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Cinq gestes à poser pour réduire son empreinte carbone

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1. Arrêter d’investir dans les compagnies polluantes

Lorsqu’elles placent leur argent, de plus en plus de personnes prennent la décision d’éviter les entreprises peu respectueuses de l’environnement.

Un nombre croissant de fonds communs offrent la possibilité de choisir des placements « responsables », qui non seulement excluent les firmes exploitant les combustibles fossiles, mais qui encouragent plutôt celles qui oeuvrent dans le domaine de l’énergie renouvelable.

La demande est en augmentation, selon l’Association pour l’investissement responsable (AIR), qui fait état d’une croissance de 41,6 % de ces investissements entre 2016 et 2018.

L’investissement responsable représente désormais 50,6 % de l’ensemble des actifs sous gestion canadiens, en hausse par rapport à 37,8 % deux ans plus tôt.

Une autre façon d’agir dans ce domaine est de faire pression sur les grands fonds d’investissement, tels que les caisses de retraite, afin qu’ils se désengagent du secteur des énergies fossiles.

Un pas qui n’a pas encore été fait par la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, un des plus importants investisseurs institutionnels au pays, qui détient toujours des milliards de dollars dans le pétrole, le gaz et le charbon.

2. Réfléchir avant d’acheter en ligne

Les achats en ligne ne cessent d’augmenter. Selon les données du CEFRIO, 58 % des Québécois ont effectué au moins un achat sur Internet en 2017, une donnée plutôt stable depuis quelques années.

Une situation qui se reflète dans les bons résultats de Postes Canada, dont le secteur de la livraison des colis est en augmentation constante depuis 2011.

Un facteur de Postes Canada manipule un colisUn facteur de Postes Canada manipule un colis Photo : Radio-Canada / Martin Thibault

En ce qui concerne l’impact environnemental de ces achats, il n’est pas évident de faire la part des choses.

« Si on pense, par exemple, aux livres numériques, c’est positif », croit Caroline Boivin, professeure en marketing et cofondatrice de l’Observatoire de la consommation responsable à l’Université de Sherbrooke, dans la mesure où il n’y a pas de déplacement et qu’on n’utilise plus de papier.

Par contre, quand on achète des objets qu’on se fait livrer à la maison, c’est plus problématique.

Même si elles permettent d’éviter un déplacement au centre commercial, ces livraisons impliquent une augmentation du transport par camion, d’autant plus que les colis commandés en ligne sont parfois renvoyés pour être échangés (provoquant des allers-retours) ou livrés de manière étalée.

Enfin, les objets vendus en ligne sont très souvent suremballés et créent des montagnes de déchets.

Pour diminuer leur empreinte carbone, les cyberacheteurs peuvent s’assurer de demander des envois groupés et un emballage réduit et ne pas renvoyer ce qu’ils ont commandé.

3. Lutter contre l’obsolescence des produits électroniques et des électroménagers

Trop souvent, quand un appareil ne fonctionne plus, on a le réflexe d’en acheter un nouveau, sans même essayer de réparer le produit défectueux. Des dizaines de milliers de frigos, télés et téléphones portables finissent ainsi dans les dépotoirs alors qu’ils n’ont pas encore terminé leur durée de vie utile, rappelle Camille Raynauld-Gagné, d’Équiterre.

Des vieux électroménagersDes vieux électroménagers Photo : Radio-Canada

Selon une enquête d’Équiterre, seuls 26 % des Québécois font arranger leurs appareils électroniques endommagés. C’est encore moins dans le cas des électroménagers, soit 19 %.

« Peu de gens font appel à la réparation, affirme Mme Raynauld-Gagné. Il y a le mythe que ça va coûter moins cher d’acheter un nouvel appareil. Mais a-t-on pensé aux coûts environnementaux? »

Grâce aux tutoriels en ligne, aux forums ou aux réparathons, il est pourtant possible de prolonger la durée de vie des appareils plutôt que de succomber aux sirènes du consumérisme. Dans bien des cas, on remplace des machines encore fonctionnelles tout simplement parce qu’elles ne sont plus au goût du jour.

