As the Trudeau government has signed a flurry of free trade deals around the world, one thing that could become all the more visible on Canadian soil is carbon emissions — and the fact that Canada may be putting itself at a higher risk of danger by more closely embracing a fossil fuel-dependent economy. That’s not to say Canadian schools are not doing their part to reduce carbon emissions, but in the province of Ontario, an earlier policy from a while back gave support for students affected by pollution to fund legal challenges to fossil fuel companies, which then began to threaten emission limits for the Ontario industry in general.
The cause for the province to change direction, of course, is the horrific discovery this week of a 12-year-old boy in Kingston who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from hot water, school meals that were overcooked, and lead piping in a tank that was both sitting in a backyard and within a school. (At the same time, Ontario’s Liberal government has rolled back some of the rules regulating the schools and its cooking practices, something that critics of the provincial government say shows a lack of values by both the Liberals and the Conservatives). The province, with more schools than any other, has accounted for 5,911 carbon monoxide incidents since the start of the school year.
Now as the province’s economy continues to embrace fossil fuels and the popularity of a new Netflix series, “Chef’s Table,” has proved to Canadians to be quite a bit of fun, as well as very lucrative (Forbes reports that 12-to-19-year-olds tend to own highly mechanized home kitchens and use products and materials that have been featured in the series), schools in Ontario are now being targeted for protest against higher carbon emission standards. Here’s the Toronto Star:
Ontario, a province with 10 million people and a growing economy, is fast becoming the battleground for an issue that pits the premier, the federal government and big oil companies against environmental activists and people concerned about toxic gas released into the atmosphere as schools heat boilers. If changes to legislation proposed last week don’t pass, the issue could easily take on new dimensions, from environmental education, to possible legal actions by parents, to school closures.
As something of a forest fire itself, TSN’s Drive was able to create this graphic representation of just how many schools could be at risk, if the government does end up easing emission standards in the province: