Opinion

Plenty of ways to shut this carbon buster up

As a climate change activist, I am tired of stapling posters (illegally), onto Duncan telephone poles. Sorry about that Mayor Kent.

And I am tired of rallies being portrayed — often, and unfairly — as too negative and, well, too activist.

For example, I scared a very elderly lady by yelling too loudly during the anti-Harper demonstration at Brentwood College last fall. In my defence, I didn't realize how easily my voice penetrated her closed car window.

Madam, I was simply asking you to take my list of climate change questions to Mr. Harper. Well, I guess that was a "mission impossible", so I am sorry.

Honestly, my journey from oil sands consultant to carbon buster happened only due to the failure of governments to deal with climate change; and the failure of Suncor, my client, to be honest about the impacts of bitumen and pipelines on climate change.

So I quit.

But we have seen progress. Cowichan Valley Regional District has its Twelve Big Environmental Ideas, including the reduction of carbon emissions. The City of Duncan has bought carbon credits. And North Cowichan has its Climate Action and Energy Plan which will reduce citizen's greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

And inevitably, the news is increasingly dominated by tragic climate change events — floods, fires, vicious storms, droughts, and wars. Most people now understand that our climate is a wounded duck that needs loving care, and less carbon pollution.

So my climate change activism may not be needed. I want to be positive.

One clear solution to climate change is to install solar photo voltaic in our homes and everywhere we can. For the first time in B.C., electricity from solar panels is competitive with energy from fossil fuels, and even with hydro power.

Hey, this is not rocket science, solar pv panels are jumping across the world's rooftops like lighted reindeers during Christmas. Let's form a group of homeowners to buy solar pv panels in bulk, like I did with solar hot water units a few years ago.

If you participate, you will likely make a profit by selling electricity to BC Hydro – and also increase your home's value.

Next, let's form a solar co-op and install numerous panels on some land — perhaps as a part of our retirement pensions as they do in Europe, higher hydro rates mean higher profits.

Finally, a committee of citizens should work with the municipalities to investigate a publically-owned solar pv electric utility as allowed under provincial Bill 27, and as recommended by the North Cowichan Climate Action Plan.

We can make energy and money from the sun in our own backyards and our politicians can brag about creating local jobs.

We can buy electric cars and plug them into our own houses and thereby reduce the need for BC Hydro to build the $7 billion Site C Hydro Dam.

We can reduce the world demand for oil and gas and the need for oil pipelines and gas fracking — and so heal the planet. Wow.

Contact cowichancarbonbusters@shaw.ca and get involved. Put climate change activists like me out of business. Please.

Peter Nix is a Maple Bay based Cowichan Carbon Buster.

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