The Time Is Now

In the United States, the transition to a clean energy economy is already underway. Climate-concerned citizens are calling on candidates in next year’s federal election to show their plan to power the country with 50% clean energy by 2030.

The time for a job-creating, climate-stabilizing clean energy revolution is NOW.


Go to to learn more.

Goodbye Fossil Fuels: Rejecting Scarcity & Embracing Abundance

It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust, and today’s talk, like last week’s, is from TEDx Sydney and features Danny Kennedy,Founder and President of Sungevity.  Before starting Sungevity Kennedy spent decades campaigning with Greenpeace; in this talk he discusses how profit can save the planet rather than destroying it.



Sungevity: The Life & Times Of Solar People

Fossil Fools Are Counting On A Finite Supply of Dead Things To Last Forever

It’s a beautiful sunny Friday morning in northwestern Ontario, and I see out the window my daughter’s brightly coloured clothes drying on our clothesline. The fossil fools who steer the ship of the North American economy these days can’t see that their time is running out. Apparently they believe there’s another planet for their children and grandchildren when they have exhausted/polluted the natural resources on this one. There is an alternative, though, to running our economy on a finite supply of dead things. Here are some of my favourite quotes about solar energy:

I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ’til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison

“The world’s deserts can supply energy for every conceivable demand by humankind.” Dr. Gerhard Knies

Rather than continuing to base our economy on a finite supply of dead things, we can base it on sources that are practically infinite and eternal: the sun, the moon and the Earth’s inner fire.” Van Jones

Want to learn more about the shift to a new way of doing things? Check out the Transition Network and/or’s Moving Planet event on Sept.24, a day to celebrate moving away from fossil fuels. Find or organize a Moving Planet event in your community – click here for more information.


Fukushima Disaster: Nuclear Power Isn’t “Green”

There is disagreement, even among environmentalists, about the place of nuclear power in our future.  Because there is no question that nuclear emits less carbon pollution than burning oil or coal, some environmentalists – including high-profile ones such as James Lovelock and George Monbiot – have become nuclear power proponents.  What the disaster in Japan highlights is that nuclear is just too risky to depend on. From a risk management perspective, as Fukushima makes clear, we can’t bet on nuclear. Canadian folk singer Bob Bossin said decades ago that building nuclear plants is like putting up an outhouse without digging a hole! Nobody yet has figured out what do to about all that spent radioactive fuel, although Atomic Energy Canada has decided they’d like to bury it in the rocks of the Canadian shield, right in my backyard.  I don’t trust that there is any technology that can guarantee that buried toxic waste isn’t going to contaminate the groundwater – our drinking water – at some point in the next 1,000 years.

What is the latest on Fukushima?  As of today, radiation levels within the 40-km radius of Fukushima NPP have exceeded safety limits, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. Radiation levels continue to rise in the ocean outside the plant as well. This isn’t surprising, as the Japanese continue to pour water on the fuel rods to limit the damage, but this water is ending up outside the plant in the ocean, and also is being carried onto land via steam and ground water. Bloomberg reports today:

Japan’s damaged nuclear plant may be in danger of emitting sudden bursts of heat and radiation, undermining efforts to cool the reactors and contain fallout.

The potential for limited, uncontrolled chain reactions, voiced yesterday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is among the phenomena that might occur, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters in Tokyo today. The IAEA “emphasized that the nuclear reactors won’t explode,” he said.

At the same time,the death toll from the quake and tsunami continues to rise and officials say it’s likely to yet surpass 18,000 and hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless.

We are all going to be faced with difficult questions as peak oil and climate change confront our civilization with choices about how to power our homes and our industries.  I’m with Thomas Edison, who said:

I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ’til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

Don’t think solar power can do it?  This week, a team of MIT scientists announced the latest development in solar energy, an artificial leaf, so innovative that the lead scientist, Daniel Nocera, stated: “I’m talking about solving the energy problem with an Olympic size pool of water.”


I think the people of Fukushima would like to bet on Nocera’s solution to their energy needs, rather than extremely expensive nuclear plants that post a serious health risk to the people and the ecosystem of their region for centuries to come.  I know I would!

For a more thorough review of the Japanese situation, as well as the current situation in Ontario (and how the two are – or should be – related), go to Graham Saunder’s article, “Nuclear Decisions. Graham is the president of Environment North and a weather specialist.

More links:

Most Important News of The Decade? Artificial Leaf Announced

Fukushima Workers Threatened By Heat Bursts; Sea Radiation Rises

Don’t Worry About Radiation in Canadian Seawater

Fukushima Disaster Causes Fallout For Nuclear Industry Worldwide

Is Nuclear Power Still the Answer to Our Energy Problems?

