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Exhaust Pipe vs. Smoking: Which Causes More Harm?

Toronto’s medical officer released a report stating a 30% reduction in vehicle emissions could save 200 lives, one billion dollars a year in health care costs and 68,000 asthma attacks for children a year in Toronto alone.  OMA estimates for annual premature deaths (2130 people) due to smog in Toronto alone were almost three times the number of deaths (831people) Health Canada attributes to secondhand smoke exposure for the whole of Canada. One must wonder why there is such apathy towards these numbers when pollution is something we can clearly defeat.

Canadians for Action on Climate Change

Government’s key role is to serve as the trustee of the commonwealth and the common health for this and future generations.  Yet …

Canada now stands out as one of the last major industrialized countries opposed to targets for deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and one of the biggest blockers of climate change negotiations.

Canadians for Action on Climate Change is a developing non-profit NGO of activists, academia, physicians and citizens focusing on climate change, true cost economy and relocalization. Our organization seeks to provide news, reports and analysis to inform, educate and develop environmental policies for all levels of government in Canada.  We are committed to being part of an international movement against destruction of our shared environment.  Our current economy is unsustainable and an unethical catalyst to ever increasing global warming. This model assumes endless growth and limitless potential wealth that completely disregards the fact that the earth’s life support capacity is finite.  We respect the integrity, resilience, and beauty of the common wealth of all life as the foundation for a new sustainable economic model for our finite planet that will benefit generations to come.

You can contact us at

Our shared environment is neither a ‘left’ nor a ‘right’ issue.  It is not a partisan issue.

We all breathe the same air.

We all share one finite planet.

We are now at a crossroads.  Some citizens have such a deep sense of entitlement that they actually fight for their ‘right’ to harm our shared environment.  Such individuals are so disconnected from nature that they do not understand that their perceived ‘right’ to pollute and degrade our shared environment is at the expense of not only their own health, but the health and welfare of their own children and the people they love.  Such perceived ‘rights’ and senses of entitlement are the root cause of climate change which now kills 300,000 people per year. 
Canada and the US together represent less than 5 percent of humanity yet consume over one-quarter of the world’s oil, and contribute to more than one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon is the most significant greenhouse gas, and Canada’s per capita carbon footprint is more than twice that of the average European, roughly five times the world average, and more than 20 times that of many developing countries.

Canadians must urgently face up to our grossly outsized and destructive carbon footprint, and changes need to start somewhere.Idling and drive-thrus are simply luxury items we can live without. The low hanging fruits so to speak.

Whether in blissful ignorance or conscious disregard, to continue to act like we are simply entitled to more – and more urban sprawl, more cars, more oil, and more greenhouse emissions – constitutes a planetary arrogance of frightening proportions. Idling bylaws and moratoriums on new drive-thrus would represent an important first step towards a new vision of denser, less resource intensive cities, and one which is ultimately more in step with our responsibilities as global citizens.

A new advocacy and public health movement is needed urgently to bring together governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), com-munities, and academics from all disciplines to adapt to the effects of climate change on health. Any adaptation should sit alongside the need for primary mitigation: reduction in greenhouse gas emissions - Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission
the role of cities
The Role of Cities

The battle against climate change will be won or lost in cities. The role of provincial and federal governments is, of course, widely debated, analyzed and understood. Yet the challenge is so huge that cross-cutting action at all levels will be needed. The central role of city leaders in our rapidly urbanizing world will be key to reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The leaders of large cities have a particular responsibility to act, and governments must empower and enable city governments to take on this role.

If global efforts to address climate change are to be successful, they will need to integrate city requirements and environmental management capacities. Only with a coordinated approach and actions at the global, regional, national and local levels can success be achieved. Many cities are now taking the initiative to reduce their impact on the global climate.

By 2030, two-thirds of humanity will live in cities or urban areas. Half already do. Even now, cities consume 75 per cent of the world’s energy and are responsible for 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, all cities are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and none more so than fast growing cities in developing countries. About 20 of the 30 largest cities of the world are situated on low lying coasts. Rising sea levels of a few metres would have catastrophic implications. So there’s an extraordinary responsibility and motivation for cities to act. It is at city level that innovation and progress on climate change action is most likely to be achieved.

Joseph Stalin's disturbing words…

"One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.“

It's a horrible quote, but when it comes to statistics - this seems increasingly the case. Are forgetting that every one of those numbers has real life attached to it? There are emotions and feelings. Life is complex. Data represents life, and therein lies the purpose and meaning of these numbers and information. The following number represent men, women and children.

