The new Conservative government has abruptly dropped funding the One Tonne Challenge, an environmental initiative aimed at getting individuals to moderate their energy consumption.
Sure, the program had its critics. Rick Mercer's commercials - 'com'on, we're Canadian. We're up for a challenge' - may have seemed a little hokey. But individuals and communities across Canada have been signing up. If nothing else, this campaign has emphasized that everyone has a role to play in fighting global warming.
Forty communities received funding through this program to "engage their citizens in greenhouse gas reduction". The EcoAction Community Funding Program also funded environmental projects by non-profit, NGOs like Equiterre. A Google Search on One-Tonne Challenge will bring up sites for these Challenge projects in cities and communities across Canada: Toronto, Regina, Halifax, Waterloo, Whistler... Now all these projects are being axed. Felled like a clear-cut forest.
I admit, I have not done all I could have in the One-Tonne Challenge. I jumped on the band wagon a year ago - even sent out a challenge to all my friends and tried to get a pool going as an extra incentive to join (www.oasys.ca/anita/one_tonne. I had intended to get everyone to do their second count last September and find our winner.
But here were are in April 2006 and I never did ask people for their second tally. After reading the news of One-Tonne's funding cut, I thought I would send around the site again and get people to quickly count their emissions before the government site goes down.
Too late. The site is already down. I must say, the Conservative government can move quickly.
So apologies to those who responded to my challenge last March. I should have gotten back to you sooner.
But it looks like we have a new challenge now: keeping our government from backtracking on the steps we were taking toward a cleaner environment.