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The Future Belongs to Our Children
Or does it?
People Before Profit or Profit Before People?
Do our corporation’s rights now supersede the right for children to
Do corporate interests trump that of mitigating against climate
Lastly - Why does our society as a whole continue to participate in
the pathological self destruction – even at the expense of our
Worldwide Statistics: Eight thousand people a day die from air pollution. There are 3
million annual deaths, worldwide. In Canada toxic emissions from transportation continue
to rise drastically. Vehicles are the primary sources of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide,
particulates and benzene, a carcinogen. In the past 15 years alone, there has been a
fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada. In fact, the Ontario Medical
Association estimated that health care costs caused by poor air quality in 2000 would
amount to nearly $630 million, not to mention the $566 million in costs due to workers
taking sick days. We are in a world wide public health crisis epidemic as a direct result of
air pollution amidst a climate change crisis that threatens human survival on this earth expanding services which promote unnecessary idling for convenience is not only reckless
and irresponsible - it is the absolute opposite direction we need to be taking.
Council of Canadians
Clean Air For Children Campaign
View petition at:
About Us
Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest citizens’ organization,
with members and chapters across the country. We work to protect Canadian
independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy
security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to
We develop creative campaigns to put some of the country’s most important issues into
the spotlight. We work with a network of over 70 volunteer chapters to organize speaking
tours, days of action, conferences and demonstrations. We also produce research
reports, create popular materials, and work with individuals and organizations across the
country and around the world. We do all of this to ensure that governments know the
kind of Canada we want.
The Council does not accept money from corporations or governments, and is sustained
entirely by the volunteer energy and financial assistance of its members.
This Joint Call To Action Is Issued By The Following Organizations
Campbell River, B.C. CoC Chapter
CAPE – Canadian Physicians for the Environment
Clean Air for Children (England)
Coquitlam Greendrinks British Columbia
Deeper Shade of Green - British Columbia
Fanshawe Social Justice Club
Frank de Jong - Leader of Green Party Ontario
Great Lakes United
Greenpeace Canada
London and District Labour Council
London Project for a Participatory Society
London West NDP Riding Association
LOVE - London Organization of Vegetarians for the Environment
M E M E S - Movement of Environmental Minimalists Embracing Sustainability
Maude Barlow - Council of Canadians - National Chairperson
New Westminster B.C. CoC Chapter
Peterborough - Kawarthas CoC Chapter
Post Carbon London
Regina SK CoC Chapter
Surrey, Langley and White Rock CoC Chapter - British Columbia
TREA - Thames Regional Ecological Association
Waste Free World London
Whistler B.C CoC Chapter
Windsor CoC Chapter
The Advisory Committee on the Environment to the City of London also advises the city to
impose a moratorium on new drive-thrus.
“The Council of Canadians supports the London Chapter in its efforts to raise
concerns about the environmental impacts of drive-thru restaurants in the
city. We are encouraged to discover that a number of municipalities across
Canada are either studying the further regulation of, or actually banning
drive-thrus due to environmental considerations. “
Best Wishes,
Maude Barlow
Council of Canadians - National Chairperson
May 21st,2008 - The Canadian Environment Awards today announced the
short list of finalists who will be honoured during its annual celebration of
environmental achievement. The program's top honour, the Citation of
Lifetime Achievement, will be presented to Maude Barlow, who for 25 years
has been a fierce advocate for the rights of Canadians and for Canadian
sovereignty on economic, trade and social issues that have a deep
connection to the environment.
The climate crisis must be our pre-eminent
policy priority.
It's our children’s future at stake - not ours.
March 26th 2008 - A vast hunk of floating ice has broken away from the
Antarctic Peninsula, threatening the collapse of a much larger ice shelf
behind it, in a development that has shocked climate scientists. Satellite
images show that about 160 square miles of the Wilkins ice shelf has been lost
since the end of February, leaving the ice interior now "hanging by a
thread". The collapsing shelf suggests that climate change could be forcing
change much more quickly than scientists had predicted. Six other ice
shelves have already been lost entirely — the Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen
Inlet, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and Jones shelves.
Climate change is too vital an issue to sacrifice to political infighting and
cowardice. It is the greatest challenge facing us all, and there will be
catastrophic economic and social consequences if we fail to act. However –
thus far – we are failing. It can be done and we know the enemy. But where,
on our increasingly fragile earth, is the leadership?