The research on the human costs of pollution and pollution-related diseases estimated that around 21,000 people in Canada will die from breathing in toxic substances drifting in the air this year with 3,000 of those deaths due to short-term exposure to smog.
By 2031, short term exposure to air pollution will claim close to 90,000 lives in Canada, while long-term exposure will kill more than 700,000 citizens.
Ontario and Quebec residents are the worst hit Canadians, with 70 percent of the premature deaths occurring in Central Canada.
In the past 15 years alone, there has been a fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada.
If nothing is done to clean the air, medical experts estimate that by 2026 the number of smog-related premature deaths in Ontario alone will hit 10,000 annually.
OMA estimates for annual premature deaths (2130 people) due to smog in Toronto alone were almost three times the number of deaths (831people) Health Canada attributes to secondhand smoke exposure for the whole of Canada.
A child’s breathing zone is lower than adults so they are more exposed to vehicle exhausts and heavier pollutants that concentrate at lower levels in the air.
Toronto's medical officer has released a report stating a 30% reduction in vehicle emissions could save 68,000 asthma attacks for children a year. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the number of children dying from asthma each year could increase by 20 per cent by 2016 if urgent action was not taken to reduce emissions from vehicles and factories.
In 2008 there will more than 9,000 hospital visits and 30,000 emergency room visits, and 620,000 doctor's office visits, stemming from air pollution.
Eight thousand people a day die from air pollution. There are 3 million annual deaths, worldwide.
Emissions from an individual idling a car in an average size municipality will emit nearly the same amount of emissions volume as the total annual emissions from an individual in Bangladesh. 
More than 20 million people have been displaced by climate-related sudden-onset natural disasters in 2008 alone, according to a new study by OCHA and the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
The total number of people affected by natural disasters due to accelerating climate change has risen sharply over the past 10 years, with an average of 211 million people directly affected each year, nearly five times the number impacted by conflict in the same period.
April 2009: CO2 hits 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm).
The human respiratory system can only handle an upper level of 426 ppmv before the blood begins to become acidic after long-term exposure. 

Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century

The national economy: air pollution will top eight billion dollars in 2008, and by 2031 it will go over 250 billion. 
The Ontario Medical Association estimated that health care costs caused by poor air quality in 2000 would amount to nearly $630 million, not to mention the $566 million in costs due to workers taking sick days.
In Ontario alone, lost productivity will cost Canada $349,400 this year. By 2031 that will total over $9 million in damage.
Healthcare costs in the province will be $221,800 this year, up to almost $6.5 million total by 2031.
Economic damage to quality of life will hit $194,100 in Ontario in 2008, up to $265,000 in 2031 and totalling almost $5.5 million by that time.
Economic damage due to loss of life will cost $3,644,100 in 2008, rising to $6,367,200 in 2031, and totalling $115,674,500 by 2031.
Air Releases of Carcinogens by Province

Rank Provinces Air Releases of Toxicsof Carcinogens (kg) Percentage

Prince Edward Island . 26 %

Northwest Territories .41%

Newfoundland .91%

Nova Scotia 1.36%

Saskatchewan 1.62%

Manitoba 5.16%

New Brunswick 5.47%

British Columbia 11. 13 %

Quebec 17.61%

Alberta 17. 91 %

Ontario 38. 18 %

Air Releases of Toxicsof Carcinogens

Ontario's smog causes 9,500 deaths per year, medical association says.  Of these 1,000 occurred  immediately after times of intense pollution.

Drive-thrus | Sixty percent of the 129 billion dollar per year industry takes place at the drive-thru window. Welcome to the Denialism Industry

This strategy of “manufacturing scientific uncertainty” comes directly from the industry’s denialism playbook. The industry invests big money for public relations campaign to raise doubts about the increasingly definitive scientific evidence. They realize that if you could argue about the science, then you can stop municipalities from trying to address the problem.  If the new ‘science’ which is bought and paid by industry doesn’t work, they fall back on the argument of ‘choice’ – whatever the risk to society, it the citizens right to do so. This is just another example of industry’s scientific consultants who specialize in product defense. Not unlike tobacco, oil and climate change.  Corporate spin experts have recognized that manufacturing doubt works and if they do it well they can stop government legislation, or at least slow them down for years.  This is a growing trend that disingenuously demands proof over precaution in the realm of public health.

Drive Thru Resources:

Drive-thrus - Think the impact is insignificant? Think again.


We have used the calculations provided to us in this study (idling times are completely in line with Tim Horton’s own study (3-4.5 minutes) & with the national average of 3.84 seconds) to produce a very conservative number for the total number of emissions, etc. produced in London drive-thrus.

London has 156 drive-thrus – so we have based our amounts on (29 x 5) 145 as opposed to 156 to keep our results conservative.

Here are the results: (City of London only)

Idling time: 108, 795, 760 minutes.

Fuel Wasted: 2, 175, 925 litres of fuel wasted.

Emissions: 590 tons of carbon dioxide & other pollutants.

