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It's time to think for yourself

Walk Softly by Geoffrey Carpentier

In my last article (Nobody tells them what to do!), I was discussing the concept of spontaneous order, whereby organisms, over time and through myriad individual actions, develop solutions using a collective pool of information.

Where I left you was, about how we decide what to do to solve an important issue, such as the response to climate change. Should we blindly rely on others to tell us what is the best course of action? I think the answer to the second question is obvious, but the first one is a bit more complex.

I left you with the concept of the politicians around the world telling us the only way to fight climate is to stop doing everything and listen to them. Nonsense!

Frankly, the most productive thing they could do is find realistic, reasonable and attainable solutions which are globally focused.

Years ago, I worked for the government in the environmental abatement field. I also had the good fortune to travel the world, as part of my personal life, so I was able to see first-hand how other countries dealt with environmental issues. I saw rivers of actual raw sewage flowing in India, and have seen innovative solutions in Sopron, Hungary.

I brought an example of a great idea, to share with my “bosses,” back with me, about roadside air pollution monitors, which showed the immediate impact of nitrous and sulphur dioxide at a bus stop, from idling vehicles, at a red light. I suggested, if we had these real-time air pollution monitors, at key intersections in Toronto, the public could see what the impact was in terms they could understand. The response? “No - too controversial; the public doesn’t really need to see the data – we can interpret it for them!”

I wanted to show them, people want facts and understandable terminology they can relate to, and then they will make wiser decisions. I now think much harder when I get in my car to do errands or travel. Best route? Speed? Can I combine tasks? All of us are doing this, yet we get no recognition for doing so.

Years before we started talking about climate change, I had suggested, in my other life as a government worker, we should share our expertise and knowledge with developing countries, so their impacts could be minimized and we (the world) could benefit. Again, the answer, “No, our money is better spent at home.” Now, 20 years later, a few politicians echo my words, saying, it would be better if we helped less developed countries so the world could benefit collectively.

We live in a society where the collective mentality is not generally well informed (mis)information is too easily and readily available, and frankly too many people are telling us how to think and act.

I, for one, prefer to use my own mind to decide what I will do. My recommendation is to do your own research and don’t rely on others to tell you what you must do.

I know this is a bit more political than my usual columns, but it is something I believe in and always have. You decide for yourself!

Geoff Carpentier is a published author, expedition guide and environmental consultant. Visit Geoff on-line on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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