Thursday, December 28, 2006


I rather liked this column by Brigitte Pellerin in today's Victoria Times Colonist. She's had it with sanctimonious eco-bores who constantly harangue the rest of us with their self-righteous caring for the environment - but do nothing about it. Taking Quebecers as a prime example:

...front-page story in the Dec. 23 edition of La Presse trumpeted the discovery that the "Planet's fate worries Quebecers." Wow. A recent survey found that Quebecers "remain the most preoccupied about their planet's future in the world." .... Fully 90 per cent of them "are now convinced of the dangers connected with global warming." .... Except the same poll found that a majority (56 per cent) are against any kind of tax increase to help fight climate change. But hey, 58.5 per cent say they wouldn't mind a special tax on SUVs .... you know, the kind of vehicle nasty rich people own. As long as it's some other chump's wallet that's getting hit ...

....a Pollara survey published in the Dec. 4 Maclean's that showed a certain disconnect between saying you're concerned for the environment and being prepared to do anything useful about it. "Quebecers," it said, "were the least willing to cut back on air conditioning or turn down the heat -- only 37 per cent ould. With 62 per cent, Ontario led."

Or take another recent front-page headline, also in La Presse, about a study by Quebec's public health institute showing Quebecers react to well-publicized smog alerts by immediately and determinedly doing ... nothing whatsoever.

As a Vancouver Islander this theme rings familiar to me. Islanders pride themselves greatly on their ecological commitment. But for all their verbal devotion to a clean environment they still cling to some distinctly odd customs. Take burning day in the Greater Victoria area, for example. Most communities set aside days when residents are permitted to burn garden and other waste in their yards. On designated burning days it's not uncommon to see thick, toxic smoke wafting from one yard to the next. Talk about second-hand smoke! Then there's the wood (and other noxious fuel)-burning stove, a favourite heating source on the island. Cough, cough! How quaint! Cough!

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