To offset this amount of pollutants in one year we would need to plant 29,220 trees.

Fuel wasted – enough for an average car to circle the globe 425 times.

And this is ONLY London based on only 145 drive-thrus. Imagine the result from all cities in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, in the world.

For more info. on this study (data) please contact us at

Industry Greenwash poster from London, Ontario duplicated in British Columbia. Note statement: “Fact: ZERO Environmental Benefit.”
Climate policy and environmental policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise.  
CAPE – Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment represents 4,000 physicians across Canada.  They urge municipalities across Canada to pass the strongest anti-idling bylaws possible. The Toronto medical health officer recently asked the City of Toronto to amend the city’s existing bylaw to 10 seconds.

Finally, while we grasp with how we can cut back our emissions let’s look at annual tons of CO2 per person and reflect: Annual tons of CO2 per person…
Ethiopia .01

India 1.1

China 3.2

Sweden 5.6

France 6.2

UK 9.4

Japan 9.7

Germany 9.8


USA 19.8

It’s us, the one billion affluent people of the world whose footprints are crushing the planet.  Surely we can all agree this is grossly unethical.  Climate change today accounts for over 300,000 deaths throughout the world each year.

Children are the most vulnerable in our society. It is the responsibility of every adult citizen on our global planet to take every precaution to protect our children and mitigate against climate change.  Just as all children must have the right to clean drinking water, all children must have the right to breathe clean air.
Idling is systemic of a much bigger problem.

That of a car culture phenomenon, a culture of self entitlement and our ‘choice’ to destroy our shared environment. Our shared natural environment has become a toxic dumping ground.

We are paying the highest price…

Today we are living in what scientists call ‘the sixth extinction’.  The fastest die off of species the Earth has ever seen. The biodiversity crisis is due to the destruction of ecosystems, the overexploitation of species and natural resources, overpopulation, the spread of agriculture and livestock, and pollution - all contributing to ever accelerating global warming caused by humans.

We are conducting a vast toxicological experiment in which our children and our children's children are the experimental subjects…

cbc video now online the disappearing male doc zone cbc tv
CBC Video Now Online | The Disappearing Male - Doc Zone | CBC-TV

The Disappearing Male is about one of the most important, and least publicized, issues facing the human species: the toxic threat to the male reproductive system.

The last few decades have seen steady and dramatic increases in the incidence of boys and young men suffering from genital deformities, low sperm count, sperm abnormalities and testicular cancer. Some researchers say that declining male fertility rates could be the first sign of extinction.


A Transition to A Whole Earth, Steady State Economy is Essential

Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five million centuries.Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism mother earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger in the world. In the hands of Capitalism everything becomes a commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, justice, ethics, death … and life itself. Everything, absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under Capitalism. And even “climate change” itself has become a business. “Climate change” has placed all humankind before great choice: to continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

Redesigning the Way We Think & Live:

evo morales save the planet from capitalism
Evo Morales | Save the Planet from Capitalism

Today, our Mother Earth is ill. From the beginning of the 21st century we have lived the hottest years of the last thousand years. Global warming is generating abrupt changes in the weather: the retreat of glaciers and the decrease of the polar ice caps; the increase of the sea level and the flooding of coastal areas, where approximately 60% of the world population live; the increase in the processes of desertification and the decrease of fresh water sources; a higher frequency in natural disasters that the communities of the earth suffer[1]; the extinction of animal and vegetal species; and the spread of diseases in areas that before were free from those diseases.One of the most tragic consequences of the climate change is that some nations and territories are the condemned to disappear by the increase of the sea level.

Read Full Opinion Piece Here:

achievements you will not read about in the msm main stream media
Achievements You Will Not Read About in the MSM (Main Stream Media)

Ecuador first to legislate rights for nature |10 December 2008

Ecuador Approves New Constitution: Voters Approve Rights of NatureEcuador | First Country in the World to Shift to Rights-Based Environmental Protection, Working With Legal Defense Fund

By an overwhelming margin, the people of Ecuador today voted for a new constitution that is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is pioneering this work in the U.S., where it has assisted more than a dozen local municipalities with drafting and adopting local laws recognizing Rights of Nature. Ecuador is now the first country in the world to codify a new system of environmental protection based on rights. With this vote, the people of Ecuador are leading the way for countries around the world to fundamentally change how we protect nature. Article 1 of the new "Rights for Nature" chapter of the Ecuador constitution reads: "Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public bodies."

Could We Pass Such a Law in North American? Probably Not. Why?

