Cycling has boomed during the pandemic, but do we have the infrastructure to make it safe?

Cycling has boomed during the pandemic, but do we have the infrastructure to make it safe?

Victoria has the best cycling infrastructure in BC  |  Adrian Williams photo, Upsplash

Cycling has boomed during the pandemic, but do we have the infrastructure to make it safe?

By Gavin MacRae

Maybe it’s a close call at an intersection, a stretch of winding road thick with distracted rush-hour drivers, or a painted bike lane that dies into a busy turning lane. Whatever it is, it feels sketchy, dissuades you from getting around by bike, and certainly doesn’t meet the CleanBC mandate for active transportation being “safe, easy, and convenient.”

Safe, easy, and convenient is what you get with proper, modern cycling infrastructure. Without it, “people are driving places that normally they could easily walk or bike. That tells you that the streets don’t feel safe,” says Kay Teschke, professor emeritus at the UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. “People feel they have to encase themselves in a metal box to go ridiculously short distances.”

And with the COVID-19 pandemic prompting more people to choose pedal power over public transit and ridesharing services, cycling infrastructure is more important than ever.

So what infrastructure is safest for bikes (and e-bikes and mobility scooters), and how do you get it?

Is it safe?

Unsurprisingly, cyclists generally choose to ride routes that aren’t shared with motor vehicles. Research co-authored by Teschke found that cyclists and potential cyclists in Vancouver preferred to ride off-street bike paths or physically separated bike routes, and avoided riding on major streets or rural roads alongside moving traffic.

A second study by Teschke and others bears out this wisdom. Surveying 690 adults injured in cycling accidents in Toronto and Vancouver revealed that the type of cycling infrastructure can affect the risk of cycling injury up to 10-fold.

Off-street bike paths and dedicated, protected bike lanes alongside streets offered the safest ways to get around. The least safe routes were major streets without bike lanes and with parked cars, and major streets with “sharrows” – signs painted on the asphalt urging cars to share the road. Major streets with painted bike lanes stuffed between moving and parked cars were also risky, as were routes with major intersections, construction and train tracks.

“People need to ask: Would you ride [the route] with your 5- to 15-year-old?”

Speed, of course, was a huge factor as well. Intersections with traffic speeds over 30km/hr were more dangerous.

Cyclists’ perception of risks were usually correct, but the exception was multi-use paths – although preferred routes, they’re not particularly safe. However, Teschke says installing good night-lighting, reducing obstacles such as bollards, and straightening out unnecessarily curved pathways can go a long way to reduce the risk of injury.

The study found that just over three-quarters of the trips that resulted in injury were on weekdays, most were less than five kilometres long, and nearly three-quarters were collisions with motor vehicles, route features, people, or animals.

The take-home: if a cycling route doesn’t feel safe, that’s often because it isn’t.

“People need to ask: Would you ride [the route] with your 5- to 15-year-old?” Teschke says.

Another way to gauge the safety of cycling routes is with rider counts. Tell-tales signs of high-risk routes are a high percentage of male riders or the absence of parents with kids.

“If you’ve got cycling infrastructure that no one’s using, or if the predominant group who’s using it are adult males, you know that’s not safe cycling infrastructure,” Teschke says.

A special case is “paths to nowhere” – routes that can be safe but don’t see much traffic because they don’t connect to a larger cycling network that gets people where they need to go. This can be a problem for cities trying to grow their riding networks incrementally, Teschke says.

“If cycling infrastructure is not connected, every time there’s a break in the great infrastructure, that’s a no-go for many many people.”
Bikemaps.org is another tool to track cycling trouble spots. The free website lets users report and track collisions, near misses, hazards, bike thefts, and new cycling infrastructure on a global map.

Data from the exercise tracking service Strava is included, which helps to pinpoint where routes are risky or inconvenient enough to cause riders to detour. Bikemaps.org was founded by former UVic researcher Dr. Trisalyn Nelson and is maintained by a team of Canadian and American academics.

Comox Valley Cycling Coalition

Advocacy

So the bicycle commute to work or school, or trips to the grocery store could be safer. Now what?

A good start is to see if there is a cycling advocacy organization representing your community, and join it, says Colin Stein, executive director of the BC Cycling Coalition, an umbrella organization for nearly two dozen such groups. Cycling organizations, whether formal or not, can speak with a larger voice to command greater attention from local elected officials and staff, Stein says.

