iamom: (Default)
I'm just listening to a CBC Radio One podcast of The Sunday Edition, hosted by Michael Enright, and one of the participants on his panel was describing how BC's new carbon tax works.

He said that the average person is responsible for about 5.4 tons (or tonnes? not sure which) of CO2 each year. At the moment, the price per ton (tonne?) of carbon offsets is only $20. So for about $110 per year, the average person can purchase enough carbon offset credits to negate his or her carbon emissions for the year.

In BC, each taxpayer is given a $100 cheque in advance of this carbon offset investment. Then everyone's taxes are increased by $100, and this $100 is put towards a carbon offset investment. In theory, this will make BC a carbon-neutral province!

Is this too good to be true? I'd like to hear more details about it.
iamom: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] audrawilliams, I've just read the following incredible article about Fort MacMurray:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/30/energy.oilandpetrol

It kind of makes me sick to my stomach. It's a long read, but it's worth it if you're interested in any measure in the tremendous oil sands development that's taking place up there, and in the effects that this new boom has had on the community and the people who are working there.

I'm from Calgary originally and have several family members who work in one form or another up in Fort Mac. Most of what I hear from them is how much money they make; one person I know grosses $30K each month with a simple business he runs that services the oil industry up there. And my mother is an accountant for an energy firm in Calgary that is setting up a project up there; she went on a site visit last year and was horrified by what it looked like. She said it was like visiting Mars or something, what with the great swathes of strip-mined surfaces; great strips of earth many kilometres long peeled back to reveal steaming beds of bitumen. It's a terrible and money-infused place up there, to be sure. One can't help but feel like people are selling their souls to make a fast buck up there.
iamom: (zoe light)
This is fairly awful, this video. It's a 2-minute montage that describes an environmentally violent method of coal mining that companies are using, in which they blow off the tops of mountains to get at the coal inside, and the rubble from the explosions falls down into the valleys and blocks up streams and such. I saw this originally in [livejournal.com profile] shannonkringen's LJ.

iamom: (nisargadatta in shades)
My father-in-law sent us a link to a Globe and Mail survey results page that posed the following question:

Are you prepared to make some sacrifice in your own standard of living to help fight global warming?

Yes, unequivocally.

8587 votes (27%) 8587 votes

Yes, but only if governments and industries around the world also join the fight.

20597 votes (64%) 20597 votes

No, global warming is occurring but we don't need to act right now.

1138 votes (4%) 1138 votes

No, I don't believe that global warming is occurring.

1951 votes (6%) 1951 votes

Total votes: 32273

In the e-mail, he indicated that he had responded "Yes, unequivocally," which spawned part of the following reply from myself:
Have you given any thought to what sacrifice you could make personally? It's not hard to support this idea in principle, but it's a lot harder to make the changes required to make a difference. Things like moving to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, driving less, altering your home, flying less, etc. The only areas I feel like I personally can make a serious difference are in using less gasoline and using less electricity. Beyond that, I feel a bit helpless.

But maybe I should watch Al Gore's doc about it. I heard an audio clip from it in which he asked the audience to consider living a carbon-neutral life, in which you reduce your own emissions by the greatest extent possible, then purchase carbon offsets for the remainder of your surplus.

More info on going carbon neutral can be found on this page of David Suzuki's site, and a Canadian carbon emissions calculator can be found here, with which you can calculate your own output.

Our own family's output, which I've just calculated, seems pretty high -- 8.57 tonnes -- with over half being generated by transportation and a third generated by heating. Thankfully when we move this spring, both of those will drop significantly because we'll heat with natural gas instead of oil, and our commuting distance will be cut by roughly three-quarters.
At times like this, when global warming is so prevalent in the news, I'm inspired to try and reawaken the [livejournal.com profile] energyconscious community. But at the moment, I know I haven't the time to do so.
iamom: (suntrees)
This is the first page in a series of gorgeous images of ANWR. Apparently these photos formed part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian which was subsequently removed for political reasons, but I don't know that whole back story. The photos are excellent, though. It's so beautiful up north.

FYI, [livejournal.com profile] edbook has been posting some fantastic winter shots lately, too.

Incidentally, I just read a quote that relates to environmentalism that I liked:
The earth has enough for the needs of all, but not the greed of a few.

-- Mahatma Gandhi
iamom: (carclub)
http://www.physorg.com/news82299918.html

What a neat idea! It's a new showerhead design that encapsulates little air bubbles with water, which creates the same feel as a regular shower but uses almost a third less water.
iamom: (suntrees)
This Roger Ebert review is the first I've heard of a new documentary starring Al Gore and directed by Davis Guggenheim which just premiered at Cannes to a warm reception. (Numerous additional resources are available via this Google search.) I sort of doubt that the film will ever get screened in Halifax, but it sounds like it's really worth watching. From Ebert's review:
It is not only an important film, but a good one. Guggenheim has found a way to make facts and statistics into drama and passion. He organizes Gore's arguments into visuals that overwhelm us. Gore begins with the famous photograph "Earthrise," which was the first photo taken of Earth from outer space. Then he shows later satellite photos. It is absolutely clear that the white areas are disappearing, that snow and ice is melting, that the shape of continents is changing. The polar areas and Greenland are shrinking, lakes have disappeared, the snows of Kilimanjaro have vanished, and the mountain reveals its naked summit to the sky for the first time in human history.
Al Gore introduces himself in the movie by saying, "I used to be the next president of the United States." When Ebert interviewed him on the Cannes media junket, he said:
"There is as strong a consensus on this issue as science has ever had. A survey of more than 928 scientific papers in respected journals shows 100 percent agreement. But a database search of newspapers and magazines shows 57 percent of the articles question global warming, and 43 percent accept it. That's disinformation at work.

"Even in the short run," he said, "we aren't heeding the warnings. Two or three days before Hurricane Katrina, the National Weather Service predicted a hurricane so severe it would create 'medieval conditions' in New Orleans. It issued clear warnings that the levees might be breached and the city flooded. Yet look what happened, and how slow the response was. Hurricane season starts again in a week."
In his review of the film, Ebert synopted a few facts presented therein as follows:
[After watching the film, you learn that] they drilled into the polar ice to extract an ice core that's a 650,000-year record of global climatic trends, and the current situation is going off the charts. There is no precedent. You learn that hurricanes in the Gulf and typhoons in the Pacific have suddenly escalated in frequency and strength. That rainfall patterns are being disrupted. That Arctic melting is having an effect on the Gulf Stream. That the 10 hottest years in history have been in the last 14 years. That the number of days annually the Arctic tundra has been frozen enough to support trucks has gone down from 225 to 75.
The film states that within the next 10 years the earth will reach a tipping point past which civilization cannot recover (i.e. the world will no longer function as we know it today). I suppose that's to be expected, but it still gives me pause for thought. And makes me glad I work from home and don't have to drive to work and such. Among other things.

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Dustin LindenSmith

January 2013

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