04:00:57 am on
Tuesday 16 Jul 2024

Entry for 1 May 2025
David Simmonds

Dear Diary: it’s been another day of long lineups at the grocery store. Our new carbon rationing cards have just been issued. The Youth Environmental Corps volunteers, in their colourful green uniforms, are checking everyone very carefully as they pass by the checkout counters.

Is it a Brave New World?

The new cards were issued by the federal government. The Youth Environmental Corps was established, as a part of its carbon consumption stabilization plan. My card allows me only so much carbon consumption for my personal use.

I must flash my card every time I make a purchase. In doing so, I use up carbon consumption points from the total allocated to me. Everyone gets a card, including parents on behalf of their young children.

For example, I am allowed fifty points per month for food consumption. All my potential purchases are carbon rated by a points allocation. So, a pound of locally grown mung beans will cost me five points off my carbon allowance, but a pound of hamburger will cost me an extra ten points, because growing, killing and grinding the meat uses that much more carbon.

This means I can afford a burger roughly once a month. Frivolous foods, such as Vachon cakes cost an arm and a leg in extra points because they are just that, frivolous. The rationing is akin to an informal diet plan.

I am also allowed fifty points a month for transportation. That base is equivalent to the cost of a monthly bus pass, which doesn’t do me a heck of a lot of good in Wellington County. You can apply to the Carbon Consumption Board for a rural extra point pass, which raises my permissible points level, but only to equate to the cost of running a plug-in micro sedan. The days of running a half ton truck through the back roads of the county are long gone. 

For running my home, I must pass an inspection, which is conducted by a volunteer from the Youth Environmental Corps. I can be compelled to spend my own money, by way of additions to my tax bill, retrofitting my house to eliminate cold air leaks and install solar panels and electric heating. I lose more carbon points if I am living in a bigger house than the Corps think is suitable for me or if my thermostat temperature is set too high.

Black flag of Carbon Shame.

If I don’t meet the standard, the Corps can order me to fly the black flag of carbon shame. If I don’t comply within one year, my house can be expropriated and sold to a buyer who is prepared to fall into line. Seems unreasonable to me.

Garbage continues to be a flash point. Single use plastic has been outlawed since 2021, which means we can’t even take our garbage out onto the street in a plastic bag anymore. We are limited to one cubic metre of garbage per person per year; any excess we must bury, burn, wear or eat.

It now costs $100 to take a piece of furniture to the dump. More, $200, specifically, if the piece of furniture has been bought from IKEA within the last five years. We are required to compost all our own food scraps. 

Travel to the sunny south for a week in Cancun is off the books, as the government closed Pearson Airport to most discretionary travel. You can apply to the Carbon Consumption Board for a permit to visit an ailing relative or take a necessary business trip, but the paperwork is tedious and the few available flights are largely filled with carbon consumption people doing important national business.

The travel system is obviously designed it so that people will choose to just stay home and vacation in their back yards. Of course, that will limit you a bit, as motorboats are also banned. Heated private pools have been disallowed, golf courses have been closed and cutting lawns other than with hand tools has been forbidden.

Thank goodness we all have access to a few discretionary carbon consumption points. We can sell them to rich people, who can then use their combined personal and purchased points to, say, take a vacation in Cleveland. Our discretionary flexibility is limited; purchaser and seller must still operate under a fixed total points limit. 

I am making this carbon consumption stuff sound ominous, but it could be a lot worse. Young people have found some purpose in life with the Youth Environmental Corps. Staying put lessens the risk we could be exposed to another coronavirus outbreak.

Fewer people are coming to vacation in the County, so the demand for short-term accommodations has lessened and properties are returning to family use. Our sense of belonging to a community is increasing. My health is improving by consuming more mung beans in place of hamburger, although I do miss my Vachon cakes,

Such is the human condition.

If I had the choice, I would have started the transition to a less carbon consumptive lifestyle in 2020, rather than voting for a government that had to impose such draconian measures over us. We don’t always do what’s good for us until disaster is staring us in the face. Such is the human condition.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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