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EDITORIAL: Addressing climate change will take a collective mindset

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
 
An infamous quote from Albert Einstein, and though he wasn’t talking about climate change, it’s hard not to see how this phrase bears true as we grow collectively more distant from global climate goals. 
 
Indeed, extreme-weather events are already growing more prevalent throughout the world. Overseas, the UK experienced record-breaking heat. Floods, fires, incredibly intense storms, and resulting deaths across the globe permeate headlines with increasing regularity. 
  
Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show it is not too late to act to reduce emissions and mitigate some of these deadly climate impacts. However, these changes must happen quickly, and cannot be achieved without a concerted effort from government and the rest of us. 
 
Emissions, however, don’t recognize political borders. The world has huge challenges before it. China alone has over 1,000 coal-fired power plants. Common sense dictates weaning China and a plethora of other countries off this form of energy would be a significant step to reducing emissions. Canada is well positioned to provide the world with cleaner-burning natural gas as one step towards a greener future.
  
On the local level, the City of St. Albert released its 2021 environment report card last May, which showed that the city failed to meet its greenhouse-gas emissions target of six per cent below 2008 levels — instead currently sitting at three per cent above these levels.    
 
One of the biggest culprits behind most of St. Albert’s community emissions is transportation. The city plans to foster wider uptake in electric-car purchase and use through four new electric-car charge points, though it is unclear whether the public sphere is the best arena for EV advancement when private industry is already making headway.  
 
An improved transit system is a critical element if the city wants to get serious about addressing climate impacts.
 
Unfortunately, the city’s approach to transit has gone the opposite way, with council replacing fixed-route service with its on-demand counterpart on Saturdays during last year’s budget deliberations, despite persistent issues highlighted by riders. 
 
As the city pursues an amalgamated transit system with its regional partners, how this changeover will impact local service remains to be seen. 
 
A thriving local transit system is only one component of a comprehensive approach to climate justice, but it is emblematic of a wider truth — collective solutions will be more efficient and impactful than those centering individual consumer choices.

Accepting this truth will take a concerted effort to shift our mindset in many areas of our life, from addressing the prevalence of over-consumption as a cultural marker of status, to feelings of individual powerlessness to make a difference in combating a warming planet. 
 
After all, we are many who stand together with the shared goal of preserving the earth for both ourselves, and future generations.   
 
We are not alone, but rather several whom dearly value this planet and life within it; coming together can make all the difference. 

Editorials are the consensus view of the St. Albert Gazette’s editorial board.