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Should Gas Pumps Have Climate Change Warning Labels?

What if every time you put gas in your car you saw a warning label explaining how use of that product contributed to climate change? If labels on cigarette packs are effective in motivating smokers to quit (and others to never start smoking), could this type of label help encourage drivers to spend a little less time in their cars? Or even start asking governments and corporations for cleaner transportation? Our Horizon, a Canadian nonprofit formed in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, thinks so, and is pushing for gas pump warning labels in Ontario.

One of the challenges of inspiring people to act on climate change is that many of the effects we're causing now aren't visible yet, or are only just starting to be visible. Despite the urgency of the problem—Our Horizon suggests we have just 16 years to completely turn society around, and others would argue that there's even less time—we tend to act slowly, if at all. Hurricane Sandy made more people think about climate change. But what do you see in everyday life? Could simple, but graphic, reminders like this make a difference?

To tackle climate change, Our Horizon argues, we need everyone on board, both to change behavior on a mass scale and to advocate for better systems. In the end, they say, it's not just that government or big business isn't doing enough; we're all responsible:

Unlike many not-for-profits, we do not blame BP [for the Deepwater Horizon spill]. Our position is that we each share in the responsibility for this tragedy. It is the decisions that we each make on a daily basis that shape our collective reality and make such a tragedy possible. We do not condemn Shell, Exxon, or even Enbridge. We are responsible.
It is only when we acknowledge our role in this unsustainable system that we can begin to take meaningful steps to address it. While it may be a little scary, it can also be empowering. It is in realizing that we are the masters of our own fate that we become empowered to create a much more desirable future.
Though this project started in Canada, it could make sense anywhere. Visit Our Horizon to suggest your own label design.
Images courtesy of Our Horizon.\n

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