Everyone contributing to consumption


Re: What’s with the open doors?

A New Jersey visitor wrote (RMO page 18, What’s with the open doors?) that she was “amazed and dispirited” observing doors to businesses along Banff Avenue and in Canmore “wide open” to the elements during a recent cold spell.

I’m equally amazed, dispirited and puzzled that someone travelling thousands of miles by air or ground (or a combination of both) would fail to recognize they are part of the problem.

If this tourist arrived here by air, she likely travelled for the most part in a craft consuming something in the order of four litres of non-renewable fossil fuel per second – something nobody wants to talk about – not even Al Gore or David Suzuki.

She undoubtedly used some form of ground transportation to ferry her from the airport in Calgary to the Bow Valley – likely a rental vehicle which helped her roam the valley and perhaps beyond in style and comfort.

She in all probability dined in a nice restaurant (more carbon footprint), stayed in a nice warm room (more carbon footprint) and on and on. None of the aforementioned is necessary – just fun, entertainment – invigorating and renewing.

The actions of merchants along Banff Avenue and in Canmore with their doors open during a cold spell I do not support either. I view their actions as irresponsible. But isn’t the tourist, (who the merchant feasts off to survive), willingly partaking in a 5,000 mile journey to a romantic locale for the purpose of renewing and inspiring themselves also contributing needlessly to the desecration of the planet with the carbon emissions they trail in their wake?

I once spoke as loosely on the subject, until someone asked rather coldly of me one day if I’d willingly rid myself of all my worldly possessions, immediately cease unnecessary consumption, walk or bike everywhere, and live in a tiny house with a wood stove in the middle of the room for heat and cooking.

That statement dropped me in my tracks. It changed how I view we soiled fools and our sordid relationship with the earth. I saw the fouled relationship few of us are ready to abandon – I just needed a reminder.

Alvin W. Shier,



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