We believe the leadership starts here and now. In the city of London.
We are now witnessing a key moment in the climate change crisis, and it is
alarming news we cannot dismiss. The last time the atmosphere was this
choked with CO2 humans were yet to evolve as a species. To even consider
building new drive-thrus at this juncture in history is an unpardonable
recklessness, but the fast food industry is determined to stumble forward
regardless with its ill-conceived plans in the face of the science and mounting
movement of widespread public opposition.
It’s time to weigh things out:
1-Convenience. Corporate profits.
2-Children’s lives. Future of life as we know it on our planet.
Have you decided yet?
It is unbelievable that at this point in time that this even warrants a discussion.
May 13th 2008 - A US report was released stating that the world carbon dioxide
levels have reached the highest levels ever reached over the last 650,000
years. Scientists say the shift could indicate that the Earth is losing its natural
ability to soak up billions of tonnes of CO2 each year. Martin Parry, co-chair of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's working group on impacts,
said: "Despite all the talk, the situation is getting worse. Levels of greenhouse
gases continue to rise in the atmosphere and the rate of that rise is
accelerating. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change and the
scale of those impacts will also accelerate, until we decide to do something
about it."
The Stern Review showed that scientific evidence of global warming was
"overwhelming" and its consequences "disastrous". Nicholas Stern stated: “We
have the time and knowledge to act but only if we act internationally, strongly
and urgently.”
Our part of this international action needs to be meaningful. What we do as a
municipality is absolutely symbolic to the private sector – we must continually
be on the leading edge of, with the most progressive of policies such as we
are suggesting under our ‘Clean Air for Children’ campaign.
Reports Released At
Unprecedented Rates
The science is overwhelming. Reports such as these two,
below, are being release at unprecedented rates.
New Study Released: April 14th 2008 - The heavily polluted air
of cities is destroying the fresh scents of flowers before they
have had a chance to spread into the surrounding
environment, according to a new study. The discovery could
explain why bees and other pollinating insects are in decline:
the lack of scent means they cannot find the flowers, which
provide the nectar needed for food. In turn this affects the
plants, which are less likely to be fertilized.
New Study Released: April 15th 2008- A Birmingham university
report has identified a 'strong correlation' between deaths by
pneumonia and traffic emissions.
These scientific imperatives are incompatible with the “realities” of “politics as usual”
and “business as usual”. Our conventional mode of politics is short-term, adversarial
and incremental, fearful of deep, quick change and simply incapable of managing
the transition at the necessary speed. The climate crisis will not respond to
incremental modification of the business-as-usual model.
There is an urgent need to re-conceive the issue we face as a sustainability
emergency, that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. The
feasibility of rapid transitions is well established historically. We now need to “think
the unthinkable”, because the sustainability emergency is now not so much a
radical idea as simply an indispensable course of action if we are to return to a safeclimate planet.
Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture
of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping
points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability
emergency, that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We
are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.
5 crucial keys to a safe-climate future
1. Our goal is a safe-climate future – we have no right to bargain
away species or human lives.
2. We are facing rapid warming impacts: the danger is immediate,
not just in the future.
3. For a safe climate future, we must take action now to stop
emissions and to cool the earth.
4. Plan a large-scale transition to a post-carbon economy and
5. Recognize a climate and sustainability emergency, because we
need to move at a pace far beyond business and politics as usual.
A Common Goal of Survival
Our planet is headed towards complete Armageddon – much faster than
scientists previously predicted. Glaciers are melting. Ice shelves are breaking
off. Natural disasters are happening at unprecedented rates. Deaths from
pollution are skyrocketing. What does it even say about our human race, our
society as a whole that we even need to continue in such discussion? There
should be no debate. At this point – we should all be working together in
absolute unity toward a common goal. A common goal of survival. A
common goal of protecting our children at all costs. If we are to survive as a
species – we must reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050. The bottom line is
that this means a bold and comprehensive shift in our energy priorities starting
now. Cutting or emissions by 80% over the next 40 years will not be easy. It is
the greatest challenge we have ever faced. The industry needs to be cutting
emissions by 2% per year to reach this target. Not increasing emissions. Not
defending emissions.
This is nothing less than the responsibility of every person and industry on this
planet and multinational corporations are not exempt. Climate change
leaves no room for apathy, laziness, selfishness or greed.