Going Solar in Ontario, Canada

Our family is one giant step closer to being part of Ontario’s innovative micro-FIT program, which is encouraging the growth of renewable energy production in the province by paying a premium to regular folks like us for generating electricity using renewable technologies and feeding it back into the grid. Our journey started last February when my husband Mark filled out the application to the program, acting on advice given to him by David at the R.E. Source Store in St. Thomas, Ontario. For more details on the process that has got us to where we are today, go to the “Ontario’s microFIT program: The Nitty-Gritty On Going Solar” page.

Here are some pictures of the process:


Getting started



All the clips installed on upper roof



Installing the rails and micro-inverters




Hauling the panels up to the roof



Panel #1 of 33 installed!



The finished installation


And just for fun, a video of putting on the last solar panel:


Did I mention I’m not fond of heights? Oh well, what doesn’t kill a person makes them stronger…

We are still not quite to the point of feeding our electricity back into the grid. That requires hooking up the solar array to a separate meter, which will be done by a local electrician. And, of course, approval from the electrical inspector. So stay posted!

More links:

We’re Solarized

Ontario Power Authority microFIT program

R.E. Source Store

Celebrating Climate Solutions at Northern Sun Farm

Yesterday my oldest daughter,  my mother-in-law and I visited Northern Sun Farm Co-op, in southeastern Manitoba, as part of the Global Work Party organized by for 10/10/10/. Northern Sun Farm is completely “off the grid”, and while we were there we saw a solar oven in action, cooking scalloped potatoes. Our tour of the farm included a wind-powered wheat-grinding facility as well as a beautiful round lodge used in summer. The beautiful pine walls house a kitchen and lounge area, and has a unique floor that Gerhard, our tour guide, told us was made out of 4 parts sand and 1 part clay, with some straw mixed in. To “install” it, water was added and then the mixture was troweled onto a foundation of gravel covered with plastic sheeting. This was done in 4 layers, each of which had to dry between applications, and was finished off with a coating of linseed oil. The roof of the building was shingled with aluminium sheets reclaimed from the newspaper printing process.

Jen, who organized the 10/10/10 event, gave us a tour of their worm farm and composting facility. Jen and her business partner Mark run  “Nature’s Perfect Food”, selling the rich soil (vermicast) which their red wiggler worms produce from cow manure.

Before we could harvest our own red wigglers or vermicast we got distracted by a wonderful pot-latch thanksgiving meal of turkey cooked in a wood-fired stove, cranberry sauce from home-grown cranberries, salads, apple crisp, and a breath-taking assortment of pumpkin pies. This bounty was served outside around the fire as the prairie sun set behind the trees. We left Northern Sun Farm filled not only with Thanksgiving bounty but with inspiration of spending time with people  living out a low-carbon lifestyle. Thanks, Jen, and everyone else we met!

You can find Jen and Mike’s  Nature’s Perfect Food on Facebook, or contact them at

To see pictures of more 10/10/10 events, go to

New $7 Billion Wind and Solar Energy Investment in Ontario Announced

The province of Ontario announced yesterday that a deal has been struck with a Korean consortium, led by Samsung, for a multi-billion dollar investment in solar and wind projects around the province.  The hope is that the deal will also bring new manufacturing jobs to the province, which has been badly hit by the downturn in the auto sector. Premier Dalton McGuinty stated:

With this step, Ontario is becoming the place to be for green energy manufacturing in North America.”

The project is not without its detractors (click here and here for more information). One of their complaints is that the deal gives Samsung an unfair advantage over local wind and solar producers. But the deal is in line with the province’s new Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) which, according to Renewable Energy World:

takes a two-pronged approach to creating a green economy. The first is to bring more renewables to the province and the second is the creation of more energy efficiency measures to help conserve energy. The bill also includes measures that the ministry hopes will foster a new green economy for Ontario by giving organizations and local communities such as First Nations and Métis communities more opportunities to develop distributed renewable energy generation projects.

To read more about the GEA and the feed-in tariff (FIT) program that the province introduced in 2009, check out this article by The Star’s Energy and Technology columnist Tyler Hamilton.

It is exciting to see my home province  move boldly in the direction of a “green economy”. It is the future. Some governments and leaders have the foresight to realize which way the economic wind is blowing, and their citizens will reap the benefits in the years to come.  Unfortunately, the Canadian federal government hasn’t yet joined the 21st century, and it still putting all of its “eggs” in the fossil fuel “basket”. And all Canadians are going to pay the price – both in an unstable climate and in a unsustainable economy.