Saturday, April 20, 2024
April 20, 2024

Editorial: Sparking Action

It was easy to be encouraged at times during the past weekend’s Electrify Salt Spring! festival events. 

There was Harbour Air’s spiffy new battery-powered floatplane to admire. There was a round-up of all the things Salt Spring Community Energy (SSCE) has done in the past 10 years to facilitate increased solar use, like the array on our high school gymnasium and at the latest phase of Croftonbrook housing complex, and other carbon-lowering activities. There was an enlightening, funny and hopeful presentation by Bob McDonald of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, author of The Future is Now: Solving the Climate Crisis With Today’s Technologies.    

While the purpose of the Electrify Salt Spring! festival has been to educate the public, bringing them up to speed on how use of fossil fuels is being reduced and how they can be part of that change by incorporating solar energy into their home and other practical actions, Saturday’s panel discussion made it clear that some lobbying needs to be done and pressure put  on government agencies. 

For example, Harbour Air received some funding through the provincial government’s CleanBC initiative, but equivalent federal government support has not been forthcoming to date. And if improving the environment was not important to Harbour Air’s owner, Greg McDougall, it could be business as usual for the largest seaplane fleet operator in North America. Harbour Air made a carbon-neutral pledge way back in 2007. That company’s actions are making a tangible difference. 

BC Ferries needs to hear from us that using the electric-propulsion capabilities of its new Island Class ferries is important and not just a pipedream. BC Hydro needs to be pressed to make required changes in order to service higher demands of an electrified transportation system as soon as possible.

Senior levels of government need to know that the public isn’t satisfied with hearing how X number of dollars have been earmarked for the transition to a low-carbon future. We want to see those funds being spent on tangible projects. 

McDonald made it clear that Canadian companies are deeply involved with developing new technologies that can help reduce the emissions that are driving catastrophic climate change. They need as much support as can be mustered, without wasting tax dollars, of course, to start bringing down emissions numbers not just in B.C. or Canada but around the world. 

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