What have we created? Before 1970 – there were no drivethrus. Today – we make excuse after excuse why it is our
‘right’ to use drive-thrus – in light of the fact that drive-thrus
contribute to children dying, asthma rates soaring (fourfold
over the last fifteen years) and our earths losing ability to take
on any more abuse caused by our C02 emissions.
In Ontario, the number of "smog days" nearly quadrupled from
15 in 1995 to 53 in 2005. If nothing is done to clean the air,
medical experts estimate that by 2026 the number of smogrelated premature deaths in Ontario alone will hit 10,000
annually. The combined health care and lost productivity
costs are expected to exceed $1 billion. Pollution is a
particularly serious issue for London, Ontario, the city with the
province's second highest number of smog days after
Toronto. London has had 3 smog days already this year - all
before the month of May.
We have reached a pivotal point. This is now a matter of life or
death. The statistics regarding children’s health are staggering. We
now know we have perhaps well reached the tipping point in
regards to climate change – we can no longer bend and sacrifice to
appease corporate interests at the expense of our children. To do so
– would be nothing less than a crime against future generations.
This is where we start to re-design the way we think and live. This is
where we take back our cities. This is where we take back control of
our lives. This is where we start.
The Role of Cities
The battle against climate change will be won or lost in cities. The role of
provincial and federal governments is, of course, widely debated, analyzed
and understood. Yet the challenge is so huge that cross-cutting action at all
levels will be needed. The central role of city leaders in our rapidly urbanizing
world will be key to reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The
leaders of large cities have a particular responsibility to act, and governments
must empower and enable city governments to take on this role.
If global efforts to address climate change are to be successful, they will need
to integrate city requirements and environmental management capacities.
Only with a coordinated approach and actions at the global, regional,
national and local levels can success be achieved. Many cities are now
taking the initiative to reduce their impact on the global climate.
By 2030, two-thirds of humanity will live in cities or urban areas. Half already
do. Even now, cities consume 75 per cent of the world’s energy and are
responsible for 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, all cities are
highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and none more so than
fast growing cities in developing countries. About 20 of the 30 largest cities of
the world are situated on low lying coasts. Rising sea levels of a few metres
would have catastrophic implications. So there’s an extraordinary
responsibility and motivation for cities to act. It is at city level that innovation
and progress on climate change action is most likely to be achieved.
Mayors and their municipalities have the powers and levers to
reduce carbon emissions. They control the development of
land, have housing powers, regulate transport and often
manage public transport systems. They have varying degrees
of responsibility for the collection and processing of waste and
have responsibility for other environmental infrastructure such
as energy and water. They own and manage buildings and
vehicle fleets. Significantly, they have huge purchasing power.
They are able to form partnerships with private interests as well
as mobilizing and coordinating community action.
[ (go
to this link – click – view interview – Nicky Gavron - Energy
Week: The Covenant of Mayors]
Although leadership from provincial and federal governments is
crucial in negotiating international agreements, setting frameworks
and standards and for providing fiscal and financial incentives,
when it comes to practical action on the ground, city leadership
must take centre stage. Mayors and elected officials have
responsibilities in areas key to taking swift action to reduce
emissions, and can show leadership in taking decisive and radical
action. It is at city level that innovation and progress on pollution
and thus climate change is most likely to be achieved.
A Call for an Immediate
Moratorium on New Drive-thrus
Although our 'Clean Air for Children' campaign is a three part initiative (with
more to come in the near future) – the call for a moratorium continues to be
the most ‘controversial’ part of the campaign.
With 150 drive-thrus currently in existence in London alone – one would not
think this would be an issue.
However – the industry has united a forefront to fight such a moratorium. The
industry continues to choose corporate profits over children’s lives and the
future of our planet as we know it.
Drive-thru Proliferation
It would be wonderful if multinational corporations would place our
children, even people in general, before their profits. However – this
is not about to happen. Corporations are legally bound to show
profits to their shareholders first and foremost. This is at any
cost. There are no boundaries. There are no ethical or moral
considerations. The costs of doing drive-thru business are almost
completely externalized. If one had to pay the true cost of a cup of a
coffee at a drive-thru window – one can only imagine the exorbitant
price. However – we do pay. We pay with the continued detriment to
our planet, we pay the ever escalating costs to a healthcare system
in crisis, and ultimately, we are paying with that of our children’s
lives. If one can understand corporate greed – then one can you
begin to understand why drive-thrus are so enticing to fast food
chains with plans to expand and double their drive-thrus over the
next five years. This is the exact opposite direction of where we – as a
society should be going. Sixty percent of the 129 billion dollar per
year industry takes place at the drive-thru window. China has now
introduced drive-thrus. It is considered a status symbol to sit in a
vehicle and idle in a drive-thru in China where emissions have begun
to absolutely soar. Plans to expand drive-thrus in China and
throughout Asia have only just begun.
