Ironically, environmentalism has long been criticized as something that is merely a privilege of those with time and money to spare, not those who are scraping by day to day, trying to eke out an existence. Yet ecological problems impact the poor and needy much harder than those with resources, whether that be pollution, loss of forests and game, or lack of access to clean water.
This is also true when it comes to energy use, especially for heating. The less well-off tend to live in older buildings, which often have less insulation and less efficient heating and cooling technology. They can't afford to install new efficient windows and doors, or switch to energy-sipping appliances. Therefore, they spend a bigger proportion of money trying to stay warm, meaning down the line they have even less wealth.
Now, a progressive program in Toronto, Canada seeks to provide some relief to the more than 320,000 families there who rely on food banks, reports the Toronto Star. Ontario's Energy GreenBox program, now in its second year, will pass out 25,000 kits from food banks, stocked with items designed to keep the cold out and the heat in, like treatments to seal windows and doors. Last year, 20,000 kits were sent out.
The boxes will also feature information on a pilot project launched by Enbridge Gas in June, which provides home energy audits for local low-income families. If the house qualifies, the program assists with the installation of energy-saving devices.
The program is a partnership between the Ontario Association of Food Banks and Friends of the Earth Canada, with the support of founding sponsor Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.
Toronto's program sounds like a true win-win, in which the city (known for high carbon emissions because of its cold climate) can reduce global warming impact, save homeowners money and get the word out about going greener.
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