Monday, June 26, 2006

Shared Air 2006

Today I was at the Shared Air Summit, which was put on by the Ontario provincial government for the second year in a row in an attempt to foster some discussion and cooperation between various "stakeholders" ( which is the usual buzzword to refer to people who know stuff or have some interest in whatever you're talking about) for improved air quality.

I'm quite clear, however, that one big part of the event was about communication to the public - there was lots of media there and three of the speakers would be draws for most Canadians: John Kerry, the Democratic Senator and former presidential candidate, Sara Renner, that x-country skiier who broke her pole in a race at the Turin Olympics and still got a silver medal, and Roberta Bondar, Canada's first woman in space. (And apparently the world's first neurologist in space, something that was repeated several times today but which I had never really heard before as a "Roberta Bondar claim-to-fame").

Although I do really hope that the summit does actually foster some cooperation among those people who hold the power (whether or not it's renewable presumably depends on their political popularity - ha!) - part of me is OK with the media circus that was created even though it was designed mostly to hype the Ontario Liberals. They have done some good stuff and that should be acknowledged - but also - if we want more progress, it's critical that people care about clean air, understand the climate change issues, realize the impact of their energy use, and be willing to make all of it into issues that could elect or defeat a government.

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