Sunday, March 27, 2011

A successful BC Earth Hour, voting for an Earth Century

British Columbians turned off the lights for Earth Hour Saturday night, twice as many as did last year.  The benefits to the planet are significant:  the province reduced the provincial electricity load by 1.8 per cent, amounting to 117 megawatt hours of electricity.  More importantly, British Columbians showed an increasing commitment to doing something about climate change and the environment.
Perhaps they will continue their commitment by expanding Earth Hour to the Earth Century.  And on a smaller scale, voting for the planet in the upcoming provincial and federal elections. 

In my book, voting for the planet means voting resoundingly against the federal Conservative Party—the Oil Sands Party—and against the provincial Liberals, who despite a token, gutted carbon tax are overwhelmingly pro-development, anti-environment.

We shouldn’t let Stephen Harper and Christy Crunch, er, Clark, sell out the future of our children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vancouver the Green

Well, there it is, Vancouver gets the nod from the World Wildlife Fund as the keenest, greenest Canadian city.
According to the CBC News article:

The city is working towards a zero waste challenge and has started collecting household food scraps along with yard waste for composting.  City planners have been adding on to the labyrinth of bike lanes around the city and Vancouver is on the forefront of developing green roofs, including the new roof on the Vancouver Convention Centre that is home to a bee hive.

And the story has a transit connection.

According to City Councillor Andrea Reimer, Vancouver's advantage began decades ago when Vancouverites rejected a freeway into downtown—it was supposed to plow through the Strathcona neighbourhood and join up with the Georgia Viaduct at Main Street—which has forced more transit development and created more compact communities.

Vancouver scored 8.1 out of 10 on the World Wildlife Fund scale.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Canadians Think Green, Our Governments Think Business-As-Usual

Canada is falling behind in green job creation evidently.  I failed to notice, I guess, because I didn’t know Canada was in the business of creating green jobs.

They’ve been sniffing oil sand fumes on Parliament Hill for some time, so any green jobs emanating from the Conservative government (sorry, Harper Government) are just the flicker of green amidst the psychedelic of an oil slick.

The federal government’s plan for job creation has us building fancy new playgrounds and closing down schools.

Can’t say what colour those jobs are.

Here in British Columbia, after a handy green bait-and-switch involving a carbon tax—sufficient to unbalance the green lobby and finesse the last election—the provincial Liberals have been continuing on the environmental business-as-usual track. 

So no green jobs there.

80% of Canadians accept that climate change is real and that climate scientists are right.  That means, I would presume, that overwhelmingly Canadians think we should do something about it.

The trouble is that that 20% minority of Canadians who disagree with the scientific consensus seem to make up a majority of our elected officials.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Avoid Monday’s Annual Daylight Savings Traffic Carnage – Take a Bus

Daylight savings time begins tonight, or Sunday 1 a.m. technically. 

Which means that Monday morning we can expect the annual traffic carnage resulting from the entire nation of Canada (except the wise heads in Saskatchewan) driving to work with an hour less sleep.

They are losing sleep south of the border as well, and not just because of Republican science policies.

Be afraid.  Be almost afraid.  Bumper car nation *gasp!* is coming your way.

Avoid the carnage and take a bus.  (Good for the planet, too.)


Read about the dangers of Daylight Savings Time in the New England Journal of Medicine here:  Daylight Savings Time and Traffic Accidents

Monday, March 7, 2011

Faint Hope with Antarctic Melting

A new study suggests that West Antarctic ice may be more stable than previously believed since scientists have uncovered evidence that parts of the ice sheet survived the last interglacial warming period some 125 thousand years ago.  The results of the new study don’t appear to accord well with other studies, however, which show a sea level rise consistent with a melting West Antarctic ice sheet during the last interglacial.  What the true interpretation is will have to be determined by future studies. 

David Sugden at the University of Edinburgh who headed the new study says that melting around the edges of the ice sheet is likely to occur regardless of whether the central parts can survive global warming.  The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet, plus the melting in Greenland, is already on course to double the sea rise predictions made by the IPCC in 2007.

Best to trade your sea side cottage for one further inland.  And those folks living just south of me on the Fraser delta might want to raise their dykes and levees up two or three metres….


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The open pit mine & the mind of the new premier: ominous signs for the environment in British Columbia

Christy Clark, the newly elected leader of the provincial Liberals, says she wants to revive the Prosperity gold-copper mine project near Williams Lake.
    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency already held sixty days of hearings about an earlier version of the mine, and rejected it resoundingly.
    Tsilhqot'in Tribal Chair, Chief Joe Alphonse said, "The panel's report was the most damning the CEAA has ever released against a proposal.  It highlighted in detail the extensive violation of First Nations rights that would occur and the devastating impact that this lake- and ecosystem-killing open-pit mine would cause with its massive 35 square kilometre, footprint on a pristine wilderness area."
    It has been merely two days since she was selected to be premier of the province.  If reviving an open-pit mine proposal is an example of what Christy Clark’s leadership is going to look like in respect of the environment, then the environment is in deep trouble in British Columbia.