On n’est plus à l’heure du traitement des déchets, on est à l’heure de la prévention.

Camille Raynauld-Gagné, porte-parole d’Équiterre

4. Diminuer notre consommation de viande

Plusieurs études l’affirment : la façon la plus efficace de réduire notre empreinte écologique est de manger moins de viande de boeuf.

De la viande de bœuf crue sur une planche à découper.De la viande de bœuf Photo : iStock

L’élevage de bétail destiné à la consommation contribue à hauteur de 20 % aux émissions de gaz à effet de serre, en plus d’être une source majeure de pollution des cours d’eau.

Selon les calculs des chercheurs de l’organisation GRAIN, les émissions de GES des cinq plus grandes entreprises de transformation de viande et de produits laitiers sont supérieures à celle d’une pétrolière comme Exxon.

« Réduire sa consommation de viande rouge, c’est à la portée de tous et ça peut faire une différence », soutient Caroline Boivin, professeure en marketing et cofondatrice de l’Observatoire de la consommation responsable à l’Université de Sherbrooke.

Les Québécois en sont très conscients : parmi les personnes interrogées dans le cadre de l’enquête du Baromètre de la consommation responsable au Québec, édition 2018, 43,7 % ont déclaré avoir diminué leur consommation de viande rouge au cours de la dernière année.

On en mange cependant encore beaucoup, soit 16,65 kg par personne par année au Canada. La moyenne mondiale est plutôt de 6,4 kg par personne.

5. Avoir moins d’enfants

Selon une étude de l’Université Lund en Suède, avoir un enfant de moins est, dans les pays développés, l’action individuelle la plus efficace que l’on peut entreprendre pour lutter contre le réchauffement climatique.

Cette mesure serait bien plus efficace que des stratégies dont les États font grandement la promotion, telles que le recyclage ou l’utilisation d’ampoules écoénergétiques.

Mais l’option de la dénatalité pour réduire notre empreinte écologique est pour le moins controversée.

« Le problème n’est pas l’être humain, mais la société dans laquelle il vit, argumentait Yves-Marie Abraham, professeur au Département de management à HEC Montréal à l’émission Médium large, le 29 octobre 2018. Ce sont les structures de cette société qui font que, quels que soient les efforts individuels qu’on va faire, effectivement notre empreinte va rester très lourde. »

C’est sur notre modèle de société et sur le mode de vie qui lui est associé qu’il faut travailler.

Yves-Marie Abraham, professeur au Département de management à HEC Montréal

En effet, l’impact d’un enfant est très variable selon le pays dans lequel il naît. Un enfant né en Chine aura le cinquième de l’impact environnemental d’un enfant nord-américain.

Les chercheurs eux-mêmes le disent : ils ne prônent pas un contrôle par l’État de la population, mais plutôt une prise de conscience des citoyens des conséquences environnementales de leurs choix reproductifs.



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Ottawa Tourism temporarily halts marketing in China

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Ottawa Tourism has hit the pause button on new marketing efforts in China—at least for now.

This comes amid increasing tensions between Canada and China.

On Monday, a Chinese court re-sentenced Canadian Robert Schellenberg to death in a sudden retrial of a drug-smuggling case.

It follows the detention of two Canadians in China that many believe was triggered by the December arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer.

It says “Desination Canada and Ottawa Tourism are continuing to monitor the situation.”

An estimated 41,000 Chinese visitors came to Ottawa in 2017.

Ottawa Tourism launched an incentive program to try and attract Chinese tourists to the Capital.  It says it plans on resuming marketing efforts in China but there’s no date as of yet.

China is the third largest inbound market to Canada and the third-largest international market for Ottawa after the U.S. and U.K.



