Who are the Consumers?

In The Raintree Rebellion, many people look back with anger and resentment at the ancestors who used up all the resources that should have supported them. They call these people "the consumers."

We are the consumers.

Today, in North America, we are using up the resources of this planet like never before. In fact, if everyone lived as we do, it would take three planets like earth to sustain us. We haven't got two extra planets, so we are already consuming the resources that should sustain future generations.

What does this mean? If this continues, your children and their children may live lives that are very different ours. Access to things we take for granted, like electricity, enough food, education, healthcare, democracy and advanced technology, may be greatly reduced. The worst case scenario is a possible dark age, in which civilization as we know if may disappear for decades, or even centuries.

It doesn't have to be this way. In Europe, people talk about the concept of justice between generations. This is the idea that we must not consume, in our lifetimes, the resources needed to sustain future generations. Everyone has to think about ways to reduce consumption, and how to rely on low-impact sources of energy.

What Can You Do?

Every level of government can do something for the environment. Make environmental issues part of every election. Municipal governments can run recycling programs and increase funding for public transportation. Provincial governments can subsidize hybrid cars and provide access to alternative energy. The national government should take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing air pollution is not enough to stop climate change. Environmental issues are becoming more important to ordinary people. Demand that our elected governments take action. 
To find out about your own environmental footprint, take the Ecological Footprint Quiz.

To find out more about the idea of an ecological footprint and what you can do to make yours smaller, visit the University of British Columbia's Sustainable Consumption and Production page.

If you live in Ontario, switch from your regular energy provider to Bullfrog Power. This will allow you to put your home energy dollars into green sources of energy such as wind power and low-impact hydro. As more people support this kind of initiative, this kind of power will provide more of our energy.

Bullfrog Power also has a page of simple Conservation Tips to reduce power consumption around your home.

For more ideas, you can take David Suzuki's Nature Challenge.

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