“One of the groups’ agenda items often is problem areas – gaps in routes, danger that needs to be addressed. People will pour on the anecdotes and bring photos and correlate with data from ICBC to show that this is a priority…. [Municipalities] rely on feedback from the cycling groups because it represents some of the richest data they can get … they take it seriously.”

A phone call, email, or letter to a mayor, councillor or to transportation planning staff should include three elements: a clear description of the problem, the requested change, and an inquiry as to what the next steps are.

Even with strength in numbers, there’s no magic formula to advocate for cycling infrastructure, but Teschke and Stein say it boils down to winning over municipal politicians and the staff in charge of transportation planning.

Both elected officials and staff are usually sincere in their pursuit of expanding active transportation, Stein says, and diplomacy and respect are the rule.

(Victoria is considered the clear leader in cycling infrastructure in BC, with the highest percentage of trips by bike in all of Canada. It’s such a cycling utopia that Teschke urges transportation planners from elsewhere in BC to visit in person and talk to the crack team in Victoria’s transportation planning department.)

A phone call, email, or letter to a mayor, councillor, or to transportation planning staff should include three elements, Stein says a clear description of the problem, the requested change, and an inquiry as to what the next steps are.

“Despite the cynicism that many people may find with their local government, elected officials and staff are there to make things better,” Stein says.

And good cycling infrastructure makes things better in many ways. Regular bike riders enjoy huge physical and mental health benefits, including a significant reduction in the likelihood of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes – saving the Canadian health care system many millions of dollars each year.

Every trip by bike also displaces car traffic, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and microplastic pollution from car tires.

Cycling infrastructure has economic benefits as well, with people travelling by bike shopping more frequently and spending more at local businesses, while proximity to cycling paths has been shown to boost property values.

According to a 2004 study from Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics, every dollar spent on cycling infrastructure can yield a 400-500 percent return.

The myriad benefits can build a solid case that overcomes cost considerations, Stein says.

“Stay on that argument – link it into equity issues, accessibility issues, environmental issues and even economic development issues …. Raise these issues to the forefront and say it’s not good enough to say ‘we don’t have enough money,’ because there are all these other factors we have to consider. That’s what can kill the financial argument [against cycling infrastructure].”

Cities and towns do get financial help from the province through the Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants program, which matches spending with municipalities for chosen “shovel ready” cycling infrastructure projects. In 2020-21 the grants totalled $9 million for 23 projects throughout BC.

That’s great, Teschke says, but at less than $2 per British Columbian, “The province needs to step up and put up a lot more money.”
Teschke suggests that considering 2.5 percent of trips in BC are made by bike, 2.5 percent of the province’s transportation budget might make a suitable baseline for cycling infrastructure spending.

Moving forward, Stein says it’s up to the province to take a far greater role. Planning and funding cycling infrastructure holistically would avoid a fragmented patchwork of safe bike routes separated by Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure roads that lack accommodations for cyclists.

“When you have municipalities with very limited funds, they can only build within their jurisdictions. That’s when you get the bike lane to nowhere, you get the big gaps, and that’s what turns people off cycling. So really the leader needs to be the province.”

But Stein says that in many jurisdictions in BC, politicians, planners, and engineers now understand the shifts that need to be made in favour of active transportation, and have the willingness to plan and build accordingly.

“After decades of struggle, this is starting to become a more popular – dare I say populist – issue, especially with e-bikes being such a game-changer for so many people,” Stein says. “So don’t hold back – write those letters, make those phone calls, send those emails. It really does make a difference.”

For more information: BC Cycling Coalition 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE CV CYCLING COALITION

— Promote the integration of cycling into the local and regional transportation network by upgrading the existing road and highway network, developing an interconnected system of cycling routes, and ensure all new developments provide safe and convenient cycling infrastructure.

— Promote cycling education for children and adults and cycling safety and awareness among cyclists as well as non-cycling road users.

— Promote the integration of cycling with other non-automotive modes of transportation, such as public transit, rail and regional bus transportation, walking and innovative low impact transportation systems (electric bicycles and scooters, etc.)

