Resolving Timeline Issues

Archive for the ‘Its not easy being green’ Category

Yes, I’m just a wee bit bitter about the carbon tax gas tax that kicked in today (as if you haven’t guessed already). I haven’t gone out yet today, but I saw on the news that gas prices are up above the $1.50/litre mark.

But, moving on! I promised over at Wet Coast Women that I would try not to bitch about the carbon tax.

In other news, I have become a twit. Although, I find twitter a wee bit sluggish at times. Flaky, even. But you can follow me over there if you like.

Darren had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn today to go play golf for a 6:30 tee off time at a course that’s about an hour away. The funny part is, not only does he get a free round of golf, but since its work related, I think he gets paid. 

And I? Slept in until 7:30. Drank coffee.

My biggest decision today is whether to wii or go to the driving range. Or both. And maybe set up some golf lessons.

I haven’t been out to whack some balls in about 2 years. The closest I got last year was when I was out of work for 12 weeks and volunteered at Darren’s company golf tournament last year (they paid in beer and food). Not that’d I’d even attempt to play Swan-E-Set (which is a very nice, swank place) because some of thoses holes? Brutal.

We went to the driving range on Saturday and I whacked about 60 balls. My back and arms still ache.

And that, will be the extent of my Canada Day. Happy 141st birthday! You still look great.

What are you doing for Canada day?

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Climate action dividend cheques are arriving in the mail. Apparently, they’re to help people make green choices. And on Monday or Tuesday a new 2.4 cents/litre gas tax goes on (oh and it also goes on natural gas, so even if you don’t own a car, you’re getting hit with it anyways. So are the people who deliver groceries, so you’ll be paying for it anyways. Revenue neutral my ass).

But, back to the cheques. Mine arrived yesterday sometime and I got it (them, really, because I get one and Darren gets one) from the mailbox this morning.

This is the outside:

Hi! I\'m here to help you make green choices!I picked it up and noticed it felt really substantial. I could practically use it as a pillow. Its soft and puffy (although the biodegradable window in the front is sort of crunchy, but whatever). On the back though, it says its printed on recycled paper.

So I opened it. Because I wanted to see what was in it that made it so soft and pillow-like.

And here you goReally! I\'m green!. Its stupendous really. From left to right: a twee brochure on how you can most appropriately spend your Climate Action Dividend. Suggestions include:

  1. Switching to compact flourescent light bulbs
  2. Weather strip windows and doors
  3. Install a high efficiency hot water heating system
  4. Install low-flow showerheads and keep showers under 10 minutes
  5. tune up your vehicle and keep tires properly inflated
  6. Install crawl space insulation

Lovely. I already do 1, 2 and 5. I don’t have a crawl space – just a ground level lower level of my house which is insulated and weather stripped already. So fuck that noise.

I have a low flow showerhead. And I doubt that you can buy and install a high efficeincy hot water heating system for $100. 

Vehicle tune ups should be done regularly since it helps cars pass aircare (hey, look! Emissions controls that have been in place for YEARS) and you don’t generally have to pay $100 to inflate your tires – you can get a tire gauge for under $20 at Canadian Tire and air is free at gas stations.

Back to the contents of the envelope. On the English side (its printed in English and French), in the bottom corner it says “by using 40% post consumer recycled paper for this project we saved…262 trees, 10, 780 kilograms of solid waste, 98, 978 litres of water, 34, 105 Kilowattt hours of electricity, 19, 595 Kilograms of greenhouse gases, 50 Cubic Metres of landfill space.”

Whoa. Like, dude. So if you used more post consumer recycled paper, you could have saved even more! Right (I might be wrong, I really have no idea).

The second thing on the picture is the envelope itself (also printed on recycled paper).

The third thing with the mad paint skillz on it is the cheque itself. Big enough for a tri fold, along with a nifty note from our ever-lovin’ Premier who sends us his best regards. The cheque itself is somewhat less than the bottom third of the page.

Um. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but couldn’t they have saved even more ghg’s, etc (not to mention postage) if they’d just done direct deposit into my bank account? Now, I have to go to the bank to deposit this. Which I’ll combine with other errands, and I’ll turn my car off as I go through the drive through ATM, but still.

