Thank you for choosing to no longer use drive-thrus…

On behalf of our children, your children and children all over our small planet – thank you for your time and consideration.
Council of Canadians

Social Aspects – Community

So do we choose to protect and keep non essential items such as drive-thrus or do we choose to re-design our planet in which future generation can live?  The benefits are immense – environmental health, physical health.  People stepping out of their cars symbolize people re-engaging in community. Such a culture shift is a step to encourage people to slow down, walk or bike, and to ride mass transit.  Slowing down is necessary in this fast-paced culture. We must organize and embrace a resistance to the momentum of running.  If we learn how to slow down and nourish ourselves, we can pay more attention to living sustainably and mindfully in our communities.  Many of today’s problems are rooted in efficiency and convenience; we zoom from place to place without slowing down to enjoy the simple joys around us. Sustainable yet slower modes of transportation like walking and biking, getting us out of our cars and help us to do that. This gives us the clarity and mindfulness to recognize things as they are. When you are mindful, you recognize what is going on, what is happening in the here and now. Without mindfulness we make and spend our money in ways that destroys us and other people. We use our wealth in such a way that we destroy ourselves and other people.

Employment – Industry

The industry states local jobs will be lost.  Is this a viable argument?  Red Roaster seems to be doing well in London.  There are cafes and restaurants across Canada – with no drive-thrus – all doing well.  Speaking of fast food industry employment – health for most minimum wage fast food employees working a drive-thru window does not seem to be a very high priority.  Does anyone recall second hand smoke?  Let’s consider first hand vehicle exhaust.  With no paid health benefits for the majority of employees in the fast food industry their health seems completely irrelevant and disregarded. Please note the industry is now testing and are already implementing outsourcing your drive-thru order.  The next time you press an intercom at a drive-thru – you may be speaking to someone in India.  Hmmm. What happened to keeping the jobs local?  Fast food multinationals who make billions in profits continue to pay their hard working employees anything more than poverty wages.  And even this is considered too high.  Why pay minimum wage in North America when you can exploit someone in India?
The London and District Labour Council has endorsed our campaign including the moratorium on drive-thrus.

From the University of Calgary:

View the study here: edmonton-drive-thru-study

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of the top 100 teaching and research universities in the world serving some 37,000 students with more than 11,000 faculty and staff. Founded a century ago, the university has an annual budget in excess of $1 billion and attracts more than $480 million in external research funding. It offers close to 400 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in 18 faculties.

From the University of Calgary:
Estimated statistics (May 2007) from the University of Calgary found Edmonton drive-thrus contribute an estimated 25 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere per day. (Enough to fill over 12 NHL hockey rinks per day) Over a year, this could represent up to 9,000 tons. Using a total of 115 cities with same population and the same amount of drive-thrus, this could generate a total of I MILLION TONS in a year, and this is just for larger cities in Canada.
Now – How many trees to do we need to plant in order to offset 1 million tons of carbon in one year? 277 million trees. Even if this was possible – should we not be planting trees to offset something we actually need to live?  Perhaps heat that we need to survive in the winter months?  Is the industry going to plant these trees annually?  We don’t think so.
Does your head hurt yet?  Is anyone enraged yet?  Do we need a reality check?

CBC Investigation on Drive-Thrus

It is interesting to note that in a CBC investigation produced on May 28th, 2007, journalists documented 113 cars going thru the drive-thru in one hour in a Winnipeg Tim Horton’s drive-thru.  The average drive-thru wait per vehicle was 5 min. 15 sec. Natural Resources Canada estimates these cars produced 290 grams of CO2 each which means that in one hour, this one drive-thru generated 35 KG (77 pounds) of carbon dioxide. The senior vice-president of Tim Horton’s is interviewed on the investigation and he states: “We prefer education as does others in the industry verses punitive measures be it a bylaw or fines”.
For a consulting firm with sustainable design listed as a service – one would think that they could develop a suitable parking lot for Tim Horton’s customers so they would no longer have to be on their site for 7-8 minutes spending the majority of this time driving while looking a space to park (according to their report). This is clearly a planning issue and should be recognized as such. Further stress on our children and our earth itself should not be tolerated only because Tim Horton’s chooses to focus on profitable drive-thru service rather than adequate parking.

INDUSTRY…Drive-thru Proliferation

It would be wonderful if multinational corporations would place our children, even people in general, before their profits.  However – this is not about to happen.  Corporations are legally bound to show profits to their shareholders first and foremost.  This is at any cost.  There are no boundaries.  There are no ethical or moral considerations. The costs of doing drive-thru business are almost completely externalized. If one had to pay the true cost of a cup of a coffee at a drive-thru window – one can only imagine the exorbitant price.  However – we do pay. We pay with the continued detriment to our planet, we pay the ever escalating costs to a healthcare system in crisis, and ultimately, we are paying with that of our children’s lives. If one can understand corporate greed – then one can you begin to understand why drive-thrus are so enticing to fast food chains with plans to expand and double their drive-thrus over the next five years. This is the exact opposite direction of where we – as a society should be going. Sixty percent of the 129 billion dollar per year industry takes place at the drive-thru window.  China has now introduced drive-thrus.  It is considered a status symbol to sit in a vehicle and idle in a drive-thru in China where emissions have begun to absolutely soar.  Plans to expand drive-thrus in China and throughout Asia have only just begun.

A Call for an Immediate Moratorium on New Drive-thrus

Although our ‘Clean Air for Children’ campaign is a three part initiative (with more to come in the near future) – the call for a moratorium continues to be the most ‘controversial’ part of the campaign.
With 150 drive-thrus currently in existence in London alone – one would not think this would be an issue.
However – the industry has united a forefront to fight such a moratorium. The industry continues to choose corporate profits over children’s lives and the future of our planet as we know it.