 

 

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Ocean farming: more food, less land, reduced GHG emissions

Ocean farming: more food, less land, reduced GHG emissions

Image of ocean farming from the Greenwave.org website

Ocean farming: more food, less land, reduced GHG emissions

By Gavin MacRae

The climate crisis will force a shift in where and how we get our calories. Farms in the future will need to produce more food on less land, all while cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

For Bren Smith, director of the non-profit group Greenwave, this transition means expanding our definition of farming to include the ocean. Smith is the driving force behind the zero-input aquaculture system known as vertical or 3D ocean farming.

The 3D part may sound techy, but Smith says the concept is simple. A grid of ropes extend from anchors on the seafloor to buoys on the ocean surface. A horizontal rope scaffold is fixed off the vertical lines.

Supported by the horizontal ropes, seaweeds grow interspersed with cages for shellfish such as scallops and mussels. Oyster and clams grow in cages below on the seafloor. The resulting symbiosis produces high yields of diverse species on a small ocean footprint.

The farms are thriving ecosystems, Smith says, which create habitat for other marine life, offer coastal protection from storm surges, locally buffer against ocean acidification, and filter nitrogen from fertilizer runoff.

“Fresh water, fertilizer, feed, land, all those things, those inputs, the cost is going to go up in the climate era…. Zero-input food’s going to be the most affordable food on the planet. It’s going to move us to the centre of the plate.”

The cost of entry for 3D ocean farming is low relative to land-based agriculture (US$20-50,000 can bankroll a typical farm). Smith envisions 3D ocean farming as a vibrant new industry displacing extractive industrial fishing and creating jobs on small-scale ocean farms around the world.

 

THE BIRTH OF GREENWAVE

In an earlier life, Smith’s livelihood as a commercial fisher ended with the collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland in the 1990s. After a stint at a Northern Canadian fish farm, Smith transitioned to oyster farming off the coast of New York.

Some years later, hurricanes Irene and Sandy left his oyster crop in ruin. At the same time, rising ocean acidification was killing oyster seeds, while warming waters drove lobsters further north. Determined to find a model of aquaculture more resilient to climate change, Smith teamed up with Charles Yarish, a seaweed expert from the University of Connecticut, to develop the 3D ocean farming system.

The result was so successful, Smith co-founded Greenwave to spread the word.

Greenwave’s training program has been inundated, Smith says. “Right now the demand’s too high. We have requests to start farms in 20 countries around the world. It’s just insane, we have a waiting list of 10,000 farmers.”

Despite Greenwave’s success, ocean farming hasn’t yet telegraphed to Vancouver Island – at least under the 3D banner.

But what Vancouver Island does have is a burgeoning interest in kelp farming.

 

IDEAL FOR KELP FARMING

“We’re in a region that has the richest kelp biodiversity in the world.” says Allison Byrne, a kelp researcher at North Island College’s Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation in Campbell River. “We have lots of coastline and lots of capacity in small coastal communities in terms of marine and boating experience that could be applied to the industry. And beyond that there’s a lot of interest, specifically in kelp farming.”

At a seaweed commercialization workshop in Courtenay in June, Byrne says the room was “absolutely packed” with entrepreneurs as well as established fish and shellfish operations looking to diversify.

“There are a lot of companies and individuals that want to push this ahead and are working to do so,” says Byrne. “I think it will look a lot different five years from now, there’ll be a lot more startup farms.”

Another promising ocean farming concept called Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) was pioneered on Vancouver Island by Byrne’s former academic supervisor, eminent aquaculture researcher Stephen Cross.

In this arrangement, the waste from a fed species such as a fish or shrimp becomes inputs for other species such as shellfish or seaweeds. Though not yet pursued commercially on Vancouver Island, IMTA and 3D ocean farming share the goal of remediating ocean ecosystems and creating high yields on small footprints.

For ocean farming, and kelp farming in particular, to grow on Vancouver Island, seed and processing facilities are needed, says Byrne.

“We need to reach that critical mass of having enough biomass from multiple different growers to create a demand for processing facilities.”

“I would love to see young entrepreneurs and First Nation-owned businesses take on the industry,” says Byrne, “and I would love to see small and medium sized farms working together, at least at this point, to create a demand for processing.”

 

A MARKET BEYOND KELP

And while forward-thinking chefs have created a boutique culinary demand for seaweeds, there is plenty more market potential for kelp at the grocery store.

