Last Sunday while out for a walk around the legislative assembly grounds, I picked up four plastic doggy bags in 15 minutes, some empty and others that were not.
When I went to throw the used ones away, I noticed the bins were full of plastic doggy bags all destined for the landfill where they will remain intact for decades if the planet lasts that long.
I have been walking dogs in Yellowknife for some time and finding many garbage bins overflowing with these doggy bags yet single-use-plastic is one of the substances that pose the greatest threat to our planet. My question is, why is the city not encouraging people to use, at the very least, compostable bags to collect this waste since those will not destroy our environment, or opening more enclosed dog walking areas where waste can be picked up by shovel and easily and safely disposed of. This is not a huge transition yet the benefits to our environment are. It is one step of many to wean the public off destructive single use plastic items.
We are now in the midst of climate change and scientists are giving us 11 years before we move into a full scale climate change disaster. We are already experiencing floods, fires, extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations and who knows what the immediate future holds if we do not take action now.
We are also being told that Canada will experience the affects of climate change twice as dramatically as the rest of the world and the North will experience impacts double those experienced by the rest of the country because of the sensitivity of the area in which we live. Some in the political arena, in fact, who are attempting to mitigate the impacts of climate change consider this a war in which we are, quite literally, fighting for our very survival. Carrying on with the business as usual approach does not cut it. We need to make a concerted effort to pursue safe practices to show residents in the territories and the rest of Canada that Yellowknife is serious about tackling climate change.
This is Earth Week and an action such as this ban by the city, for example, of either banning plastic doggy bags, offering compostable ones or providing additional dog walking areas where waste could be easily contained and collected would show that we are serious. This could be the first of many important steps to come.
The days of the nice guy approach or leaving it to someone else are over. It is time to take off our gloves and get down to business. It is late in the game but we can do this.