To be clear, I’m not a typical donor of financial aid to causes such as catastrophic floods, earthquakes and famine; I find that, for the most part, the developed world concerns itself enough financially and materialistically with these worthy crises. Meanwhile, I’m the type who’ll occasionally donate to that causes towards which governments give extremely little, if anything at all – i.e., the humane treatment of animals.
However, I’ve found myself, during the last decade, becoming rather jaded towards all charitable causes, especially ones overseas where donations may have to give governing thugs a very large chunk of all proceeds: Through the news, I’ve heard about how little of a donor’s generous financial gift often actually makes its way through the frequently-dense administration departments of some charities. And this fact applies to all three main types of causes involving people, animals and the environment.
Indeed, I’ve heard of cases, and there are likely far more besides them, where as little as five percent (if even that) of the original donation actually accomplishes the donor’s goal of aiding the starving and suffering, or attempting to improve Earth’s apparently-dying eco-systems.
It appears that all of the solicitors – who take up the lion’s share of every donated dollar – expect a usually-inflated “fair wage,”and, worst of all, the head-honchos are well known to be raking in six-figure salaries! All the while, who knows how many of the donors are actually themselves unemployed!
And as African children, for example, are now starving to death, I hear CBC Newsworld commentators actually (at least appearing) bewildered as to why “there seems to be so little foreign aid compared to usual.”
Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
Plans to incinerate Metro Vancouver’s garbage are not going over well in Fraser Valley communities like Abbotsford and Chilliwack. This is not surprising considering the fact that pollutants released into the Lower Mainland’s air always end up hovering over the Fraser Valley where they become concentrated.
People in the Fraser Valley fought hard to stop the Sumas 2 project a few years ago. They were equally relieved when it was announced that Burrard Thermal was being permanently shut down (once the biggest single source of greenhouse gas pollution in the whole province). So why would they be happy to hear about plans to incinerate Metro Vancouver’s garbage?
To be fair to supporters of the garbage incineration plan, electricity would be generated through the incineration process. But BC has more than enough renewable green energy resources that we’ve barely even begun to tap into.
Supporters of the incinerator plan might also point to jobs being created. But many more jobs would be created by tapping into BC’s renewable energy resources.
Therefore, jobs and electricity from any garbage incineration plan would essentially cancel out, which leaves us with air pollution as the only distinguishing feature of the incinerator plan. And if that’s the case, then perhaps a better plan than incinerating Metro Vancouver’s garbage downwind of Fraser Valley residents still needs to be found.
Port Moody BC
Anyone who has been camping lately will have noticed that many campers are starting to make use of solar energy panels. These panels are not cheap, but they are clearly making inroads through a growing awareness and interest in renewable energy, combined with marketplace innovation and ingenuity.
Battery storage is also starting to make great strides and prices are likewise coming down, and for the same reasons. Just look at the battery in your cell phone compared to the first cell phone you may have owned.
This is good news for people in those parts of the world (even here in remote BC communities) where there is no electricity grid and where the electricity they do have typically comes from diesel generators. Combining a local renewable energy source with battery storage has the potential to greatly improve the lives of these people and eliminate their dependence on diesel power.
Obviously, in hot, dry places, solar power makes sense as a renewable energy source, and it could be used to pump water for improved irrigation and improved crop yield.
Equally obvious, in wet, windy places such as can be found here in BC, hydro and wind energy make sense. These renewable energy sources could improve living conditions in remote BC communities and also expand economic opportunity and job possibilities. And all of this is becoming possible through the innovation and ingenuity that thrives in a free market environment.
Properly motivated, the free market is an unrivalled tool for bringing down costs, improving quality, and increasing supply. Solar panels for campers and ever-smaller, more powerful batteries for cell phones are just a small taste of what the free market has in store for us as awareness and interest in renewable energy continues to increase and drive demand in a changing global economy.
Yolanda Lora Vilchis
Like it or not, the world is quickly heading toward a post-carbon era. The future will therefore belong to those who can power their economies with the cleanest, most cost-effective, energy available. That’s probably why Ontario (my home province) is madly scrambling to shut down its carbon-intensive coal-fired electricity generators and replace them with whatever solar power and wind energy they can manage to scrape together, and paying exorbitant prices for the solar power.
Admittedly, Ontario’s push for clean energy is largely about job creation in the present, and rescuing Ontario’s manufacturing sector. Manufacturing solar panels has been seen as a way to revive Ontario’s manufacturing sector while also encouraging clean energy, even though energy from solar panels is one of the most costly forms of clean energy.
The obvious question that needs to be asked, then, is how will a province like Ontario, with meagre and fairly costly clean energy resources, be able to compete over the long term with a province like BC that is rich in low-cost clean energy resources? Many are asking questions like this and pondering possibilities and long term solutions.
For example, Manitoba and Quebec, like BC, are rich in clean energy resources and are already exporting affordable clean energy to the American east coast and Midwest. Would Ontario be better off to secure an affordable supply of clean energy from these provinces to power their future economy rather than staking their future on solar panels?
And what about Alberta? Exporting carbon-intensive oil and gas has generated great wealth for Alberta. But how will their economy fare in a post-carbon world? Will elusive carbon storage schemes pan out for them, or will the coal-fired generators they’ve been rushing to build before tougher carbon standards come into effect end up being costly white elephants?
As with Ontario, would Alberta be better off securing a long term supply of affordable clean energy from a clean energy dynamo like BC rather than desperately trying to squeeze in a few more coal-fired plants before the gate closes?
I don’t have all the answers, but solutions do exist for powering our provincial economies in a post-carbon era. But to find and implement these solutions, people, and especially politicians, will need to start thinking beyond the confines of their own borders and work toward a national clean energy strategy that makes the best use of our country’s unevenly distributed clean energy wealth. If we can work together as a nation and achieve this goal, the future will unquestionably belong to all of Canada.
East Vancouver, BC
I was pleased to discover, and quite recently, that BC now gets some of its electricity from BC wind farms. BC was the last province in the country to get wind farms despite having some of the best locations for wind energy in the country. However, I was not nearly as pleased to find out how much electricity is flowing into our homes from coal fired generators in the United States and Alberta.
I do understand that buying cheap coal power from outside BC at night, when demand is low and the supply is high, helps to keep our BC electricity rates low (coal burning plants are apparently difficult to shut down once they are at operating temperature, so they keep them running all the time). But if we’re purchasing coal power just because it’s cheap and available aren’t we just as guilty of polluting the air as those who burned the coal?
Energy from the wind is clean and free, and it’s not going to leave a big environmental problem for our kids and grandkids to sort out. The same cannot be said for the energy from burning coal. That should make it obvious which energy path we should be pursuing. Wind energy seems like an ideal energy source for BC and we’re fortunate to have it as one of our clean energy options.