Monday, April 29, 2013

We CAN save Linley valley and other valued areas

One Linley Valley pond -soon to be lost?
The area pictured here, complete with a beaver dam -yet tucked out of sight- will be destroyed by a proposed housing development this year. Public opposition to the plan is fierce. 

Yet the land is privately owned, and the city says it cannot afford to buy it. Competing interests are at work here: tax-payers money, company profit, recreational opportunities, and the future of the beavers and the many others that call this valley home.

There are a number of ways that all these interests can be satisfied. Provincial subsidies of the oil and gas industry (about $350 million each year) could instead be used to buy valuable urban spaces such as Linley Valley and the Colliery dams. 

Nanaimo is not alone is its concerns about lost urban green spaces. As populations increase pressure only grows on what remains of park-land like areas. Yet green spaces are proven to improve our health and attract companies, amongst other benefits.

Some ingenious solutions have also been proposed by Calvin Sanborn of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria. Park-land acquisition could be funded through such measures as using un-claimed pop bottle refund deposits, having governments match land trust donations, and making it easy to donate to such important green spaces by one's will. Read more about his excellent ideas in this recent Tyee edition.

I agree: The province urgently needs to create a province-wide greenways initiative.

The Green Party and I propose another solution. Make the present carbon tax function as it is intended: tax what is "bad" (pollution, greenhouse gases) and give those funds to what is "good" (robust public transportation, R&D of renewable energy such as tidal energy, dedicated bicycle paths, building of local farmers markets, incentives to building-owners to reduce energy consumption, and purchasing valuable land such as this. The net result of a true carbon tax is profits for clean companies, better air and water quality, better food, greater self-sufficiency, better health outcomes for people and wildlife, more local business, and parkland that attracts businesses and tourists to a beautiful city.
The Linley Valley group's Facebook page can be found by clicking here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Position on Smart Meters

A few organisers who oppose B.C.’s smart meters have been making false statements about me and what I believe about the meters. So that the public might be aware of what truly is my position, rather than trust the gossip circulating, this is what I actually believe about these meters.

The wireless meters that have been installed on most of our homes and buildings have certain advantages as well as possible dangers. While it has been many years since I graduated from B.C.I.T. my speciality was in electronic telecommunications.

For the amount of money BC Hydro spent on the meters they should have been hard-wired (not wireless). This would have greatly alleviated concerns about privacy and especially EMF (electromagnetic energy). EMF waves are potentially harmful to human and other life-forms. However, there is a great deal of debate presently occurring about what frequencies and what intensities may be harmful.
In the meantime the precautionary principal should be invoked; namely, a new technology that has potentially harmful consequences should be avoided until it can be proven NOT to be harmful. On this basis the wireless meters should not be installed.

It is for this reason that I rarely use a cell phone, have hard-wired my computers (no WI-FI in my home), shield myself from portable phones except when in use, shield myself from an office power bar that carries several chargers, and have shielded the walls and windows of my office (cell phone coverage is limited inside!).  Despite being told this, some continue to lie about me –falsely claiming that I am completely in acceptance of EMF.

Now the advantages. Smart meters (of whatever kind) do offer positives. The advantages include a much faster feedback of information to the homeowner, enabling the homeowner to better determine where their electricity is going, and how much is being used, and thus be able to improve their home’s energy efficiency. On average, the savings for the interested homeowner or renter is more than 10%! Other advantages include being able to program one’s future electric car so that in an emergency (and with the owner’s permission) electricity can be extracted from that battery in order to stabilise the grid. Or to charge the car battery when the price is at the lowest (in the middle of the night, should time of use be instituted). This feature helps to reduce the peak load on the grid, saving us all money while improving the reliability of the grid.  There are other advantages as well.

Because I have promoted the advantages of the meters (wireless or otherwise) some people have construed this to mean that I am only a proponent of the meters. Unfortunately for some of those who have become so zealous of their position, they have been unable or unwilling to understand anyone who has not totally agreed with them.

It seems to me that if people wish to convince others of their position they would do well to be truthful about those with whom they disagree, otherwise their shrill message and lack of integrity utterly undermines their message. If they can misinform people about one thing it is possible that they can about other things.

Lastly, there appears to be a fundamental disconnect between their concerns and the way they treat others whom they consider to be opponents. If they do not wish to have smart meters attached to their homes because they consider the meters to violate their beings, why is it that they feel justified to similarly violate the well-being of their opponents by gossiping about them, spreading false-hoods, and treating them with disrespect? 

If one wishes to be respected it behooves us all to treat each other with similar respect.