From the TDL Group (Tim Horton’s): Tim Horton's is Licensed by TDL Group Ltd
which is owned by Wendy's International which a U.S. company.
The RWDI study would have us believe that customers are being more
environmental by sitting in a drive-thru and idling than they are to park and
walk in. In this study its conclusion states “Overall, the findings for Tim Horton’s
stores examined in this study indicate no air quality benefit to the public by
eliminating drive-thrus”. The report states that the Tim Horton locations without
drive-thrus produce more emissions than the stores with drive-thrus.
How can this be?
The report claims that the clients who are parking and walking in – are on site
for an average 7-8 minutes. In the most bizarre twist – it is stated that most of
the additional time was a result of vehicles idling while waiting for a parking
space because the lot was congested.
From the study: The emission inventory for the drive-thru portion of the facility
was compared to “everyday” emission sources (i.e. lawn mowers, snow
blowers etc.)
Now – just an fyi – if you didn’t know this already – push lawn mowers produce
approx. 11 times the emissions than that of a car – riding lawn mowers
produce approx. 34 times the emissions than that of a car. (Source- EPA) Also according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the typical two-cycle
snow blower can expel nearly a pound of carbon monoxide for every hour it
runs. One wonders who considers lawn mowers, snow blowers (and
incidentally leaf blowers – see below) to “‘everyday” emission sources.
They compare combined emissions of all vehicles using a drive-thru in one
peak hour (137 vehicles times idling 3 to 4.5 minutes each) to that of a single
chain saw operating for one hour. Just another fyi – the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency estimates that operating a chainsaw for one hour
produces the same amount of exhaust emissions as driving an automobile for
1,000 kilometers.
We find the RWDI report selective, manipulative and in some respects merely
makes the case for why drive thrus generate a greater burden upon climate
change and air quality, even though the report’s conclusions suggest
The focus seems to be on the morning peak rush hour, using a Tim Horton’s
restaurant on Bank Street in Ottawa as the “control” example of emissions
from a non drive-thru facility. The report concludes that drive-thru emissions
are lower relative to the non drive-thru restaurant. Yes this is true, but only for
the one hour that the study focuses upon. The report states quite clearly that
in a restaurant where there is ample parking the GHG emissions are less than
1/3 for someone parking their vehicle compared to using the drive thru. By
extension one has to ask the question what would be the emissions profile
during non-peak hours, and what would be the emissions profile at a
restaurant that had ample parking. Their individual vehicle statistic suggests
that the overall emission profile (over the entire day) will be higher from
restaurants that have drive-thrus compared to 1. a drive-thru restaurant with
ample parking; 2. possibly a restaurant without a drive-thru with limited
If you accept their logic that drive-thrus generate less GHGs during the peak
morning rush hour than a congested sit-down only restaurant as justification
for drive-thrus, at best that would be a justification for operating the drive thru
window during the morning rush hour ONLY at restaurants that have limited
parking. At restaurants where there is ample parking, the stats clearly
demonstrate that drive-thrus are a contributor of greater GHGs… by
extension, Tim Horton’s should be closing down all of their drive thru windows
where this situation exits.
You can’t have it both ways.
It is interesting to note that in a CBC investigation produced on May
28th, 2007, journalists documented 113 cars going thru the drive-thru
in one hour in a Winnipeg Tim Horton’s drive-thru. The average drivethru wait per vehicle was 5 min. 15 sec. Natural Resources Canada
estimates these cars produced 290 grams of CO2 each which means
that in one hour, this one drive-thru generated 35 KG (77 pounds) of
carbon dioxide. The senior vice-president of Tim Horton’s is
interviewed on the investigation and he states: “We prefer education
as does others in the industry verses punitive measures be it a bylaw
or fines”.
