The Carbon Tax
“Well, that’s why governments around the world have come up with this idea called a Carbon Tax. They add an extra charge or a ‘tax’ to things that have high carbon emissions (pollute more) so that it becomes more expensive for people to use those items. This means when you use your car to drive to work, it will end up costing you more. This way, it encourages people look at other ways to get to work.”
Mira nodded her head. She often thought her parents driving two cars when they worked so close to each other was a bit silly.
“What would the government do with that money?” asked Teyus.
“Well, one of the ways they plan on using this money is to make more busses and trains available to take people to work so they don’t have to drive.”
“So that’s the answer then! We should all have a Carbon Tax!” proclaimed Teyus, as he ate another slice of fairy bread.
Well, it’s not really that easy” replied Grandma, pouring herself another glass of lemonade.
“People don’t like to give money to the government, because they like to keep it for themselves, after all, they’ve earned it. So a Carbon Tax feels like just another cost that adults pay to the government. That idea is never popular because the more you pay to the government, the less you have for yourself.”
“My Daddy always grumbles about taxes” said Mira.
“But if you don’t pay this tax, how will you save the world?!” shot back Teyus who was quite excited.
Grandma nodded, as this was certainly one argument she had heard before. She continued, "Governments aren’t having much luck with this. Many countries that have added the Carbon Tax have had to come up with other ideas because as I said, taxes are never popular. Part of the problem is that we are so dependent on these carbon fuels (like gasoline), that making it more expensive means a lot of families simply can’t pay their bills.”
She added, “It’s one thing if you live in a big city like Toronto where there are a lot of options for getting around, but if you are in the countryside where there are no busses, then it’s harder to understand why you should be taxed.” The children nodded, that made sense.
“But we all need to give up something if we want to live in a better world!” declared Teyus.
“Yes, but you still need food to eat and money to pay these taxes” replied Granny. The travelers nodded, this is indeed a complex problem.
“There must be other solutions!” sighed Teyus.
“Oh there are plenty. But everyone needs to agree on a solution. You see, big companies that own the factories and drill for oil don’t want solutions because that means it will be harder to make a profit. Citizens don’t want it because it costs more, but at the same time, everyone wants clean air, water and good farm land!
Grandma continued, "It's not just factories and cars either. It's also our diets! We consume five times more red meat (like beef) than we did a century ago! Compared to when I got married about 50 years ago, the average person in North America now eats thirty percent more beef! The more cows we use and the bigger and fatter we make them, the more gas they give out."
Looking at the travellers she said, quite directly, "Cows fart and this gas that comes out from their bums has something called Methane in it. Methane is a greenhouse gas like Carbon Dioxide but many times more harmful to the atmosphere. In fact, this gas coming from the bums of cattle around the world accounts for almost a fifth of our global warming!”
She continued, “Not to mention, the more cattle we raise, the more trees need to be cut down to make room for them. Trees as we said, are a very important tool for the planet to help fight Global Warming! People should really eat more beans and carrots!"
Mira and Teyus were giggling now at the thought of cows farting!