Do you see my point? They’ve probably created more waste then what people will save simply by issuing this cheque.

As for what I’m going to do – well, I have a web friend who lives south of the 49th. Her cat recently had a rather expensive surgery to remove a bladder stone. Its going to her to help pay the bill.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women

On Thursday, the BC Liberal government forced the adoption of 7 or 8 bills prior to the prorogue of the Spring session of the legislature, among them, the carbon tax and the election gag laws.

According to the Canadian Press:

The Liberals came to an agreement about three weeks ago with the Opposition NDP regarding the passage of 15 remaining bills, but there was no deal on eight others which the government has said will be passed “no matter what.”

So how can they do this? Well, in legislative procedure, there’s a little motion called “closure” which shuts down debate and forces a vote. Its designed to prevent prolonged sessions of the legislature (so that, you know, elected officials can have a summer vacation), while allowing government to take action as necessary. Its quite controversial as it limits any sort of meaningful representation in the legislature. In other words, using closure has a direct impact on your democratic rights. Closure effectively limits your MLA’s ability to advocate on your behalf. When a motion to close debate is moved and approved, all the opposition can do is vote against the item of debate.

I wrote earlier about the budget and the carbon tax (which is now recovered, minus comments) and how it’s a great big fuck you very much to BC citizens.

Apparently, the Liberal government has decided to fuck us a second time. Mike Farnworth (leader of the opposition in the House) said it quite well:

 “The government is ramming through eight bills, two of them particularly controversial,” he said, referring to the carbon tax bill and the so-called election gag law that places spending limits on third party advertising for the 28-day campaign period and for 60 days prior to the writ being dropped.

“That is just wrong, it is undemocratic,” he complained.

And it is unprecedented for a budget bill to be rammed through by the use of closure by any government in the history of this province,” said Farnworth. (emphasis added)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a particular fan of Mike Farnworth. In fact, I find him generally annoying. But he hit the nail on the head with this one.

In our rather messed up, toe the party line (or is that tow?) system, budgets are supposed to be free votes – this is a time for debate and to use knowledge and effective arguments to try to sway people to what you believe. By limiting debate, this isn’t allowed to happen. Whichever way you look at it, your rights are being eroded. And you should be angry about this.

Vaughn Palmer, in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun (page A3, Saturday May 31) has a couple of lines at the end of his column about this*

Gratuitous insults notwithstanding, the Liberals are surely guilty of reckless disregard for due process.

They set a precedent Thursday that could readily be abused by future governments of any political stripe.

Palmer’s column also includes a blow-by-blow of how it went down. In one hour and seven minutes, because of the closure motion, the following were passed:

  • Bill 20, Oil and Gas Activities Act (I really have no idea what that one’s about, but it ran over 200 sections and took 8 minutes)
  • Bill 21, Medicare Protection Amendment Act (took 6 minutes; a bit of squabbling here and there)
  • Bill 24, E-Health (15 minutes, due to a series of amendments)
  • Bill 37, Trade Investment & Labour Mobility Amendment Act (10 minutes)
  • Bill 37, Carbon Tax Act (runs 60 pages and 157 sections, 10 minutes or so)
  • Bill 42, Election Amendment Act or “gag law” (about 10 minutes, Minister Oppal had some amendments)

It started at 5pm and ended just after 6pm.

It is apparent this government, or maybe it’s the system, really has no regard for any sort of due process or democratic rights.

*the Canada.com website is currently down or busy or something, so I can’t link to it.

I have to give props to pole-dancers. Really. That shit is HARD. My calves and abs are killing me today. And its fun. A lot of fun. To the point that I’m thinking of finding a class to attend regularly.

In other news, I never made it to Rona yesterday to get the starting stuff for my herb garden. I’d had a glass or five too many of wine the night before and was feeling rather poorly. So when it was time to get ready for pole dancing, I decided to alleviate my suffering with a glass of hair of the dog instead. And then the focus needed for the pole dancing and the spontaneous sweating really made my aching head go away.

