Cleaning Up Our Act

Water, air, soil – the main components of the big ball of matter we call the Earth.
Formed from floating atoms and molecules billions of years ago, our planet is treated by its human inhabitants as a toilet, a smokestack, and a garbage can.
Humans adulterate, besmear, corrupt, defile, dirty, […]

Conserve Energy Dollars

Conserve Energy Dollars
By MICHAEL JESSEN
Utilities are known for selling energy, but utilities know that the easiest energy to sell is conserved energy. Rather than spending millions building new electrical generating facilities, utilities like FortisBC encourage their customers to use less. That “less” becomes an inexpensive source of new sellable power.
October is the month to conserve […]

On the Podium

VANOC was hoping to hit gold; instead the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games appears lucky to have made a podium appearance.
The David Suzuki Foundation was commissioned by VANOC in 2007 to produce a carbon management for the winter Olympics and the organization developed strategies for a carbon neutral games.
After […]

Avoid Wasteful Gift Giving

Avoid Wasteful Gift-Giving
By Michael Jessen

One Christmas when I was in Grade Three, I starred in a school play about some children who snuck down to unwrap presents under the tree well before Christmas morning. The parents – knowing this would happen – wisely put the practical gifts, not the toys, under […]

A Dubious Reward

Our Conservative federal government has an uncanny ability to find the sin in doing good.
Being responsible and undertaking right action usually merits a reward, but the recently announced Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) just makes one feel dirty.
A 2006 survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation found that almost 840,000 of […]

The Antarctica Challenge

It is Earth’s fifth largest continent, yet devoid of permanent human inhabitants. Bigger than the contiguous 48 United States and Mexico together, Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest place on the planet.
Containing approximately 87 percent of the world’s ice and 70 percent of the world’s fresh water, Antarctica is often […]

The Low-Carbon Path

We yak a lot about the economy in Canada these days when what we really need is more conversations about the low-carbon economy.
The news media gives us daily reports on the rise and fall of the stock markets; the fate of the Canadian dollar in relation to the American greenback is cause for constant concern.
Yet […]

Living the Answers

Life is full of questions – “what ifs,” “whys” and “how comes”.
Why is life filled with transience, uncertainty, and suffering? How can I make my life problem-free and fulfilling? What if climate change results in catastrophe?
How we approach such questions charts the journey of our lives. Conventional wisdom (also known as […]

Building Better Buildings

Almost all of us live and work in dumb buildings.
Our homes and workplaces are over-lit and under-insulated; their structural, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems are aging, outdated and inefficient.
They waste: resources, water and energy.
The result is heating and lighting bills that are 50 percent higher than they need to be.
With poor eco-IQs, our buildings not […]

Offsetting a Carbon Flight

Having spent 37 of the past 39 winters in B.C.’s Southern Interior, there does come a time when I think enough is enough.
Frosty is photogenic but freezing isn’t fun. Cross-country skiing is great exercise but so is swimming somewhere in a warm ocean. It’s the shoveling that eventually gets to me and this winter there’s […]