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Letters, week of Dec. 3

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Bad driving, let me count the ways

Sir: Infractions I’ve witnessed:

Improper lane change resulting in a collision, powering through a yellow light, failing to stop for a red light, failing to stop for a stop sign, not signalling a lane change, a U-turn where U-turns are prohibited, cyclists using the sidewalk, driving the wrong way on a one way street, failing to stop for an emergency vehicle, cyclists running red lights, cyclists not using lights at night, speeding*, and—of course—distracted driving.

I didn’t mention tailgating, but only barbarians would engage in such stupidity. Sarnia is a civil place, right?

Anyway, that’s just what I’ve seen. I’m not here to preach. Heck, I probably sped a little bit myself this morning.

The point is: we can pretend these things don’t happen, but they do. With the holidays fast approaching, and everyone seemingly in a godforsaken rush to be across town 10 minutes ago, be aware that other motorists will be doing lots of dumb things around you.

I have a hunch that maybe if you’re on the lookout for dumb stuff you’ll be less likely to do it yourself. That’s a good first step. For your second, consider that inside the cars around you are lives as valuable and complex as your own, and that maybe driving—no matter how fun it can be—is most often just filler in our lives.

Driving happens from point to point; it’s EnRoute, it’s in between, and neither here nor there. I don’t know much, but I’m sure that ending up on a road would be a terrible way to go.

Your fellow motorist,

Michael Banovsky

Sarnia

* Are city streets 70 km/h now? If so, when are the new signs arriving?

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Paris climate talks critical

Sir: Ironically, it was 50 years ago in 1965 that the President’s Science Advisory Committee presented a report to President Lyndon Johnson which included a warning that increased CO2 emissions would lead to what we now refer to as global warming.

The Science Advisory Committee was disbanded by President Nixon in 1972, and this warning was assigned to the shelf, where it has sat, largely forgotten. Thanks to documents released in court, we now know that, like the tobacco companies before them, coal and oil companies understood the reality of climate change decades ago, but publically denied it in order to continue selling their products.

With an average atmospheric concentration of around 400 ppm, we are rapidly running out of time. Although we also need to curtail methane and nitrous oxide emissions, CO2 is our major cause for concern.

400 ppm means that we already have just over 2 trillion tonnes of CO2 in our atmosphere. We simply don’t know how far we can allow things to go before catastrophic damage occurs, but the higher we let it go, the higher the probability of a runaway reaction.

The scientific consensus seems to be that we should not go above 450 ppm, and even then we should later aim to remove CO2 from the atmosphere somehow and bring it back down to around 350 ppm.

Applying a 450 ppm upper limit means that we can only afford to put a maximum of another 500 billion tonnes (bt) of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Annual emissions now exceed 35 bt/year, fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the creatures of the oceans, about half of our emissions get absorbed into the ocean (making the oceans more acidic) and a little gets absorbed into the soil and foliage. Even so, on our present trajectory we will reach the 450ppm cap in less than 15 years, and anything we emit after that will just make things even worse.

Our leaders have failed us for the last 50 years. This really is our last opportunity and we cannot let them fail again.

We need a real plan and agreement in Paris this month.

Peter R. Smith

Bright’s Grove

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Wynne smart, but foolish

Sir: In her Nov. 19 letter to the editor Rosanne Orcutt refers to our MP’s use of the terms “economic train wreck” and “stupid one” to describe Ontario as confrontational and caustic.

While agreeing with the tone of her letter, I wondered what words can be used to describe the present situation in Ontario.

I think the term “economic train wreck” is rather generous, yet the term “stupid one” in referring to Ontario could be modified, but to what?

What words describe driving industry out of Ontario by taxes, fees and high electricity rates?

What word would describe an economic policy that has got Ontario to province #10?

What word describes the closing of power plants that only had impact on hydro rates, and that in the upward direction?

What word describes the forcing of wind turbines on unwilling communities and whose only impact was giving Ontario environmental eyesores and higher electricity rates?

What word would describe a person who maxes out his credit cards until the biggest piece of his budget pie needed to be dedicated to paying only the interest on his debt?

The word could be stupid, but a better word is foolish. Why should it be different in a governmental situation?

I believe Wynne is smart, very smart.

However, when one is as left liberal as she is, your agenda is driven by your ideology, not by your smarts.

An ideology that got Ontario to where it is, has given us in the last decade the two worst premiers in its history, and increased our taxes and fees exponentially.

And I call that foolish.

The smartest, most caring and unifying thing Wynne could do for Ontario is resign, call an election and disappear into the woodwork like McGuinty has. Or she could, as has be suggested by a fellow liberal who lost confidence in her, sit on her hands until her term is done.

Bob Thiessen

Sarnia

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IODE thanks supporters

Sir: The annual IODE Christmas Home Tour was a great success and we thank everyone for their support.

Our mandate is to use local retailers and businesses to showcase their services and products to Sarnia-Lambton consumers, and we are deeply indebted to all the merchants, businesses, non-profits and volunteers who helped out.

Their partnership with IODE and their generosity has enabled us to raise money for our two chosen charities this year: Rebound’s Girls’ Mentoring Program and Organization for Literacy in Lambton.

The support of local businesses for IODE’s charitable project is truly invaluable, and we encourage the community to always “shop local,” because these merchants have their hearts, not only on the process, but also in the people of Sarnia-Lambton.

Thank you for the excellent coverage your publication has provided our 2015 Christmas Home Tour.

See you all next year on Nov. 19 & 20 for the 10th Annual Tour!

Sincerely.

Linda Gryner

IODE Christmas Home Tour Co-Chairperson

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