Kelp salad greens, chips, sauerkraut, pickles, smoothie cubes, tea, beer, gin, and more could be on the menu.

The largest food market, Smith says, is as a healthy additive to replace the soy ubiquitous in many foods.

Other opportunities for seaweed are for use as animal feed, fertilizers, and for high value compounds extracted for use in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Byrne says the industry needs to continue educating the public on the environmental benefits and economic opportunities of seaweed agriculture. “I think it’s an unfamiliar sector, but once people learn about it, they love it,” she says.

“They’ve done such a good job marketing the concept in New England and on the east coast. But I think we can catch up in the grand scheme of things.”

Gavin MacRae is the assistant editor of The Watershed Sentinel, a publishing partner of Decafnation. Readers can reach him at gavin@watershedsentinel.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS GREENWAVE AND 3D OCEAN FARMING?

Bren Smith, GreenWave executive director and owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm, pioneered the development of restorative 3D Ocean Farming. A lifelong commercial fisherman, he was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “25 People Shaping the Future” and featured in TIME magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2017”. He is the winner of the Buckminster Fuller Prize and been profiled by CNN, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and elsewhere. He is an Ashoka and Echoing Green Climate Fellow and author of Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer. 

From the Greenwave.org website

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Comox Valley climate strike draws thousands to Courtenay march

Comox Valley climate strike draws thousands to Courtenay march

Gavin MacRae photos

Comox Valley climate strike draws thousands to Courtenay march

By Gavin MacRae

Comox Valley residents joined millions of people marching worldwide on Sept. 27 demanding that governments step-up their efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

From Antarctica to the Arctic, Kathmandu to Vancouver, an estimated seven million people have taken part in thousands of demonstrations in the last week, including 800,000 Canadians.

About 3,000 Comox Valley residents rallied at Simms Millennium Park before starting a march through downtown Courtenay, according to Mackai Sharp, a leader of the group Youth Environmental Action, which organized the event.

Jessie Everson from the K’omoks First Nation opened the event by drawing a parallel between the quickly receding Comox glacier and the fate of humanity if the climate crisis is not averted.

“The glacier is a standing testament to the environmental degradation of the Comox Valley, said Everson. “If that glacier is to go, we will go too.”

Youth Environmental Action speaker Sienna Stephens was no less direct: “Learning about climate change and what it really means for my future has completely changed my life,” she said.

“There is no more time to wait around. We must lead by example and show [political leaders] what is expected,” Stephens said. “So please look at your own life and decide where you can make change. Even if it’s hard, be informed about the climate crisis. Start these important conversations with your family and friends. Be aware of who your money is going to each time you make a purchase.”

Protesters then marched a loop around Courtenay’s downtown core and back to Simms Park. Police halted traffic as the blocks-long procession took to the road.

Youth Environmental Action leader Emma Faulkner gave one of the final speeches.

“This is just the beginning of a conversation we are so ready to have,” she said. “History has always been shaped by the power of youth.

Over 200 climate strikes were held across Canada Friday. In Vancouver over 100,000 people attended, in Victoria over 20,000, in Ottawa up to 20,000 and inToronto up to 50,000, according to estimates by Greenpeace. Montreal outdid them all with 500,000 demonstrators – or one in four residents – turning out for the event.
“It’s far exceeded what we expected, everywhere,” said Cam Fenton, campaigner for international climate group 350.org, which organized many of the events. “It’s the largest mass climate mobilization in history.”

Swedish teen climate icon Greta Thunberg is largely credited as the inspiration behind the climate strike movement. Thunberg began by striking every Friday, by herself in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, only 13 months ago.

Young people will live to see the effects of climate change worsen significantly if the burning of fossil fuels is not curtailed. Those effects include more frequent extreme weather events, droughts, fires, sea level rise and reduced food security.

Gavin MacRae is assistant editor of the Watershed Sentinel and a contributor to the Comox Valley Civic Journalism Project. He can be reached at gavin@watershedsentinel.ca

 

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Comox Valley adds voices to the demand for a federal climate debate

Comox Valley adds voices to the demand for a federal climate debate

Gavin MacRae photo, courtresy of the Watershed Sentinel

Comox Valley adds voices to the demand for a federal climate debate

By Gavin MacRae

Some 30 rallies held Wednesday across Canada – outside CBC studios, offices and in the streets – aim to pressure the public broadcaster to host a debate between federal party leaders on the climate crisis ahead of the coming election.