For a consulting firm with sustainable design listed as a service – one
would think that they could develop a suitable parking lot for Tim
Horton’s customers so they would no longer have to be on their site
for 7-8 minutes spending the majority of this time driving while looking
a space to park (according to their report). This is clearly a planning
issue and should be recognized as such. Further stress on our
children and our earth itself should not be tolerated only because Tim
Horton’s chooses to focus on profitable drive-thru service rather than
adequate parking.
From the University of Calgary:
Estimated statistics (May 2007) from the University of Calgary found
Edmonton drive-thrus contribute an estimated 25 tons of greenhouse
gas emissions into the atmosphere per day. (Enough to fill over 12
NHL hockey rinks per day) Over a year, this could represent up to
9,000 tons. Using a total of 115 cities with same population and the
same amount of drive-thrus, this could generate a total of I MILLION
TONS in a year, and this is just for larger cities in Canada.
Now – How many trees to do we need to plant in order to offset 1
million tons of carbon in one year? 277 million trees. Even if this was
possible – should we not be planting trees to offset something we
actually need to live? Perhaps heat that we need to survive in the
winter months? Is the industry going to plant these trees
annually? We don’t think so.
Does your head hurt yet? Is anyone enraged yet? Do we need a
reality check?
Perhaps in addition to industry gifting our children with ‘happy’ meals
and summer camp, perhaps fast food chains can start supplying
puffers to children with Asthma.
When our children and grandchildren someday, (coming soon) ask
us why we did not immediately cease all unnecessary forms of C02
emissions to mitigate against climate change – when we knew full
well the consequences - what are we going to say? “I’m sorry
sweetheart – society really couldn’t give up the luxury of the drivethru – that was just too much to ask. I’m sorry we destroyed your
chances for a future on the planet, but it was just more sacrifice than
one could be expected to endure.”
What a legacy.
Our eco footprint is more than four times larger than what is
sustainable. We still want more? If there is to be a future on this
planet - we need to re-design our lives to live using 80% less. We
don’t have to sacrifice our quality of life to combat climate change,
however, we do need to change the way we live. And simple, is
more often than not, beautiful.
The industry states local jobs will be lost. Is this a viable
argument? Red Roaster seems to be doing well in London. There are
cafes and restaurants across Canada – with no drive-thrus - all doing
well. Speaking of fast food industry employment - health for most
minimum wage fast food employees working a drive-thru window
does not seem to be a very high priority. Does anyone recall second
hand smoke? Let’s consider first hand vehicle exhaust. With no paid
health benefits for the majority of employees in the fast food industry
their health seems completely irrelevant and disregarded. Please
note the industry is now testing and are already implementing
outsourcing your drive-thru order. The next time you press an
intercom at a drive-thru – you may be speaking to someone in
India. Hmmm. What happened to keeping the jobs local? Fast food
multinationals who make billions in profits continue to pay their hard
working employees anything more than poverty wages. And even
this is considered too high. Why pay minimum wage in North
America when you can exploit someone in India?
The London and District Labour Council has endorsed our
campaign including the moratorium on drive-thrus.
The Future of ‘Fast Food’
Is it possible that a progressive marketing strategy from a fast food chain will
be announced? Is there any retailer with a drive-thru that will step up to the
plate and close their drive-thru? Perhaps replace the drive-thrus with trees
and a lush garden that would serve as an outdoor café. Is any establishment
with a drive-thru willing to demonstrate to the world that the health of our
children and the future existence of life on our planet supersedes drive-thru
profits? Is it possible a marketing strategy could embrace a concept
recognizing the fact that people would be most loyal to a retailer whose
priorities were the clients themselves? We are quickly approaching the end of
the cheap fossil fuel era. Is this not completely irresponsible to waste
diminishing fossil fuels in this manner? Drive-thrus are not sustainable and
eventually they will go - whether we want them or not. The first retailer that
recognizes this simple fact is the retailer who will take the lead in the industry
by creating the positive change necessary by way of a new model. A new
model and a new way of thinking will be required for any kind of long term
future in the fast food industry. Imagine if you were mobility impaired, and you
parked at a designated space at a restaurant formerly enslaved by a drivethru. You would speak into an intercom. Out would come a real live person
with your order (perhaps even some day with real live food). I think I
remember something like this happened in the not so distant past. It was
called a drive-in. The competitor to re-introduce the drive-in, with ‘real’ or at
minimum, biodegradable dishes and cutlery, serving fair trade, organic food –
all powered by renewable, green energy – the first one smart enough and fast
enough to do this - will win.