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Reel justice prevails: This B.C. man won a 30-year battle to fish in a public lake

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Rick McGowan started fishing in Stoney Lake and Minnie Lake in B.C.’s Interior in the 1960s when he was 14 years old. The lakes were a good stopping point along Stoney Lake Road, a gravel route the McGowan family travelled almost daily from Merritt to a fishing resort on Paradise Lake owned by Rick’s parents, Hughie and Ruby.

The province stocked both lakes with rainbow trout, and Minnie Lake was the place to catch a fish to brag about, five or even eight pounds. “Minnie Lake has always had a great ecosystem for providing big fish,” says McGowan. “It had a lot of shrimp and invertebrates for the fish to feed on.” The lakes were surrounded by land owned in part by the Woodward family, founders of an eponymous department store chain, but were themselves Crown property and a popular spot for residents, including neighbouring First Nations.

One day—McGowan figures around 1988—the family found the gate to Stoney Lake Road closed and padlocked. It was the start of a 30-year dispute, pitting local anglers against wealthy landowners, public interests against private, and culminating in a recent court decision that could set a precedent for public access to Crown-owned waters.

Today, the owner of that gate is American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who owns a stable of professional sports teams including the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and who is married to a Wal-Mart heir. He bought the Douglas Lake Ranch in 2003 and has been snapping up adjacent land ever since. He’s now the largest private landowner in B.C., with rights to almost 500,000 hectares of deeded and Crown grazing land under his Douglas Lake Cattle Company.

RELATED: What it feels like to go lobster fishing in P.E.I.

After years of disputes over access, which included RCMP arrests for trespassing and a failed petition from the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club—of which McGowan is a member—the Douglas Lake Cattle Company sued the club. Lawyers asked a judge to clarify whether Stoney Lake Road is public, whether the public should be permitted access to the lakes and who owns the fish.

Douglas Lake Cattle Company did not get the answers it wanted when B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves rendered his decision in early December. Stoney Lake Road is public; the lakes must be reopened for catch-and-release fishing; and the fish are wild, even if the lakes are stocked, the judge found.

More than a mundane court ruling, the decision is being received as a declaration affirming public rights to cherished water bodies at a time when private interests are rapidly closing them off. The court heard that the company dammed Stoney and Minnie lakes to make them bigger, partially flooding the road in the process. The company, which operates several private fishing lodges, argued that the new expanded borders of the lakes were private. The ranch also put large rocks and logs on the road “to make it impossible to pass,” writes Groves.

All the while, the province knew. In 1996, the district highways manager wrote a letter to Douglas Lake ranch manager Joe Gardner, asking him to remove the locked gate and install a cattle guard. Gardner did not comply. “Mr. Gardner has acted, as manager of the DLCC, as someone who is above the law,” writes Groves.

RELATED: As the Arctic Ocean melts, the fishing talks begin

Groves had harsh words for the province, the second defendant in the case: “The province did not respond to this apparent unlawful act. Over 20 years, a privately held corporation, owning a large swath of land, prohibited the public from driving on the public road and the province did nothing.”

The government came in for even greater rebuke in a scathing epilogue to the decision—a rare document Groves presented in court after his ruling. In it, Groves writes that “it makes no sense to me that the Crown would retain ownership of the lakes, only for there to be no access.” He urges the province to re-examine its trespassing laws and “guarantee access to this precious public resource.”

Christopher Harvey, lawyer for the Nicola Valley club, says he hopes this ruling will spur the province to protect right of access to public lands. “It is the easiest thing in the world for a landowner to put up a private property sign and just lock a gate over a public road,” Harvey says. “Ninety-nine per cent of the public will assume it is private property.”

B.C.’s natural resources ministry says it’s reviewing the judgment before deciding its next steps, while a lawyer representing Kroenke’s company says it is considering all options, including appeal. Neither Kroenke nor ranch manager Gardner agreed to an interview.

