Showing posts from 2006

"Stop Cooking the Planet” Event

At least 25 people braved the monsoon rains to participate in the “Stop Cooking the Planet” event outside Kevin Falcon's breakfast speech. One TV station (Radio Canada/CBC) showed up and there was some good dialogue with people entering the event. Kevin Falcon, BC's transportation minister was discussing plans to increase BC's greenhouse gas emissions by building more freeways. I have photos of the event up at: If anyone wants higher resolution copies of the photos let me know.

Boing Boing and Wind RECs

A Boing Bonig post (later updated ) on Whole Foods selling Renewable Energy Certificates generated a fair amount of blog discussion. There have also been responses in a Treehugger post and a Sustainablog post. First in the interest of full disclosure – I am a co-owner of an organization that sells carbon offsets (although we are a co-operatively owned non-profit). To respond to some of the concerns: “...How can you even be sure the money will go towards wind energy...” Because these projects are audited by a third party and certified. The third party guarantees that the money will go towards wind energy. The auditing and certification is quite intensive and expensive. “...why perpetuate the idea that alternative energy costs more...” All legitimate offset programs must meet the criteria of “Additionality.” This means that offsets can only be used for projects that would not otherwise be financially viable. And the the offsets can only be used for the portion of the cost that

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Up-selling Pollution?

I have been car-free since '03, so occasionally I rent a car or use the local car co-op . Last week when I rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car , I dealt with an aggressive customer rep who insisted that I should upgrade to a larger less fuel efficient car. He implied that the small car that I had reserved was not available. When I asked if any other cars were available he only mentioned one but said it was booked out later that day. He became angry that I did not want the larger car and keeping stating that it would be more “fun.” Only when I started to leave the office did a small car magically become available. Not only was the this practice deceptive but it also has ecological consequences. If the rental agency aggressively encourages people to upgrade to larger vehicles that they don't need, they are encouraging unnecessary pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Six thousand people die prematurely in Canada each year from air pollution, thousands of children suffer he

2010 Vancouver Olympics Scar

2010 Vancouver Olympics Scar Originally uploaded by WestCoast TreeHugger . Construction continues on the new highway from Vancouver to Whistler. This section of construction destroyed a rare Arbutus ecosystem, wetlands that were home to an endangered frog species and migratory bird nesting habitat (an act that is illegal under Canada's wildlife act). All this despite a promise in the 2010 Olympic Bid to reduce the use of automobiles for the games.

Boycott Deakin Equipment?

Should we start a boycott of Vancouver's Deakin Equipment ? Photo by Sarah Pullman

fog in the cariboo

I drove east on an almost deserted highway to the town of Horsefly. Pickup trucks with bumber stikers that said "Piss off a Liberal - Buy a Gun" were parked beside neo-hippies from Spirit Dance. It was the first annual Arts, Music and Dance festival. I was disappointed with rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." But the local duet did a better job of Sarah McLaughlin. When I took shelter from the rain I met a family from Mexico that traveled to the Yukon every summer until they stopped in William's Lake. The last set was played by a blues band but no one danced the last song except for a young single mother and her daughter. They burnt TVs in a large bonfire. The fog rolled in from the mountains and mixed with the aroma of beer and pot. There seemed to be clarity around the bonfire or perhaps just echoes of Cohen's song. But in the bright sunshine of the morning the clarity of the fog was replaced with confusion. When I asked for the best way ho

Solar in North Vancouver

The first solar photovoltaic grid-tie system in North Vancouver is up and running.

Eagleridge Bluffs Protest in Court

Today the Eagleridge Bluffs Protest had its first day in court. About 150 people showed up to rally and many of them stayed for the start of the hearing. A few people offered support for the my sign which read, “Trains Not Lanes” and expressed their frustration with the tunnel option that the coalition seems to be emphasizing. The hearing had to be moved to a different court room due to the size of the crowd. When I left the lawyer for the concerned citizens was making the case that the construction contractors had broken their contract by not filing an Environmental Management Plan for the entire section that they were working on.

The Resurrection of Environmentalism?

In the year and a half since Shellenberger and Nordhaus released their famous (or infamous depending upon your viewpoint) essay on the “ Death of Environmentalism ” it has almost seemed like environmentalism has in fact died. There have not been large scale protests like the ones that lead up to and followed the WTO meetings in Seattle (at least not here in North America). And although there have been blockades in the forests they are much smaller than the “war in the woods” that occurred during the 80s and 90s. Environmentalists (and other activists) that I have talked to lately have been bemoaning both their own apathy and the apathy of others. The local weekly newspaper here even had an article in their most recent edition called “ Apathy is the new activism ” But perhaps the “Resurrection of Environmentalism” occurred Easter Monday in a most unusual location – West Vancouver, Canada's richest municipality. Hundreds of people gathered to protest the logging and construction of a

Climate Change Train Wreck

An ad that everyone should see: Found at Sarah Pullman's blog .

Highway one and triple convergence

I recently had a conversation with a friend ( Nancy Callan , author and environmental food activist ) about the expansion of highway one . I mentioned that freeway expansion rarely solves the congestion and often during peak hours congestion returns to previous levels in a matter of months. This occurs because of triple convergence (also here ). At the time I had forgotten what the three convergences were but after a little research here they are: many drivers who formerly used alternative routes during peak hours switch to the improved expressway (spatial convergence); many drivers who formerly traveled just before or after the peak hours start traveling during those hours (time convergence); some commuters who used to take public transportation during peak hours now switch to driving, since it has become faster (modal convergence)

Burrard Bridge Bike Lane Myths

Vancouver's new mayor and council has reversed the previous council's decision about the burrard bridge bike lane trial. I am finding that there are still a lot of myths out there about the bike lane trial: Myth: The electorate has spoken in opposition to the bike lane trials by electing the NPA. Reality: The only poll I saw showed that 50% of the population supported the lane reallocation trial. The other 50% was divided among those that were neutral or opposed the lane reallocation. So, only a minority opposed the bike lane reallocation. And even among those that opposed it I found many were confused about basic facts and would change their mind when given all the facts. Myth: The bike land trial is only supported by a “radical bike lobby.” Reality: The bike lane reallocation plan was supported by a board coalition that included: - the mainstream cycling groups in Vancouver - transportation policy groups that advocate for public transportation - one the most famous and