Canada’s largest cities are paving the way for more eco-conscious commuting choices.
There’s no use denying it: North Americans are addicted to cars. We’ll curse through morning traffic jams and hop right back into rush hour for the slow drive home. We’ll even sit in the drive-through and wait for our morning coffee.
The transportation network that stocks our supermarkets with Costa Rican bananas and Chinese garlic is the same system that instigated a post-Second World War building boom, setting the stage for urban sprawl and suburban big-box stores. It’s what makes us so dependent on cars for almost everything we do. But cheap and abundant fuel will run out eventually. And like crash-test dummies, we’re accelerating as we approach the wall: global demand is surging as world production sags, causing prices at the pump to skyrocket.
Ontario’s government has an ambitious plan to reforest the most populated part of Canada. First, it must grapple with libertarian landowners and fragmented landscapes — and the fact that it got out of the business of planting trees.
Along the back roads of eastern Ontario, among the sleepy towns, antique shops and touristy locks that squeeze the Rideau River south of Ottawa, “Back Off Government” signs pepper a mixed countryside of cattle farms and small woodlands. Landowner pride runs strong here, although many traditional farms have given way to properties bought up by transplanted urbanites escaping the city and relishing the natural scenery.
Evangelical Christians have started to hear a new sermon from the pulpit: conservation. Not everyone within the church is happy about it.
Pastor John Bouwers is swaying with his eyes closed and hands raised to heaven. He’s leading Sunday morning prayer at the Meadowlands Fellowship, a Christian Reformed church in Ancaster, Ontario. Today’s sermon is about humility, the importance of a close-knit and caring Christian community, and building bridges outside that community.