Archive for ◊ June, 2010 ◊

• Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I know this may sound strange considering that we live 1,300 miles from the Gulf, but we are responsible. If you drive a car, you are responsible. If you buy food imported from Mexico, California or South America, you are responsible. If you regularly take pharmaceutical medications, you are responsible.

You see, these habits, and many others, require oil and lots of it. All this oil is imported into Quebec one way or another. This demand for oil drives the hunger to find it, drill for it and extract it in places and situations that have eventually led to this disaster in the Gulf. It has the potential to kill vast quantities of life and food (I have heard possibly 68% of ocean life).

Ultimately, this disaster is not about oil or looking for energy sources. It is about our society and how we have organized ourselves to live a self-destructing, unsustainable way of life. The sooner we re-organize ourselves and take back the power to live autonomous, fulfilling lives, the better off we will be.

If a society cannot deal with resource depletion (which all societies are to some
degree designed to do) the truly interesting questions revolve around the
society, not the resource.
~Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies~

“Change” President Unwilling to Tackle US Oil Addiction

Source: Spiegel Online

And there is also a simple reason that BP and other oil companies are drilling at depths of up to 1,500 meters (4,900 feet), far from the coast. They are servicing a greed for cheap energy and resources that fuels 250 million automobiles on America’s roads, keeps the country’s countless air-conditioners running and provides water for fantasy cities in the middle of deserts. There are 300 million Americans — around 5 percent of the global population — but they consume around 25 percent of the world’s oil.

As long as this thirst for energy persists, there will be no end to the costly gamble that oil production has become. Shortly before the Gulf catastrophe, Obama himself loosened regulations for coastal drilling.

With his address on Tuesday, the president had an opportunity to initiate a rethink of America’s approach to oil. But he preferred to stay vague — probably in no small part because he doesn’t want to come across as haplessly as Jimmy Carter. In 1979, the former president gave a similar address from the Oval Office. At the time, the US was suffering from an acute shortage of oil, the economy was in crisis and Carter’s presidency was also wavering. “Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?” Carter asked, pensively.

Americans Don’t Want to Change

That’s not the kind of thing Americans want to hear. In 1980, voters drove Carter out of office. In his speech, Carter called for 20 percent of the United States’ energy to come from solar power by 2000 and for an end to dependence on foreign oil. Today, only 1 percent of the energy America consumes comes from solar power, and two-thirds of its oil is imported from abroad.

• Sunday, June 06th, 2010

The Montreal Nature museums (Insectarium, Botanical Garden, Biodôme and Planetarium) will stop selling bottled water in their gift stores. It takes more than 47 million gallons of oil to produce plastic water bottles for Americans every year. Eliminating those bottles would be like taking 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. (source: Food and Water Watch)

Plastic water bottles are rarely recycled and often end up in landfill or floating in the vast ocean waste stream killing fish.

stainless steel water bottleFinally, plastic bottles are unhealthy for humans. They leach chemicals into the water that you drink leading to hormone disfunction or even cancer.

Stainless steel water bottles are a solution. The best one I found is made of surgical grade stainless steel, the highest quality available. It also comes in a backpacker-style wide-mouth design that I love. It is big and holds 38oz of liquid.

If you’re worried about the “carbon consequences” from buying a steel bottle, the manufacturer, Guyot Designs, has a program called C-Minus where they offset the carbon emitted from making the bottle. Every bottle they produce carries 100lbs of verified green house gas emissions reductions – making their bottles not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative!

Other highlights:

  • Fair labor and fair wages were used in making this product.
  • It’s 100% recyclable.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Lifetime warranty.
Category: Water  | One Comment
• Thursday, June 03rd, 2010

This is great news and shows true leadership from an entrepreneurial company. In a province that produces some of the cheapest electricity in the world, this is almost a no-brainer. It is good for the sustainability of the local economy, is emissions free and is good for Communauto’s brand.

As a proud Communauto member, I can’t wait to try out these all-electric cars when they’re available.

Nissan Leaf Electric Car

Source: Communauto Press Release

Communauto to offer all-electric Nissan LEAF to clients in 2011
Carsharing pioneer to add first all-electric real-world car to fleet

Communauto, one of the world’s largest and North America’s first carsharing service, announced today a commitment to add 50 Nissan LEAFs to its fleet when the vehicle is available to the Canadian market before the end of 2011.

“By offering the all-electric Nissan LEAF next year, Communauto is reconfirming its environmental commitment to our more than 20,000 users,” said Benoît Robert, President of Communauto. “Our customers will soon be able to share the only real-world car with zero emissions and that brings together all the comfort, style and practicality that they are looking for.”

Communauto plans to integrate the Nissan LEAF into its fleet with the technical support of the Centre National du Transport Avancé (CNTA), at some locations in and around Montréal and Québec City. This is the first and largest all-electric self-service carsharing project to be announced in Canada.

“Nissan’s agreement to supply the LEAF to Communauto was facilitated by our MOU partnership with the Government of Québec, Hydro-Québec, Montréal, Québec City and the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec. The MOU and agreement with Communauto are a testament to the importance of establishing the strong relationships required to build a zero-emission community,” said Mark Grimm, President, Nissan Canada Inc.

Hydro-Québec will be implementing the charging infrastructure Communauto will need to keep the Nissan LEAFs fully charged when carsharers are on the go next year.

“When it comes to transportation, electricity is the way of the future. Thanks to the clean, renewable and reliable energy that we provide, Hydro-Québec can offer Quebecers a healthier environment,” explained Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Québec’s President and CEO. “The company is pleased to play an active role in transportation electrification and to contribute to the ecologically responsible initiative being launched by Communauto and Nissan.”