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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Earth

I’m an old lady, so I’ve lived on this planet for a fairly long time.
I live in Alberta, so I know how much the people of this province depend upon the “oil patch” for their fuel, and for their livelihoods.
I am, however, old enough to remember when it wasn’t like this. I remember when Albertans were moving to British Columbia for jobs. The oil hadn’t been discovered yet. I am a British Columbian, and some of our dearest friends were Albertans who’d had to move.
Then suddenly, the oil boom happened, and young people were leaving BC in droves, searching for jobs in the almighty oil-patch.
Now, people across the country have been made aware of the danger to our entire country posed by leaks in oil lines, by accidents with tanker trucks, or, to our horror, an oil train explosion.
The health implications are horrendous. The dangers to the planet even worse.
“Oh, you tree-huggers want us to lose our jobs,” say the angry Albertans, most of whom would lose their jobs if the transportation and use of oil as a fuel is stopped, so I understand their feeling.
But moving oil by any means must, nevertheless, be stopped.
For the sake of the planet, it must be stopped.
There is only one answer, and it is not easy. It will cost the country and the provinces a lot of money. It will cost oil barons a lot of money. And it will cost oilworkers their jobs.
There is only one answer, and it is retraining those oilworkers to build wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal heating.
Europe is doing it. 
Yes, countries are smaller in Europe, but there are leaders in those small countries who know a change must be made, so they’re making it.
Re-training, subsidized by the federal and provincial governments, will not cause mass unemployment if done in connection with the building of a new power structure...solar, wind, and geothermal power are the answer.
Take a look at what has been accomplished in Europe...European countries are more densely populated, but almost any roof can support solar panels, and even the most populated countries are still finding places for wind turbines.
“Ooh, they’re ugly.”
“I don’t like them.”
“Not in my back yard.”
Okay, maybe not wind turbines in back yards, although I might welcome one here in our large yard when our old dog has no more use for it. And geothermal heating causes an upheaval in peaceful suburban and even urban landscapes, but only for the short time, not for the long term.
Ah, yes, solar panels...my husband says they’re not worth the investment because they’ll never pay back the cost of installation. Yes, he’s right, we wouldn’t recoup the cost because we are, as I mentioned, not young any more. But would solar panels on our south-facing roof increase the value of “this old house”? Indeed, they would.
Besides, the cost should not be a major factor.
Cost not a factor?
What kind of old nasty hippy commie freak am I?
The kind who, although I love my creature comforts, such as they are, would like the planet to be safe for our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

8 comments:

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

"There is only one answer, and it is retraining those oilworkers to build wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal heating."
You are right! And tax break for installing them. We'd love solar power, but it wouldn't pay us back by the time we die or move!
They have laid off 35,000 in Alberta. They have to do something different.
They installed a lot of turbines on Wolfe Isl, here in S. Ontario. People still complain.
They've been trying to rebuild the Hydro dam in Bala, ON, but local have been fighting it for over 5 years. Shameful, really.
Glad to see you back!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wonderfully said, my friend.

Red said...

For an elderly Albertan you sure have your head screwed on the right way. I know as I'm another elderly Albertan (REd Deer). Alberta is a great place but it's going to have to be dragged kinking and screaming into reality.

Mara said...

My sister has solar panels and the other day we saw somebody else in her neighbourhood put them on their roof. Although the cost of buying and installing them has not been returned yet, she does get money back from the electrical company every single month, including the winter months!

Most electricity here in Norway is generated by water, so if it has been a dry year, the prices go up, if it is a wet year (like right now), the prices usually go down a bit.

The oil industry has been hit quite hard over here in Norway as well. Most of Norway's riches come from oil and natural gas and the low prices of late, have really hit hard. There are some wind turbines, but I have never seen a solar panel here. I wouldn't mind a small wind turbine in my back yard to provide me with my own electricity though, it's windy enough in these parts.

Hope you had a great Christmas with your family.

Janice Adcock said...

Agree. Choose to use Wind generated electricity. Drive a hybrid. Do what I can to help the planet.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
YAAAAYYYYYYYY...am a huge fan of wind turbines and solar technologies. Which are getting cheaper and more effective each passing year. The trouble is getting the oil barons and petrol magnates and every other greed-based, power-hungry elements to release their monopoly. For heaven's sake, they are muttering, community empowerment (literally)??!!! Whatever would happen to our billions????? ..... Nice post Kay &*> YAM xx (who is back in Edinburgh and heading back to Dunoon tomorrow - hopefully.)

Powell River Books said...

We use both solar and wind. We just did a calculation on our electricity cost factoring in our wind turbine, solar panels, backup generator and gas, and battery storage banks. Roughly, amortized over 10 years (the life of the batteries) it costs us about $75 a month. For that we get enough electricity for a few lights and the ability to recharge and run our small devices like radios, phones, television monitor, Internet booster, etc. Those things make life more pleasant, but we can't use large electric appliances and if we want to use power tools we have to run them direction off the gas generator. In comparison, our condo in town with things like a stove (used rarely), refrigerator (runs all the time), baseboard heat (on low all winter long), and lights (when we are in town) runs at about $50 a month. As you say, if cost was not a factor (or you had to off the grid) generating and storing your own power would be a good idea. I believe some of the city versions do not involve batteries, the largest cost. In that case, generating and using some of your own power and diverting the rest to the electric company for a credit might make sense. - Margy

David Gascoigne said...

Bravo! I salute you for this post. Brave words for an Albertan.