A rant on carbon

14 02 2016

Yesterday a woman mentioned that this past weekend she’d bought gas for $0.67/litre. She likely expected me to join her in celebrating how great that was, but instead I fell silent as I was thinking…

HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO SLOW CLIMATE CHANGE WITH GAS PRICES SO LOW!?!

I know, I know. It doesn’t make any sense to be complaining. With every cent of savings I should be breathe a little easier knowing that I’ll have a few extra bucks in my tight budget. After all, having a car and driving nearly everywhere seems to be an unfortunate reality of living rurally. But rather than relief, I’m more worried than ever. With fuel being cheaper than it’s been in quite a while, there is even less incentive for folks to make that effort to carpool or to think twice about an extra trip to the city.

I once thought that perhaps climate change might be resolved by diminishing oil supplies, that we’d just run out, or even before that oil will be so precious and expensive that we’ll be forced into alternatives. Now, it appears that’s not necessarily the case. A much more urgent matter is the impacts if we continue to burn all the fossil fuels we have. Sea levels will continue to rise, natural disasters will occur at even more horrific frequencies and intensities, and people will be displaced. Of course, the people who are benefitting from fossil fuel use (i.e. oil execs) are unlikely to be the ones displaced because they can afford to live wherever they’d like.

Seems to me like a mighty fine time to introduce a carbon tax, and to use those tax revenues to develop public transportation infrastructure (and create jobs), clean and community-owned renewable energy projects and low-carbon industries.

But wait! What about those rural dwellers that don’t have access to public transportation? In urban areas, transportation is a public issue, while in rural areas it’s mostly a private one that must be absorbed by the individual. So, it seems unfair to put the cost of greenhouse gas emissions strictly on the shoulders of rural folks that are already under economic pressures to keep their communities alive in the face of urbanisation and out-migration. As Fay Martin recommends in her paper on migration decisions of rural youth in Ontario (2013), the government could offer an income tax deduction equal to the vehicle costs for at least one car per household in places where there is no public transportation, and offer an even greater deduction for those with fuel-efficient or electric vehicles.

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An end to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline

30 04 2012

Why? I have visited the Great Bear Rainforest and it is one of the most magical places I have ever been! As convenient as it is to take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach to energy (as we usually like to do), it is not fair and we should no longer tolerate it. Also, there are alternatives. Use the Burrard Inlet, a route that is much safer, more easily accessible and already has tankers entering and exiting. In addition, why not refine the oil in Canada and export a finished product. Not only would we be creating more jobs domestically, but we would also be transporting a safer substance! Canadians have spoken loud and clear, so it is time for Enbridge shareholders to listen.

Spirit Bear standing in a river in the Great Bear RainforestFor the past year and a half, friend and fellow Quest student Magdalena Angel has been organizing and fundraising for the Great Bear Youth Paddle with both Quest students and youth from Hartley Bay to celebrate the land and say NO to the pipeline.