Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Really New Green Plan

The Canadian government has rolled out its new green plan for the environment but already the critics are saying it’s not enough. Everyone from Al Gore to David Suzuki has chastised Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird for avoiding the tough choices.

However, if the Canadian government started thinking outside the box, there’s a solution that can help solve not only our environmental dilemma but also society’s other major problem namely, what to do about our growing population of seniors.

The simple solution is staring us right in the face. All we have to do is eliminate entitlement programs and public healthcare for those over 65.

Those who can afford to retire and cover their own medical expenses would, of course, still be free to do so. Everyone else would still have a choice: keep on working or "go green" one last time.

This is a win-win-win situation. There’ll be lots more money to fight global warming. The government won’t have to fund all those wasteful entitlement programs. And finally, those seniors who decide to "go green" will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

After all, one of the major sources of CO2 is us. Every day each of us exhales significant amounts of carbon dioxide. So with millions of seniors voluntarily (or involuntarily) opting out, our total annual CO2 emissions will be reduced by millions of tons.

And departing seniors can also help the environment in other ways. Instead of taking up valuable land in traditional cemeteries, they can choose to assist in municipal composting programs perhaps through an additional bi-weekly curbside pickup.

Or for those who prefer cremation, participation in their local waste incineration program can make a big difference in efficient energy use. It is estimated that a fully-funded seniors’ incineration program could generate enough electricity to light the homes of 300,000 residents.

"Going green" for seniors can be their way of giving back to the planet. Given their environmentally wasteful lifestyles over the last 65 or more years, it only seems right that they make the ultimate sacrifice to allow their children to continue living and consuming to excess.

We’re all worried about the health of our planet but not all of us can afford to do something about it now. If seniors were to not just reduce their carbon footprints but eliminate them entirely, the rest of us could continue living the comfortable life we have come to expect as our birthright. But we can’t delay any longer in implementing such a plan. Time is of the essence. In fact, if we start right now, I’m guessing by the time I reach 65, it won’t even be necessary any more.

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