So this morning, I am running to Rona to get that stuff. I thought I might try a few vegetables too – some radishes and carrots. Which means I need pots, soil (which I also need for my silly jade plant which no matter how much neglect I lavish on it, it does not die), gravel for drainage, and some sort of nutrient solution.

Oh and seeds and seedlings and shit.

After I suck back a third cup of coffee. Because what is the weekend for if its not to drink too much coffee?

*No, I am not growing potatoes. I just needed a vegetable that begins with a “p” – I don’t even really like potatoes unless they’re deep fried.

Yes, mundanity is a word. I just used it.

My life has been rather mundane lately, or at least it seems so. Over the last three weeks, I’ve had one day off. ONE DAY. And I’m looking forward to having this weekend and next weekend off (and sort of hoping that the NLS I agreed to teach in May doesn’t run because I am FRIED).

At some point over the last week and a half (or maybe its longer than that), I received the BYO bags I won it the BlogHers ACT February contest. And I lurve them. My only complaint is that the drawstring on them tends to come loose in my reusable shopping bags. I fixed this by wrapping the string around the neck and that seems to hold it. And they came in really handy at the veggie market when I discovered they were out of the brown paper bags I usually put mushrooms in. I’ve had the mushrooms in it for a few days and they look just as robust as they did when I bought them a few days ago.

I have also been quite tired lately. The getting up when the alarm goes off at half-past-dark is wearing thin. Followed by at least an hour’s commute to work and back again at the end of the day makes for some VERY VERY VERY long days. Although The Tired has been good – I am sleeping through the night rather than waking up at 2am, 4am, etc. however briefly.

The alarm screaming in my ear when I’m at the deepest part of sleep is not cool, however.

And the reasons for the tiredness are probably multiple. I went off birth control (and I will spare you the stories of the stuff coming from my nether regions after over a decade on the pill), and I’m wondering if The Tired isn’t something to do with my body adjusting. I have been going to the gym at lunch. I am lucky enough to get to combine all of my breaks and use the hour and 20 minutes to get some exercise. I went 4 times last week (plus 4 hours in the pool on the weekend) and three times this week. It would have been more but I tweaked my knee on Sunday when performing, uhm…ACTIVITIES and it was feeling none too good by Tuesday so I took the day off, and stretched the crap out of it on Wednesday. It feels much better now.

Yesterday, I left work early in order to meet the airconditioner guy who was supposed to show up between 1 and 4. He came by at 5. But the air conditioner is now clean and works. We won’t roast this summer. But for now, we don’t need it. Its fucking cold out. They’re calling for SNOW. In April. In VANCOUVER.

I am so ready for spring and some warm weather. So ready.

So ready in fact, I finally did something that I’ve been talking about for years. Every time I go in to see my optometrist, he tells me I’m a good candidate for corrective laser eye surgery. And my benefits now cover part of it. On May 9, I have a consult with one of the top laser surgeons in Vancouver, who comes highly recommended by my optometrist, the general public and one of the bigwigs at work who had her eyes fixed by him years ago when the technology was still new. I am hoping to get my eyes fixed over the summer.

And now, since its the first weekend I’ve had off in three weeks, I have things to do. I’ve decided to organize my house, one section at a time and the kitchen is the first up.

 

 

I’m accidentally greener as of today. My bank is carbon-neutral.

At at this point I’m going to risk incurring the wrath of the internets with what I’ll say next: I am unconvinced about global warming.

*crickets*

That’s not to say I don’t believe it can happen or does happen. I sit in that group of people who question everything, and I think its really dangerous for people to believe something without questioning it – its the job of science and philosophy to continually question our beliefs.

Global warming is a possibility. We know we have an impact on the environment and we also know that the earth goes through warming and cooling trends, and it has since way before the human race came around.

Which brings me to my next point: what do we know? Well, I can tell you that in my childhood, I remember deep blue skies. Now the skies are lighter blue. I don’t know if that’s just memory, or if its actually happened and what caused it.

I remember hummingbirds – and I see very few now.

I remember seeing the geese flying south in the winter – and now they stick around for most of the winter.

