Canada has nearly 300 remote communities and off-grid sites. Close to 200,000 Canadians call these communities home and many rely on diesel powered electric generators to keep the lights on and drinking water flowing. While these systems are reliable, diesel generators are expensive to run. Enter: better renewable energy systems.
Economically and environmentally, natural gas makes sense as a fuel choice for transportation. A new waste or recycling collection truck powered by natural gas costs approximately 15 per cent more than a conventional diesel powered truck, but as natural gas has historically cost less than diesel, we expect a quick return on this investment.
The press release had a pretty stark headline: "Haida Announce Termination of Russ George." George was the guy who persuaded the small impoverished indigenous community of Old Massett on Haida Gwaii to part with over $2.5-million. He did so under the pretense that dumping iron in the ocean to stimulate a plankton bloom would net lucrative profits in the carbon credit market. Losing the rogue geoengineer may be good for optics, but it is a meaningless step unless the Haida also jettison his junk visions to manipulate the oceans and climate.
In essence, Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" thesis argues that the pursuit of self-interest in an open-access commons leads to ruin. Thus while people know that depleting a common resource can hinder societal wellbeing, without control and oversight, they will inevitably deplete it. I respectfully disagree.
The protection of at-risk species, once maintained so well by our government, has taken a backseat to business development. Now when habitat needs to be protected to ensure the survival of a species, government and industry often balk and backpedal. This signals a failure to understand that we depend on nature for our well-being and survival.
Any socially transformative movement gets to a point where it needs to be fully embraced by the people it impacts. The green power movement within Canada is at just such a point. The past decade has seen an increase in the number of options available to Canadians to support renewable energy -- often associated with a premium cost to the consumer.
Last week the world hit a new milestone. We crossed 400 parts per million CO2 concentration in the Earth's atmosphere, 50ppm above what is considered a safe level. According to Canada's new advertising campaign website Go With Canada, our government is taking steps on environmental protection, climate action and industry monitoring. Reality paints a different picture.
Natural gas, being sold as a huge job creator is actually an employment deadbeat. While natural gas contributes fully 3.2% of our total GDP, its work force is tiny, just 3,500 souls, or .15% of provincial employment. Electrical equipment manufacturers employ more people in B.C. than oil and gas. Natural gas is shipped east through pipelines, so there are no trucking or ports benefits. And most of the $6 billion in natural gas earnings don't stay in B.C., but take a direct flight across the Rockies to Calgary. Which might explain why some B.C. politicians organize fundraisers there.
Gerry Protti, Alberta's new overseer of environment and safety in the province's oilpatch, has been central to a network of oil industry front groups and lobbyists for many years and it is raising the eyebrows of more than a few people. Protti was recently named as the new head of the Alberta Energy Regulator, a new provincial agency whose mandate, is "...to provide for the efficient, safe, orderly and environmentally responsible development of energy resources in Alberta."
In the past the BC NDP condemned the Liberal carbon tax policy without doing the hard work to address how an NDP government would address these challenges. Under the leadership of Adrian Dix it is now clear that an NDP government would take these issues very seriously and they have taken the time to carefully consider how the carbon tax needs to cover more greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that we not only reduce pollution but also build a stronger and more equitable economy for B.C. I'm impressed.
On April 25, 2013, renowned scientist Dr. David Suzuki attended the WFCU Centre to empower the crowd with his Wake Up Canada call. It's a campaign organized by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition to support a day of action, encouraging kids to advocate for their environmental future through the very media that overlooked them this time around.
When B.C. filmmaker Velcrow Ripper started making Occupy Love in 2009, some of his activist friends weren't sure what to make of his questions. How can the crises we're facing socially, economically and environmentally become - of all things - a love story? But as he continued to film social movements from the Arab Spring to the European Summer, Occupy Wall Street and environmental movements, he started seeing a shift, with more and more people responding: "Of course it's a love story."
Some people think a widespread shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources is not practical or even possible. And so we carry on, rushing to squeeze every last drop of oil and gas from the ground using increasingly difficult and destructive methods like fracking, deep-sea drilling and oil sands extraction, with seemingly little concern for what we'll do after we've burned it all.
According to Tourism Vancouver, in 2011 visitors to our city spent an estimated $92 million, and "cruise passengers increased by 15 per cent over 2010. Between May and October 2011, Port Metro Vancouver welcomed 663,425 passengers on 27 different vessels over 199 cruise ship calls." While Vancouver has many amazing attractions, restaurants and cultural centers, it is the ocean and all the nature around that bring people from all over the world to visit our city. Quite frankly, if it wasn't for the amazing oceanscapes and natural beauty, Vancouver would be nothing more than a small version of... wait for it... Toronto.
British Columbians clearly oppose both Kinder Morgan and the Northern gateway, but I wouldn't doubt we will see the pro-pipeline Harper federal government stick their nose into the B.C. election in the coming weeks, as they twist in the wind watching the fate of their beloved tar sands pipelines land right in the waiting hands of Adrian Dix and the NDP.