Health Impacts on our Children
Children are the most vulnerable in our society. Children also breathe 50 percent more
air per pound than adults. It is the responsibility of every adult citizen on our global planet
to take every precaution to protect our children and mitigate against climate
change. Just as all children must have the right to clean drinking water, all children must
have the right to breathe clean air.
At a press conference to launch UNICEF’s new publication, Climate Change and
Children, she said climate change was often viewed in terms of its dramatic, obvious
manifestations, such as the increase in the number of natural disasters and extremes in
temperature. But the overlooked “quiet impact” often hit children even harder, as with
the effects of desertification, water scarcity and the abandonment of land that could no
longer sustain families. That led to children missing school because they had to long walk
distances in search of water or shivering from malaria in the cold.
As usual, she said, poor people paid the highest price because they lived in the areas
most at risk from climate change, and among the poor, children suffered the most,
paying with their health, their development and often with their lives. “So climate
change is not just an environmental issue. It is an economic, social and human issue,” she
emphasized. Each year more than 3 million children under the age of five died from
environmentally linked diseases, including diarrhoeal ailments linked to water
accessibility, respiratory illnesses and malaria, which thrived on heat and humidity to kill a
million people each year, 80 per cent of whom were children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the number of children dying from
asthma each year could increase by 20 per cent by 2016 if urgent action was not taken
to reduce emissions from vehicles and factories.
The UNICEF delegation’s message to Government leaders in Bali was that actions taken
to protect the environment would directly impact on the rights of children.
A Message from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health
An epidemic of overweight and obesity is threatening Ontario’s health. I am alarmed to
report that, in 2003, almost one out of every two adults in Ontario was overweight or
obese. Between, 1981 and 1996, the number of obese children in Canada between the
ages of seven and 13 tripled. This is contributing to a dramatic rise in illnesses such as type
2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and some cancers.
Why this epidemic? In part, it is caused by our genes or our lack of willpower. Yet, in the
21st century, our environments increasingly are responsible for tipping us into overweight
and obesity.
We are now living in ’obesogenic‘ environments, communities, workplaces, schools and
homes that actually promote or encourage obesity :
many young people do not have the opportunity to be physically active every day and
are surrounded by ads promoting soft drinks and snack foods
more adults work in sedentary jobs and drive long distances to work
’super-sized‘ food portions are the norm
more communities lack sidewalks, park space, bike lanes and recreation programs
more people do not have enough income to make healthy food choices
As a society we have lost the balance between the energy we take in and the energy
we expend, which is key to a healthy weight. Just when Ontarians are faced with more
food choices, more processed foods, and larger food portions, we have engineered
physical activity out of our lives, replacing it with remote controls, computers and video
A Message from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health cont’d-
We have made our generation the most sedentary in history.
In this report, I set out a plan to promote healthy weights in Ontario. The goal is to help all
Ontarians understand the factors that affect their weight and find the right balance
between the food they eat (energy in) and how physically active they are (energy out),
and to create environments – day care centres, schools, worksites, recreation centres,
communities – that promote physical activity and healthy eating.
The province’s health system is committed to reversing the trend to overweight and
obesity, but it cannot solve the problem on its own. Because physical, social, cultural and
environmental factors have such a strong influence on weight, Ontario needs a broad,
multi-sectoral, community-wide response to this epidemic.
I call on all levels of government, the health sector, the food industries, work places,
schools, families and individuals to become part of a comprehensive province-wide effort
to change all the factors that contribute to unhealthy weight. We must act now to create
communities that promote healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Healthy weights mean healthy lives.