I remember swimming in the ocean – and now I don’t because I don’t want to come out glowing.

I’m not saying we don’t have an impact on our environment. I believe that we should do what we can to minimize that impact. Whether that’s switching from plastic or paper bags to reusable bags, taking transit, or simply getting a more fuel-efficient car – whatever you can do, do it.

And remember to question what we know.

 A few weeks ago, the BC Liberal government had a press release – and it was huge. $14 billion dollars for transit improvement (you should say “billion” like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers).

 That’s nice. The Tri-Cities will get the long sought-after Evergreen line to extend rapid transit to that area. Great.

 Yesterday, Minister Taylor wore a pair of green Fluevogs while she delivered the budget. They’re calling it the “Green Budget” – green, not only in the sense of environmentally green, but green in the sense of putting money back in the pockets of consumers.

 Oh, and there’s a carbon tax. Come Canada Day, the price of gasoline will increase by 2.4 cents per litre. All fossil fuels get this tax, including the natural gas you use to heat your home. But don’t worry! The tax is revenue neutral: 2/3 of that will go directly back into the pockets of those who need it, and help reduce BC’s greenhouse gases by 5% by 2020 (or something). The remaining 1/3 goes to business.

 Nevermind that the largest polluters – particularly the gas business – aren’t affected by the tax. More on this later.

My first point: the government is passing the costs of greenhouse gas reduction on to the citizenry. Apparently, the government can confer with big businesses on this, but not the people who actually vote for them.

By raising the price of gas, the carbon tax could reduce B.C.’s GHG emissions in 2020 by up to three million tonnes. Go ahead and click that link to see pundit Michael Smyth’s take on it. I think he makes some really good points. Read the comments, too.

Instead of 3 million tonnes, lets look at something we can all understand. That decrease is somewhere around 5%. Which is somewhere around 0.06% of global GHGs.

Lets face it: in BC, we have largely clean energy thanks to hydro-electric power.

Back to the transit thing: this tax is going in before the new transit lines are put in. This makes it a cash grab, despite the fact that its revenue-neutral. Oh, and transit fares have just increased, and the new TransLink board just gave itself a HUUUUUUGE raise.

All of this boils down to: how does it affect me?

Quite honestly, this budget just further alienates me. I drive to work every day. Every month, I burn between $120 and $150 in gas. My West Coast Express pass would cost me $195 for 28 days. It runs in the mornings, and in the evenings, and that’s it. Then there’s the “train bus” on the weekends. And because I have several evening meetings per month, I lose anywhere from 4 to 12 days per month on the pass. You do the math. We live where we do because we simply cannot afford to own a house in the city.

To take the SkyTrain from Vancouver to Surrey is now a $10 round trip.

My second point: if you’re going to tax me for driving, you need to build the amenities on the other end. Start by lowering transit fares. Then we can talk.

Speaking of talking, remember the point above about businesses not being affected by the carbon tax? (Pardon me if I get ranty here – this is the part that gets me MAD) They’re part of a separate process. Representatives get to meet with the government to discuss what to do.

Now, I know a thing or two about democracy. And I know that one of the things about democracy is that people vote, not businesses.

My third point: who do you think you are dealing with big business and ignoring the citizens?

What a fucking insult. Every single citizen, whether you voted for the Liberal government or not, should be deeply insulted at a fundamental level. Not only because business is being consulted and citizens are not, but because this tax is going to hit you whether you like it or not.

My fourth point: I recycle: we throw out one bag of garbage every 10 days. I drive a fuel efficient car; it is as fuel efficient as many hybrids. I buy meat from local growers. We buy local veggies whenever possible and stock up from Darren’s mom’s garden in the summer. Even the beer and wine we drink is local and the wine is organic – well, the wine is from the Okanagan, but that’s local enough. And business doesn’t have to do this and still gets consulted?

Where’s my tax credit for doing what I can? Where are my chits for locally grown meats and vegetables? Why not start there where its something more tangible?

IMHO, this is a great big, “Fuck you very much” to the citizens of BC.

As a follow-up, you should read Crunchy Carpets’ post over at Wet Coast Women.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women


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