A recent column in the Globe & Mail reminded me of our Federal Government’s plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: the One Tonne Challenge.

This campaign challenges each Canadian to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne. The first step is to calculate your emissions and then implement recommendations for reductions. According to the online calculator, Kelly & I combined emit 4.23 tonnes annually. Fortunately, this is below the national average of 5.5 tonnes per person and significantly better than Alberta’s average of 8 tonnes per person. Still, we could do better. However, the suggestions provided aren’t much help. They largely concern implementing energy savings to our home — which we rent and have little control over. Here are the suggestions I could implement:

  • Take a 5-minute shower instead of a bath.
  • Turn off lights when a room is not in use.
  • Use a cold water wash and rinse instead of warm or hot water to wash your clothes.
  • Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs where lights are on for three or more hours at a time.

The website has a variety of good suggestions. The trick is convincing Canadian’s to assume some responsibility for climate change. Monetary incentives seem like the best strategy, but those are not currently under consideration.