"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau



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Three Months to Live

By David Dawson

What would you do if your doctor told you that you had three months to live? You would probably put your affairs in order, make sure your Will was up-to-date, go for a holiday and especially spend time with family and friends. But what if the doctor said you had six months to live? Would you dilly-dally for the first three months just in case there was a magic cure, and then do much the same as the first scenario? But what if the doctor said you had one year? or ten years? As long as you could live reasonably comfortably you likely wouldn’t do anything special until the last three months, and I expect almost everyone would be the same.

It seems to me we humans are, by and large, hard-wired not to take action in these sort of circumstances until the anticipated event is almost upon us. And that behavior is reinforced by school homework assignments where there is frequently a frantic rush to get the work done on Sunday evening. Oceans are predicted to rise significantly as the climate warms up with much of low-lying Florida ending up totally flooded. The science is there yet people are still building houses close to the ocean. Politicians only seem able to plan ahead for a maximum of three or four years (if that) because of the four-year election cycle, and even then they are more concerned about getting re-elected than making unpopular, yet necessary decisions. We have known about the changing climate for many years and we are now, using the examples above, effectively in the last three months of survival, yet the politicians are still arguing about what to do.

Now, here’s an interesting irony that you may not have noticed. Generally small ‘c’ conservatives are opposed to abortion and doctor-assisted death, yet those same small ‘c’ conservatives make up a large part of the large ‘c’ Conservative party, who, with their intransigence in matters environmental are likely to kill us all. The Conservative party has promised to cancel the gas tax if they are elected, which is purely a vote-catching gimmick. You will notice they haven’t said what climate-fighting measure they will introduce to replace the gas tax. Probably nothing. Votes and power, it seems, are more important than the climate.

You will also have heard that the Manitoba Conservative Government is challenging the gas tax in court saying they have a Green Plan for Manitoba. Have you actually read the Green Plan? I have, and I can say it is pathetic. It is full of ‘ifs’, ‘coulds’ and ‘maybes’. Nothing concrete at all. Nothing saying we will do this and we will do that. Frankly, in my opinion we need a gas tax of at least $1/litre. Just look at the cars travelling along highways anywhere. Most have one only person, especially at peak commuter hours. A $1 gas tax would surely force people to change their driving habits, with car pooling, working from home, cycling, getting an electric car or going out more thoughtfully. Even walking – wow! Desperate times need desperate actions.

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