Archive for ◊ May, 2010 ◊

• Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Montreal plans to have its entire fleet of buses powered by electricity by 2025. Why will it take so long?

Source: CBC News

Montreal Transit Corporation (STM) executive director of operations Carl Desrosiers said Friday that, “It’s not achievable today because technology is not [there yet], but it will be achievable by 2025,” he told CBC News.

I find that hard to believe. There are currently more than 25 manufacturers of trolleybuses.

The STM plans to start testing the buses within two years to see whether they can stand up to Montreal’s winters.

Desrosiers says the buses are best suited for short trips. The electric buses would likely need to recharge for five to 10 minutes after each 10 to 15 kilometre-long trip, he said.

It is still unclear how much the electric buses would cost, but Desrosiers said in the long term they would ultimately pay for themselves with the savings in fuel consumption.

electric buses

On a person by person basis nothing makes a bigger difference to our carbon footprints than the reduction or even the complete elimination of using a passenger car daily. While we shouldn’t ignore the benefits of purchasing a new energy efficient appliance, adjusting our thermostats or ensuring unused lights are switched off all of these gesture pale into insignificance compared with reducing your driving by 70% or more. One person switching to public transit can reduce daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds per day or more than 4,800 pounds in a year, I won’t depress you and compare that to changing your light bulbs as all gestures matter – but the gasoline powered car is the single biggest individual green debt we use daily.
• Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Sustainable Fish in the SupermarketAs a big fan of eating fish, I am happy to see this. However, I am always nervous when some corporation defines what is “sustainable” farming or fishing.  From a corporate perspective, the practice is sustainable as long as it makes money.

However, from a human health and environmental preservation perspective, the same practice may not be sustainable.

Source: The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Supermarket chain Metro Inc. has adopted a new sustainable fisheries policy that will gradually eliminate the sale of threatened species beginning in September.

The Montreal-based operator of Metro, Food Basics and Super C stores in Quebec and Ontario said the new policy affecting fresh and frozen wild and farmed seafood products will be totally in effect by June 2011.

“Metro acknowledges that sustainable fisheries and the preservation of natural resources are vital for future generations,” said Robert Sawyer, chief operating officer.

In addition to eliminating the sale of some fish, the company will change its product labelling.

Metro said its “balanced policy” takes into account official scientific opinions, along with the views of “all stakeholders,” including governments, non-government organizations and suppliers.

The company said it consulted Jean-Claude Brethes, professor at the Institut des sciences de la mer of the University of Quebec at Rimouski.

Metro said it will only purchase fish whose renewal is ensured given their individual stocks and catch rates.

Fisheries and aquafarms supplying the chain will be forced to prove that they use sustainable fishing methods.

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• Sunday, May 02nd, 2010

I don’t intend to pick on Westmount since every community on the island probably has a similarly large ecological footprint.

Westmount Ecological Footprint

Westmount's Ecological footprint is the red, outer-most border

Nevertheless, it is just amazing when you look at the map above. The BLUE border is the physical size of Westmount. The RED border is the ecological footprint, or the size of the Earth’s resources it devours. The GREEN border represents the “ideal ecological footprint” according to some academic (see the full research here).

The source of Westmount's ecological footprintWhat’s the #1 source of this enormous ecological footprint? WASTE with 59% of the entire footprint! Waste has to be carried far away by gas powered vehicles and then stored in a place that takes space away from farms, towns and other productive spaces.

So, the #1 way to reduce your ecological footprint is to Compost! Yea, compost! It’s easy, it’s fun and you get empowered in the face of this ecological train-wreck called “modern, western life.”