Wood Burning: Resilient and Carbon Neutral


Thomas Homer-Dixon is a smart Canadian with some keen insight on the problems that our species face. His book The Upside of Down is an exploration of the biggest threats facing us and the planet. Two of his top five are the problems that I think will have the most influence on our way of life this century: Peak Oil and Climate Change.  read more... »

Keep Edmonton's Trolleys

This is the number 5 Westmount. It's a new trolley bus - one of those buses that's attached to the electrical grid and produces zero street-level emissions. City council is currently debating a report that advises scrapping the entire trolley bus system.

Myles Kitagawa, one of my favorite all-around people and one of Edmonton's green heroes, sent me an email a ways back suggesting that we (the Toxics Watch Society, of which he is the Associate Director and I am the President), should make a submission to city council about the issue. Our angle would probably be a novel one in the debate: Peak Oil.

If you're not turned on to Peak Oil yet, it's time to get going (see this movie, and read this book, for starters). I think that Peak Oil and climate change will be the drivers of the 21st century. I know, I know, I wish that Ipods and flat-screen TVs were going to be the big factors too, but that's just not in the cards.

Edmonton needs to begin thinking about what happens when transportation fuels hit $5/litre. Among the many things that we could do to prepare, having a transit system not totally dependent on diesel fuel would go a long way. Here is most of what Myles and I submitted to city council regarding the electric trolley issue:

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Solar Salad

We get a lot of sun in Edmonton. In fact, I've heard that we have as many sunny hours as Miami. Moving into the uncertain future, that's an asset.

On May 6, I decided to leverage that asset into a sun-cooked potato salad.

Solar Ovens

The concept of a solar oven is very simple: a black, insulated box with glazing (plastic or glass) is aimed towards the sun. It's amazing how the simplest concepts can be so powerful. It's a cinch to get my solar oven up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and during the hottest months it will hit 300 degrees.  read more... »

Kids Do Good: Eco-Air

This is Anna Talman. She's a member of Edmonton’s Children-Organized Anti-Idling Recruiters (Eco-Air).

I saw Anna speak to a City Council committee last year about enacting an anti-idling law. It was awesome. Being characteristically timid, our fine councillors backed off on a law and instead committed $140,000 to beg educate people to stop idling their cars unnecessarily. Better than nothing.  read more... »