This question stems from a program that I saw on TV regarding the environment and how certain governments recognize that it takes commitment and time to make changes.

CO2 emission is one of our greatest threats to our environment as far a global warming and impact on the environment. Some countries take this very seriously and have put the time and energy into alternative sources of energy. In this program they talked about wind farms and how the people of Denmark, particularly in one small town, Samsoa, have banded together to harness this technology to generate electricity. It didn’t begin this way, it began with one farmer finding benefit and then turning to his fellow neighbours who farm as well and sharing his experience. It then expanded to placing these wind farms in the water.

The benefit is that they are really self sustaining and most important they have reduced their CO2 emissions. They have a plan and are being supported by the government.

The Danish government is committed to making this happen. Are wind farms loud, likely, however they have found a way to accept this fact and place the wind farms in places with the least noise impact. From what I can see on the show, the people of Samsoa do not mind. In Ontario, where we have farms, the farmers are against wind farms, partly because it is too noisy. Perhaps if our government was more committed a solution can be reached: win/win for all parties.

In Rosco, Texas, the heartland of oil and gas, the people also find benefit with using wind farms. This small town is not only reaping the benefits of the wind farms in terms of energy source, but also it has brought jobs and opportunity to an otherwise depressed area. This has been good for them. I believe they said, each wind farm generates $15,000 surplus energy that can be sold to someone who needs it – all profit! What a great way to earn money – making a difference.

Is the US government supporting this??? The problem with the US is that it still supports burning fossil fuel and is responsible for a large portion of CO2 emissions. The other problem is that the energy policy changes every two years with the administration change. There is no long term plan or commitment and that needs to change. Canada is no different. We are living off our laurels of our land. The electric car was killed and we are only focussing on the oil sands and how to extract oil. We need to put a plan in place that begins to look at the long term impact of CO2 emissions. While Canada is relatively a small country we contribute. The other issue is that the Canadian government is too tied to the oil companies — it is like they have them by the balls! The oil companies are too strong. But, it is not all the fault of the oil companies, a lot of taxes, and therefore revenue for the government, is generated from the sale of oil and gas.

Canada and the US need to step back and really make a decision about their commitment to the future of their countries. It means taking a stand now and looking at the next 50+ years. Then the administrations need to support this with action. I am not talking about a stimulus which is about short term decisions. I am talking about making decisions that will impact the next generation and the one following and so on.

We can look to areas and countries that are making long term commitments to reducing CO2 emissions. 3 communities committed to reducing CO2 are rural Alaska, Baltimore, Maryland and Kansas.

One country that has been committed to the environment for decades is Brazil. When the first oil crisis happened in the 1980s they began to support the growth of sugar cane which was cut and made into Ethanol. Their commitment to this has been more than 40 years. The country still uses oil and gas but they have encouraged the manufactures to produce flex cars which allow for either oil or ethanol. In fact, over 50% of the population uses Ethanol, called Alcool (alcohol). The benefit to the environment is that there is NO CO2 being released and it has no adverse affects. It is all good! The other benefit has been the creation of 1 million jobs for sugar cane. These are skilled people working in this area. It is a win/win for everyone. It took time, patience, planning and a commitment from the government which then encouraged the people to support.

China, one of the biggest contributors of CO2 in the world is working on a concept called “clean coal” whereby the CO2 can be drawn out of the coal and we can use the coal for energy. I am waiting on the fence for this. What the program didn’t discuss was by how much will the burning of fossil fuel, coal, be reduced. Is reducing the impact in half enough? To me, because we know of other alternatives to renewable energy sources that have no adverse affects then I believe we need to consider these first. Time will tell the benefit of “clean coal”.

In Canada and the US we can grow corn and create ethanol for our cars. For this to work the government must buy in and support this, not for 1 or 2 years but decades.

I ask the question, how committed is your government to your environment? From what I can see, a lot of lip service is happening in Canada and we have no plan! I am scared for my children. This must change and now!

The solutions are out there, we as the people who live on this planet need to push our governments to care more. If they produce an electric car that can run the same as your gas car, would you use it? What about creating flex cars (which already exist) that can run on alcohol? Would you drive this car if you got the same performance as your car now? I am definitely buying a hybrid car next.

I am giving you food for thought. Have a great weekend.

All my best,

Sandra

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