For the Comox Valley’s part, around 60 people gathered at Marina Park in Comox for a rally organized by Comox Valley Nurses for Health and the Environment.

“As our public broadcaster, the CBC has a moral obligation to make sure that every single person in Canada knows which of our leaders have a real plan to tackle the climate crisis,” read the Facebook event page for the rally.

Speakers included Alex Nataros, a family doctor in Comox; Nalan Goosen, leader of Youth Environment Action; Celia Laval with the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship Justice Committee; Mark de Bruijn, nominee for the Green Party candidate for North Island – Powell River; and Rachel Blaney, NDP MP for North Island – Powell River.

In covering climate change, “Canadian media and the CBC need to up their game,” Laval said, summing up the sentiments of the speakers.

Because the climate crisis and ecological collapse are possibly the biggest issues humanity has ever faced, Laval said, “This is not just an election issue, this is the election issue…. We demand CBC hold a debate of the federal leaders.”

Nataros said concerned voters can call or write the CBC or use the hashtag #changethedebate on social media.

Scrutiny of Canadian media’s coverage of the climate crisis – CBC’s in particular – has grown in recent months after the UK paper The Guardian became the first to update their journalist’s style guide to replace the term “climate change” with “climate crisis” or “climate emergency.”

“‘Climate change’ is no longer considered to accurately reflect the seriousness of the situation,” reads the updated guide.

An open letter published on May 28 in The Tyee, by Mount Royal journalism professor Sean Holman, further pressed Canadian media. In it, Holman wrote that media in Canada have repeatedly failed to “apply basic journalism principles to the climate change crisis confronting us.”

An example given by Holman is when on May 6, news of the birth of a royal baby eclipsed the release of a major UN report warning of critical worldwide declines in biodiversity.

After analyzing climate coverage in a database of 569 English language Canadian newspapers and CBC and CTV newscasts, Holman found mainstream media reporting “too often does not reflect the scope and severity” of the climate crisis.

To correct course, Holman’s letter outlined a five-point plan for media to better prioritize, cover, localize and contextualize climate reporting.

Eventually the CBC clarified their position: their journalists have latitude to “sometimes” use the terms “climate crisis” and “climate emergency,” but they will retain “climate change” as the default term. The CBC’s director of journalistic standards described the new terms as having “a whiff of advocacy to them,” garnering criticism on social media.

The discussion appears to have driven change. The CBC launched an “ambitious and comprehensive” climate series they say will appear on television, radio, online and on CBC Kids News, “because Canada’s youth care deeply about this issue.” The Toronto Star also recently published an in depth series detailing impacts of the climate crisis in Canada as well as solutions.

Gavin MacRae is the assistant editor of the Watershed Sentinel magazine, which is a publishing partner of Decafnation. You can also see this story at www.watershedsentinel.ca, or click their icon above

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In Courtenay, a low-carbon solar oasis thrives behind a suburban facade

In Courtenay, a low-carbon solar oasis thrives behind a suburban facade

Stewart Mcintosh ponders the grapevines that grow down both sides of his Courtenay property. He also has fruit and nut trees  /  George Le Masurier photo

In Courtenay, a low-carbon solar oasis thrives behind a suburban facade

By Gavin MacRae

Stewart Mcintosh’s Comox Valley property looks like a million others from the street: an early 1980s rancher with a detached garage and RV trailer in the driveway.

Spend a couple of minutes with Mcintosh – a bearded, exuberant man in his mid-fifties – and he will eagerly show you that looks can be deceiving. His property harvests solar energy three ways, forming the linchpin of his low-carbon lifestyle.

Years ago, two separate motor vehicle accidents left Mcintosh with a brain injury, causing a condition called perseveration – his mind gets on a subject and won’t let it go. He’s learned to leverage perseveration to doggedly see through ideas that most people would dismiss as ambitious but short-lived eureka moments.

“I don’t want to think about depressing stuff that you can’t do anything about, says Mcintosh. “So I think about depressing stuff that you can do something about. I think about a problem, and I think, how could I resolve that with something practical that’s going to make a difference?”

