Tuesday, June 05, 2018
Home Economics and the Election
If you have been following the Ontario provincial election you'll be aware that environmental issues have been getting little attention. The exception might be criticisms of the soon-to-be-history Liberal government's energy policy, including the much maligned Green Energy Act. It is actually called the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, and it has been around for almost a decade.
The focus of debates has been the economy and making life better for the average person in the province. The Liberals claim that the economy is in great shape and that there have been lots of new jobs. The Conservatives intimate that the province will be open for business once they're in, and that business taxes will come down. To be honest I'm not sure what the NDP is promising in terms of the economy, other than a childcare initiative for working parents.
It's curious because governments don't really create jobs, but they can create the climate for a healthy economy. Economy. Climate. Actually these do go together, even though we don't always make the connection. The words economy and ecology come from the same Greek word, oikos, which means both family and household. There used to be course in most high schools called home economics which was about developing household skills.
Increasingly we are seeing that when the ecological household is in turmoil it has a huge impact on the economy. The Fort McMurray Alberta fire cost about $3.6 billion, right on the doorstep of the giant tarsands project, and it was the most expensive "natural" disaster in Canadian history. Hurricane Harvey cost the US economy $125 billion and hit Houston hard, the home of a large refining industry.
We haven't seen events of this magnitude in Ontario but we are being battered by an increasing number of extreme weather events -- just ask your insurance company when they want to put up your rates again.
There is a famous slogan "it's the economy stupid" which came out of the Bill Clinton presidential campaign years ago. Perhaps politicians of every stripe need to wake up to "it's the home economics stupid" connection between economics and ecology. Actually, the Green party is already there. Of course we'd rather choose between the PC "magic beans" and the NDP "unicorns" that give any credence to the Greens.
Maybe we should all be praying for a green miracle on election day. In the meantime, Happy World Environment Day!
Please take a look at my Groundling blog