The gate to Stoney Lake Road isn’t the only one with a lock. There is legal action in the works over access to Corbett Lake, another Crown lake partially on Douglas Lake Cattle Company property. McGowan, now 66, sees this as his fight to ensure his eight-year-old granddaughter can fish in Crown lakes, just like he did as a boy. “The locking and blocking access to public lakes all over B.C. is escalating like an epidemic,” he says. “If we don’t stop it, you’re not going to go off the blacktop without paying someone to go there.”



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B.C. First Nations leaders lend their support to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs at Smithers rally

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First Nations leaders from communities across B.C. gathered in Smithers Wednesday in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership following last week’s RCMP enforcement of an injunction to allow access to their territory by a pipeline company.

“You are in charge of your land, make no mistake about it. We are in charge of our land. And at times, we need to rely on each other for support,” said Murray Smith from Lax Kw’alaams near Prince Rupert.

Smith and others from the Tsimshian nation said they came to show support after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs stood with them, in their territory, when they were standing in opposition to the Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island.

“Today’s show of support from our neighbours and allies… proves the Wet’suwet’en do not stand alone,” said Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Na’Moks.

“We the hereditary chiefs are the title holders and maintain authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on our unceded lands.”

Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief NaMoks speaks to media following their meeting with RCMP members and Coastal GasLink representatives in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 10. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

The First Nations leaders spent Tuesday in closed door meetings with the hereditary leadership to talk about what happened at the Gidimt’en checkpoint last week. It was one of two checkpoints that was established on a remote stretch of forest service road in the nation’s traditional territory to prevent access by Coastal GasLink workers.

14 arrested

Fourteen people were arrested Jan. 7 when the RCMP moved in to enforce an interim injunction to allow pipeline workers access through the checkpoint.

Coastal GasLink, owned by TransCanada Corp., says it needs access to the road and bridge in order to meet construction deadlines on a natural gas pipeline from the northeastern part of the province to the coast. Coastal GasLink said it turned to the courts for an injunction as a last resort to get access on the territory where the Unist’ot’en have long operated a checkpoint.

TransCanada has made agreements with elected chiefs and councils along the route of the pipeline and the company has stated in court filings that it has all the necessary approvals to go ahead with its work.

The hereditary chiefs acknowledge that agreements have been signed with elected leadership but say they are the ones that need to consent to this kind of project being built on their traditional territories, according to their own laws, and that band councils only have jurisdiction over the reserve lands.

Agreement made under duress, says chief

At Wednesday’s rally, leaders from other B.C. nations expressed their support for the hereditary leaders to continue asserting themselves on the land, saying the approvals for these projects happen according to laws and rules that are not of their making.

“We’re playing with their rule book, the rule book that they change all the time,” said Ronnie West, from the nearby Lake Babine Nation.

Reconciliation cannot be done at the end of a gun.– Wayne Christian

“So how do we do it? How are we going to win this game?”

The hereditary chiefs spent three days in meetings with the RCMP last week to come to an agreement about next steps with the injunction. Chief Na’Moks said at Wednesday’s rally that agreement was made under duress, to protect the people at the Unist’ot’en checkpoint and settlement from experiencing the kind of enforcement action seen at Gidimt’en.

“Reconciliation cannot be done at the end of a gun,” said Wayne Christian, a chief from the Secwepemc nation.

“The world is watching what’s going on here. Our way of life is being attacked.”

Wayne Christian, a chief from the Secwepemc nation, attended meetings in Smithers this week to show support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Shuswap Tribal Council)

Earlier this week, the RCMP said it will be conducting a review of its enforcement action at Gidimt’en and has since established a temporary detachment on the land to keep a presence in the area.

As it stands, the interim injunction for Coastal GasLink remains in effect. Further court documents are due for filing at the end of January and the matter has yet to go to trial.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs maintain they are opposed to the pipeline going through the territory and have not yet announced what their next moves might be.



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