A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Energy use or energy waste?

In response to a post here http://www.albertasenator.ca/hullabaloos/?article&283&comment I posted the folowing, I intend to expand upon this theme as time and inspiration allow........

There is indeed much that those of us who do believe that human activity is indeed in large part responsible for climate change, there is little we can say to the deniers that will change their opinion. We am fortunate in being able to be more “sustainable” in our lifestyle in that we open and manage 30acres of bush under a Managed Forest plan and can therefore burn wood rather than oil to heat our home which was built in large part with pine from our own trees and “recycled” materials from deconstructed buildings. Given that the economic downturn and restructuring has just caught up with us in the form of permanent lay offs I look on it as an opportunity to be even more energy conscious.

When considering this subject it is the commercial and industrial sector that get my dander up. Consider this next time you go shopping in one of those mega stores or for that matter your average grocery store or mall. Never mind the heating cost or the acres of paved over soil or the miles the goods traveled to get there, just count the number of lights that are on from early morning till late evening. Each 4 lamp 8’ fixture consumes around 300 to 400 watts depending upon the efficiency of the fixture and the type of lamp, typically in a small store one row is the equivalent to leaving your electric stove on all day! Then drive away from that store at night and consider all the electric signs on the front of the buildings downtown or elsewhere, do you think there is room for some energy saving here?.

Yes we have to start somewhere and I applaud those that make the substantial lifestyle change and investment in going off grid, but even that contribution is minuscule compared with what our commercial sector could and should be doing. Make a statement by shopping at your farmers market, your locally owned corner store, your owner operated small business and other nearby and less invasive and energy hungry operations.

Additional Note – For those not “tuned in” burning wood is carbon neutral over the period it took to grow an burn the fuel (generally abt 20 – 50 yrs), the same is true of fossil fuels by the way, it just that the carbon is sequestered over thousands of years, if not millions, is released within a few decades! (Wood also naturally releases its carbon as it rots on the forest floor so we, by burning it, merely accelerate the process by a few years.)

It is now illegal to have an “open” fire other than between late evening and early morning within many areas of Ontario. I guess I am now a criminal! I regularly cook outdoors on a WOOD fired BBQ during the day, French Toast on the BBQ for breakfast after a hike in the bush is simply a delight that cannot be forgone! Supper is regularly cooked outdoors on a wood fire and is equally enjoyable with regard to both the result and the process.I must assume this is an attempt to reduce the fire, I have no problem with an education program to stop folks from lighting a fire in a situations that may create a hazard or high risk of a grass or bush fire, or even a house fire. I am in fact VERY aware of the risk I take when cooking outdoors, after all I have 30 acres of bush (much of it rather dry pine) of my own, but to make RESPONSIBLE folks criminals because irresponsible folks know no better seems like overkill to me.

It seems it is quite acceptable to run a propane BBQ using a non renewable resource and an open flame (and even use it in town and adjacent to you house) without any problem. But if I put wood (a renewable resource) into the same container it then becomes illegal! What is wrong with this picture?Truth be known, as things stand right now if you are using a fire of any kind for warmth or cooking the municipality, fire marshal, or even Ontario cannot stop you. So make sure you are responsible, be safe, water nearby, clear of any fire hazard, keep it small and keep a HOT DOG (or your food of choice) nearby. Then enjoy and tell the Politically Correct crowd to “take off”.

No comments: