Blog Action Day 2009

Today is Blog Action Day and the topic for 2009 is climate change. It’s an interesting topic for me this week for 2 reasons, one international and one local.

On the international scale it seems my home country of Canada has become a bit of an example of how not to act regarding our responsibilities toward climate change. The other rich nations aren’t doing a whole lot better, but some are calling Canada a “rogue state” with respect to climate change, and there’s talk that frustration with Canada may have played a large part in a recent walkout by the G77 countries at a recent climate change summit in Bangkok. And why not? Our involvement in the tar sands means Canada holds the record amongst G8 countries for missing our Kyoto targets by 33.8%.

So what’s our problem? Our hunger for energy and money means we’re not doing enough to meet our responsibilities and promises. We simply can’t follow through on earlier political posturing when the chips are down.

This is a simplistic view, to be sure, especially with the state of the global economy. But we still have a ridiculous lack of vision and leadership from our government on these issues. There are alternatives to the dirty tar sands and investing and legislating for cleaner energy production will help put Canada at the forefront of this new technology development.

Which leads me to the local story. Vancouver is situated in an incredible location. I’ve seen few cities in this world that match it for its scenery and environment. A major icon of the city are the north shore mountains. You can always tell which direction you’re facing in Vancouver by locating these beautiful tree-covered peaks. The natural surrounds of Vancouver provide a reminder that most cities don’t have the luxury of.

So it was especially noticeable when the folks up at Grouse Mountain, a resort on one of the most prominent peaks, erected a 63 metre wind turbine. My first reaction was unpleasant. You can see this tower from much of the city and I felt it marred the natural landscape. But it’s been growing on me, especially as I consider what it signifies.

Here I am in a country trying to backpedal on its international commitments regarding climate change, but a local effort has put a prominent symbol of a new way of thinking where everyone can see it. I’ve heard differing reports on energy output, anything from enough for 240 to 400 homes, or 20% of the resort’s needs. Whatever it is, it sends a message that we need to consider and implement alternatives. It would be nice to see more encouragement from our leaders.

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