Mcintosh’s thinking has paid off. He enjoys paltry energy bills, bumper crops, and copious wine reserves, with time left over for camping, boating, and travel.

It all started with a his “solar super saver” water heating system.

Mcintosh installed a grid of black hose on his south-facing rooftop, which pre-warms municipal water before it flows into his water heater. In the summer months, the water needs no further heating. It can even get too hot. “What I found was that from 10 am until about six pm, there’s an eight-hour window in the day where the sun gets the water as hot or hotter than what the tank is set at,” he says.

He gets the system up and running around the first week of March, and shuts it down mid-November. On summer mornings, the water can be directed straight from the solar system to a private backyard shower that Mcintosh says is an “unbelievably pleasant way to start the day.”

Materials for the DIY system cost $850, and the project will pay for itself in six-and-a-half years, according to Mcintosh’s meticulous records. After that, he says, “it becomes a passive income for your household. Tax-free income.” Mcintosh holds up his most trivial natural gas bill, with 34¢ in energy charges. “They can’t tax you on savings.”

Mcintosh also gets big savings from his prolific backyard garden. It’s arranged into four quadrants, with individual compost bins feeding the quadrants from a central hub. The fence line acts as a trellis for clusters of wine grapes and two kinds of kiwis.

At summer’s end, Mcintosh makes and freezes soups and stews from the vegetable crop.

Three years running, Mcintosh has harvested over 1000 lbs of grapes to make wine. His crawlspace-turned-wine cellar is near capacity, and visitors to his home often leave with a jug.

Turning to transport and recreation, Mcintosh bought a 55 lb thrust electric outboard with two batteries to propel his canoe. To charge the batteries he mounted a small solar panel to the canoe’s gunwale. When he’s boating, the batteries work independently: one battery is charging while the other powers the motor.

The canoe can cruise at around seven kilometres per hour all day. “My longest day was 12 hours out there between two batteries. That’s a long day on the water,” he says.

To get to the boat launch, Mcintosh hauls his canoe on a custom made trailer he built, behind his 50 cc scooter. “It really blows people away when I’ve got the boat in tow,” he says. “When I’m in traffic, people are doing triple takes.”

The scooter-trailer-canoe combo is insured and meets safety specifications, but Mcintosh has been pulled over several times, while incredulous police officers confirm his paperwork is in order.

Mcintosh in his backyard garden. The black hose on his roof that provides hot water can be seen in the upper right

At the boat launch, Mcintosh says people are drawn to his rig, and that’s part of the reason he built it – to inspire the public by demonstrating that low carbon solutions are workable.

“Some of the guys out there who are a little more obstinate, and some of the deniers, kind of grey-haired, blue-collar kinds of guys, they’re some of the more common individuals that are drawn to my setup. It’s like a magnet.”

The scooter and trailer also get him around town for groceries and running daily errands. Mcintosh is working on a mini dump truck bed for the trailer which will extend its capabilities to hauling building materials and soil.

Mcintosh’s latest upgrade has been to spring for a 20-panel photo-voltaic system that he had professionally installed. At $16,400 all-in, it wasn’t cheap, but Mcintosh did the math and found the only barrier was the initial investment. The panels will pay for themselves in six to 10 years. After that, it’s easy money.

To further leverage the solar panels, Mcintosh is mulling over the purchase of an electric pickup truck. It would complete his coup d’état against his carbon footprint and energy bills (he now drives a truck converted to propane he’s owned since 1988). “If that happens I can plug my vehicle in at home, bypass gas stations, and start adding that kind of saving to my life.”

Mcintosh says that for those with an awareness of climate change, “it’s stressful, and it’s getting more urgent. You can feel it in the general public, and that affects me as well, I feel it. That’s why I’m working on things that help me deal with it, because I’m doing something practical, and I’m proving it in my own life. But it also, I think it helps with some other people too, that they see ‘wow!’ look at that, he’s doing something that actually works…. They realize it’s not a hopeless situation after all.

“There really are things we can do at our own homes and in our daily lives that make a difference.”

Gavin MacRae is the assistant editor of the Watershed Sentinel environmental magazine, which is a publishing partner of Decafnation. You can also see this story at www.watershedsentinel.ca, or click their icon above

 

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