1- Apathy caused by a complete disconnect from our shared natural environment

2- Entitlement which has been cultivated in the very essence of our being in North America

3- Corporations are now more powerful than our governments

4- The average citizen is being kept in the dark on the severity of climate change and the implications


1- Seek out Independent Media

2- Reconnect Children with Nature

3- Mandatory ecoliteracy courses including ‘precautionary principle’ in work places and all levels of government

4- Utilize waiting times in the health sector with education. Replace television shows in waiting rooms with documentaries. Replace irrelevant reading material / magazines with those which focus on climate change and health.

Teach Ecoliteracy in all Levels of Government

For those in leadership roles and decision making capacity - knowledge of climate change, sustainability and environmental degradation should not be optional

The City of Albuquerque began delivering Sustainability Awareness Training in fall of 2007. Training sessions were available daily from October 8-12 and November 13-17, during which time 3,800 employees were trained.

Direct Action

“…I believe we’ve reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience.”Al Gore, Clinton Global Initiative, Sept. 25, 2008

The Reverse Graffiti Project | ‘Art less pollution’

This is what you may call reverse graffiti. Brazilian streetartist

Alexandre Orion removes soot to draw skulls and create ‘Art less pollution’.

At dawn on July 13, 2006, Brazilian streetartist Alexandre Orion started working on a intervention in the Max Feffer tunnel Sao Paulo and created ‘Art less pollution’. The intervention was through a process of subtraction, scraping off layers of soot from vehicle exhaust built up on tunnel walls to produce images of human skulls.

Read more about the intervention and see pictures at Alexandre Orion’s website.


Capitalism strikes again… Note that since this time – ‘GreenWorks’ [Clorox Corporation] has purchased this video for an advertising campaign.

under the radar le clan du n on
Under the Radar | Le Clan du Néon

Lights Out Activists on Anti-Neon Crusade in France. By Adam Sage, Times (UK), November 8, 2008. "Meet Le Clan du Néon, an increasingly popular environmental movement that wants to make the City of Lights a little darker. One tactic is to turn off neon shop signs at night by reaching the external fire switches that control them, usually found two or three metres up the façade... Le Clan was set up in Paris, but its light-hearted and low-tech activist approach to ecology has been a hit across the country with students, many of whom see the antineon activity as a nocturnal lark. Groups have sprung up in Normandy, Bordeaux, the Alps and Dordogne. Members from the latter have posted an internet video that says that in a region bereft of night life, turning out the high street lighting is as good a way of passing the time as any... The thousands of shop signs left on at night in Europe consume tens of gigawatt hours of electricity a year. In France, where the nuclear industry supplies 80 per cent of electricity, the result is more radioactive waste. Elsewhere, it is hundreds of tonnes of CO2 emissions. 'If all the neon signs in the world were turned off, the impact on global warming would be very significant,' said Nicolas, 28, another Le Clan member. 'There ought to be a law against it, but since there isn't, we have to go around doing it ourselves.’

Full Article:


Today's protesters, tomorrow's saviours.

It is pertinent to ask what view our great-grandchildren will take when they look back in 100 years. The slow cooking of the planet is quite distinct from other disputes today. With climate change, the ultimate question is whether humans can continue to live on this planet at all.

Plane Stupid Direct Action Group.They were disruptive and controversial to say the least. Spied upon, locked up and lambasted by the establishment of their time. The state considered them to be dangerous terrorists and, as Tony Benn put it, "Newsnight would have treated the suffragettes as trouble-makers." But those women who battled for gender equality were later vindicated by history. I suppose it's a testament to their success that the Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, was citing them as an example of the sort of movement we need on global warming, adding, "Maybe it's an odd thing for someone in government to say." Certainly an odd thing for someone in government. Put against a context of the average Brit emitting 11 tonnes of CO2 a year, today's activity didn't just get the nation talking, it had a real impact. Like the Kingsnorth 6, who shut down one of the dirtiest coal plants in Britain and were later acquitted by a jury of 12 ordinary people, Plane Stupid just made history. Seriously what people will think about this protest in 100 years from now? Will that generations' politicians be lauding today's action as a model for defeating their eras' defining challenge?

Direct Action Becomes Cool

Interesting enough – ‘Lush’ produces a product called the charity pot where all the proceeds are donated to worthy causes. One of the groups to benefit is Plane Stupid. Others range from Butterfly Conservation to Reprieve, the human rights charity.

Lush states they believe that there is a long tradition of using non-violent protest to create change where other means have failed. Highlighting the constant growth of habits we know we can't sustain, as Plane Stupid has, they see as laudatory.


“If you want to know who is going to change this country, take a look in the mirror.’

Maude Barlow

Drive Thru Resources:

World News on Pollution & Climate Change


Redesigning the Way We Think & Live:

Example of leading Idling Initiatives and Bylaw in Canada (Burlington):

Lastly - for Inspiration:

Essential Reading: Paul Hawken: You are Brilliant & the Earth is Hiring: