Letter to the editor in response to Toronto Star article “Status quo allows preventable pedestrian death”
There is a striking similarity between the problem of pedestrian deaths on the streets of Toronto, and the challenge of averting catastrophic climate change. In both cases, governments assure us they are doing everything possible to address the problem. Meanwhile pedestrians continue to die, and carbon emissions keep rising.
Perhaps it’s time to borrow the concept of “offsetting” from the climate change front and apply it to problem of pedestrian fatalities. When it comes to climate, offsetting means that we can continue to discharge vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the air as long as we “offset” it by something else, like paying people in some other country to refrain from cutting down the trees that grow there. “Net Zero” is what they call it.
This has great potential for tackling the problem of pedestrian fatalities. Rather than face the difficult challenge of making changes in street design and actually enforcing traffic laws, we could offset our way to success. All we need to do is pay some other municipalities, like maybe Tobermory or White River or New Liskeard, to not kill any pedestrians. If we paid 20 towns to not kill five pedestrians each, this would offset 100 pedestrian deaths every year. That would leave us free to kill 100 pedestrians in Toronto every year, and still achieve “Net Zero.” It’s a strategy that could be every bit as successful as climate offsetting.
October 24, 2021
Related: Adding up to Zero.