We live in a society where it is impossible to live a functional lifestyle and not consume products made from petro-chemicals every single day. As such, the notion that environmentalists -- such as Neil Young for example -- have no right to criticize oil sands developments, pipelines or fracking because they "choose" to heat their homes and drive cars is downright nonsensical.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to figure out that not everyone is going to agree with him and his government's policies -- and that's okay. Rock legend Neil Young is making his way across Canada this week on a high-profile concert series in support of First Nations who oppose further expansion of oil sands extraction into their lands. Harper, through his spokesperson, responded to Young's concerns with empty talking points, reiterating that the natural resource sector remains a "fundamental part of our country's economy."Okay. Thanks Captain Obvious. Why is it so hard for the Prime Minister to speak with people who disagree with him?
Soon, it won't make sense to not have solar on your house, on your office or on any spare building that faces South. It's simple math. The cost of electricity is going up while the cost of solar is going down. Way down. Thirty-five years ago a watt of solar photovoltaic power cost $75. Now it costs $0.75.
Citizens vote, not corporations or unions. Yet, if you look at who funds Ontario's three old-line parties at Queen's Park, you might think otherwise. Canadian democracy week is the perfect time to tell politicians at Queen's Park that our democracy should not go to the highest bidder. We need a ban on corporate and union donations to political parties.
Recently, a concerned parent pointed me to a film being shown to his child's sixth grade class, called The Story of Stuff. The movie, created in 2007, depicts a world in which big corporations, in cahoots with big government, pretty much destroy the entire planet and maliciously poison the environment for their own filthy ends. This is merely one example of how The Story of Stuff misleads.
A new report out today finds that environmental infractions by companies in the Alberta oil sands are addressed with an enforcement action far less often than similar infractions reported to the United State's Environmental Protection Agency. Of the more than 4,000 infractions reported in the oil sands, less than 1 per cent (.09 to be exact) were addressed.
Keystone is an "export pipeline" that will take tar sands oil from Alberta and pump it down to a tax-free zone in Texas and out to foreign markets. In other words, the EU, China and Latin America get the oil, the foreign-owned oil companies get the cash and North Americans get a few jobs and oil spills!
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.
Every UN nation -- 194 countries and the European Union -- is currently part to this agreement. Canada is setting a shocking precedent of climate ambivalence at a time when strong leadership is what is needed the most. All of us live in a world governed by a climate whose energy is becoming more dynamic and expressive by the year.
The creaking, turn of the century steam pipes at the University of British Columbia are transforming into a modern, modular low-carbon Lego style hot water system. The new hot water style heating system at UBC can now integrate renewable energy systems like biomass, geoexchange, solar thermal and waste heat into this natural gas system all because the barrier for entry is lower.