Idling Kills
There are now more refugees displaced by climate change environmental
disasters than there are refugees displaced by war. People with families – just
like us. It is sad to know that the people who did little to contribute to climate
change are the very ones suffering the most. The poor choices we continue
to make are killing other people. Other species. Each and every minute. Are
we so entitled that we cannot see beyond our own wants? Not even when it
comes to the health of our own children? Does this not go directly against the
most natural instinct in every woman and man? The natural instinct to protect
your child at any and every sacrifice? The damage to our children’s lungs
goes largely unnoticed. We don’t see our children’s lungs each morning at
the breakfast table. Toronto's medical officer has released a report stating a
30% reduction in vehicle emissions could save 200 lives, one billion dollars a
year in health care costs and 68,000 asthma attacks for children a year. If we
had 68,000 children dying a year from leukemia – it would be nothing less
than that of a crisis. One must wonder why there is such apathy towards these
numbers when pollution is something we can clearly defeat. The selfish
excuse to use drive-thrus because you have children is the poorest excuse
when it is ultimately our children’s lives, by way of their health and their future
that we are destroying. If we love our children – surely we can do something
as simple as stop idling wherever possible. Whether it is at a railway tracks,
waiting at the school or at a drive-thru – the end result is the same. Idling kills.
Natural Resources Canada clearly states: If your car is stopped for more than
ten seconds – turn off your engine.
The well being of our citizens is the City of London’s mandate. Quote – Vision
London – London, The Forest City: We are a caring, responsive community
committed to the health and well-being of all Londoners. The actions we take will
be socially, environmentally, and fiscally responsible so that out quality of life is
enhanced and sustained for future generations. Our people, heritage, diverse
economy, strategic location, land and recourses are our strength. – Based on this
vision in conjunction with the Stern Report, the city of London must, with urgency,
impose a moratorium on all new commercial drive-through operations and
establish a timetable to phase out all existing drive-through operations through
zoning or other by-laws.
Ultimately – the decision of a moratorium on drive-thrus lies with us. It lies with you.
It’s that simple. We can continue to support them – or we can choose to unite
and send a clear message that corporate profits and convenience will no longer
be tolerated by our society at the expense of our children’s health and our
children’s future in a world we have so quickly destroyed.
This is your choice. The choice is clear. This is your legacy.
Social Aspects - Community
So do we choose to protect and keep non essential items such as drive-thrus
or do we choose to re-design our planet in which future generation can
live? The benefits are immense – environmental health, physical
health. People stepping out of their cars symbolize people re-engaging in
community. Such a culture shift is a step to encourage people to slow down,
walk or bike, and to ride mass transit. Slowing down is necessary in this fastpaced culture. We must organize and embrace a resistance to the
momentum of running. If we learn how to slow down and nourish ourselves,
we can pay more attention to living sustainably and mindfully in our
communities. Many of today’s problems are rooted in efficiency and
convenience; we zoom from place to place without slowing down to enjoy
the simple joys around us. Sustainable yet slower modes of transportation like
walking and biking, getting us out of our cars and help us to do that. This gives
us the clarity and mindfulness to recognize things as they are. When you are
mindful, you recognize what is going on, what is happening in the here and
now. Without mindfulness we make and spend our money in ways that
destroys us and other people. We use our wealth in such a way that we
destroy ourselves and other people.
The Bottom Line
There is one basic issue here. That is the basic reality that drive
thrus are wrong. Simple. End of discussion. The main issue is
that there are going to be many more issues that will have to
be tackled – issues that are not nearly as clear cut and
simple. So drive thrus have to go. If we cannot sacrifice a
convenience such as drive-thrus in order to secure the
possibility of life on this planet for our children – then how can
we ever hope to make the hard choices, the hard decisions
that we will have to make in order to save our species. We do
not need the industry’s science. Because we share an
environment, that does not mean we have to share the
industry’s obtuse ideas on economics and environment.
In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is
called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a
higher moral ground.
A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each
other. --- That time is now.
-Dr. Wangari Maathai, Kenya's "Green Militant" and winner of
Nobel Peace Prize, 2004
Change begets Change…
If we are strong enough, brave enough to do what is right we
will set an example for other cities. If enough other cities each
care enough, each one influencing yet another in a chain
reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of
green products and alternative technologies will prosper and
expand. Consciousness will be raised, perhaps even changed:
new moral imperatives and new taboos might take root in the
culture. Driving an S.U.V. or eating a 24-ounce steak or
illuminating your McMansion like an airport runway at night
might come to be regarded as outrages to human
conscience. Not having things might become cooler than
having them. And those who did change the way they live
would acquire the moral standing to demand changes in
behavior from others - from other people, other corporations,
even other countries.
The Great Law of the Iroquois states, “In our every deliberation,
we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next
seven generations.”
We believe that the time has come to embrace such sound
On behalf of our children, your children and children all over
our small planet - thank you for your time and consideration.
Council of Canadians