the need for change

Canadians use more energy per person than any other industrialized nation. On average, each of us accounts for about 21 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, over ten times that produced by individuals living in developing countries. As individuals, we have control over 27 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Conserving energy is the easiest and most cost-effective thing that the average citizen can do to protect our environment. It's better for the environment (and cheaper) to improve the efficiency of your energy use than to produce more energy to meet inefficient consumption. Seemingly small individual and household changes quickly add up to large accomplishments at the community level.

Energy generation is the number one cause of air pollution in North America. Air pollution kills 30,000 people each year and makes hundreds of thousands of others sick. For the past one hundred years, energy generated for electricity and heating/cooling has come from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.

Burning fossil fuels sends greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Climate scientists generally agree that the Earth's average temperature has risen in the past century. If this trend continues, sea levels will rise, and scientists predict that floods, heat waves, droughts, and other extreme weather conditions could occur more often.

Other pollutants are released into the air, soil, and water when fossil fuels are burned. These pollutants take a dramatic toll on the environment. Air pollution contributes to lung diseases like asthma. Acid rain from sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides harms plants and fish. Nitrogen oxide contributes to smog.

Despite the proven health and environmental impacts the electricity industry adds millions of metric tons of these pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Nuclear energy has not solved the problem as it creates dangerous waste that remains radioactive for thousands of years. There is still no safe technique for permanently disposing of nuclear waste.

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