been much talk lately about introducing tolls on Toronto‘s roads. The major arguments of those in favour are:
- Tolls will help bring in much needed money to be invested in the GTA’s public transit.
- Tolls will take some people off the roads by making it more expensive to make non-essential trips.
- Tolls will encourage people to take public transit instead of driving, which will in turn help ease gridlock and protect the environment.
The problem with all these arguments is that they simply don’t apply in today’s Toronto: They would apply if we had an adequate, integrated, reliable public transit system. Until we do, road tolls will be just another way to tax working people.
Continue reading Road Tolls in Toronto? Fix Transit First.
On May 27, 2008, CIBC released a report analyzing the impact that increasing oil prices will have on Canadian’s lives. The report comes to some interesting conclusions.
One of the conclusions is that higher oil prices will eventually reverse globalization, resulting in price increases for lower-value items across the board. At some point, transporting low-value items from East Asia will no longer be worthwhile as transportation cost will make them too expensive. But don’t hold your breath: The manufacturing of such items will not come back to Canada or the United States. It is more likely to go to other places with cheaper labour that are closer to our home markets, such as Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Continue reading CIBC Report on Higher Gas Price Impact Reaches Curious Conclusions
With environmental concerns growing, calls for consumers to buy local have been getting louder lately. Environmentalists and business groups alike have been calling for people to choose local goods over imports, and replace exotic vacation destinations with local ones. (Oddly enough, I have yet to hear a call for employers to recruit local job applicants who would not have to commute long distances to get to work – but this is a separate topic.)
Continue reading Are Calls to Buy Local Just Another Marketing Trick?
When Fairy Lake Jobs – the first Vicinity Jobs Network search engine – was launched in 2006, its objective was to not only get people thinking about the damage inflicted by long distance commuting to our communities and the environment, but to also demonstrate that this damage can be prevented, and serve as an example of how this could be done. Fairy Lake Jobs was very successful, largely thanks to the support that it received from many York Region residents. This encouraged us to expand and enhance our services, leading to the introduction of the concept to the remaining suburban communities around Toronto in 2007 – where the initiative is now gaining momentum as well.
Continue reading Vicinity Jobs Blog Draws Attention to the Environmental and Social Topics of the Day