For Municipal Councillors
Municipalities in Ontario have the legal authority to require gasoline retailers to put warning labels on gas pumps similar to those found on cigarette packages. Municipalities are able to do this under the authority of their licensing powers and general health and welfare powers found in the Municipal Act.
We are releasing our legal research for Ontario on July 25, 2013 and will be securing opinions like this for jurisdictions across Canada.
A simple sticker
The warning label connects behaviour with its consequence right at the point of purchase. Its placement on the nozzle takes a problem of diffuse origins and locates responsibility right in the palm of your hand. The label itself takes far away consequences – like famine, the extinction of species and extreme weather – and brings them into the here and now. The concept also internalizes cost in a qualitative way; it communicates information to the marketplace in a way that a 10-cent increase at the pump never will. Finally, the label is mirror: it is about acknowledging the role we each play in contributing to climate change and bravely facing up to the challenge.
At our current rate of emissions, we have less than 16 years left to avoid catastrophe. We’re running out of time. We need something to shake us out of our sense of complacency – and this is it. It’s time we face our greatest challenge.
Councillors stand on guard for earth
Passing this by-law will create a global precedent. When it happens, it will make international headlines and the concept will quickly spread from there. Historians will one day point to a handful of brave Canadian representatives that forever changed the course of human history.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the people in government today will determine the fate of our earth. The entrenched interests across the political spectrum at senior levels of government make it virtually impossible to meaningfully address climate change – so we’re counting on independent representatives from communities across Canada to stand on guard for our earth.
If you are a municipal representative, the planet now desperately needs you to be bold.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead