who knew toronto could be so much like langley?
my tev meeting tonight was pretty exciting. there were representatives from both toronto hydro and enbridge there to talk about what they were doing in the environmental sectors of both the city and the province and i don't think they were too happy with me.
the first presenter, a woman from toronto hydro was quite happy to be working for the publicly held corporation and made special mention of what a great job the company was doing environmentally. she made sure to mention that they were big supporters of Canada's first urban wind turbine and that it's a "very important symbol" for the environment.
to which i asked: that's great and everything, but it's been a few years since it went up... why is there still only one? we're spending all of this money on overpriced nuclear power and doing this big campaign on energy conservation, and yet you're still happy with a single wind turbine?
i wasn't as curt as that sounds, but i wasn't shy about it either. she was however caught off guard. apparently she expected to just come and talk to us for an hour and leave confident that she's "educated" another group of environmentalists.
her response was essentially that they don't have the power to do that, and that since they're a government regulated body, they have to defer to the provincial government.
translation: they can build a "symbol" but they can't (or is it won't?) do anything with it. they'd rather burn coal or generate radioactive beryllium.
here's the deal in ontario: power is generated in places like niagra falls (hydro dam), pickering (nuclear) or missasauga (coal) by ontario power generation and transferred to city centres like toronto by way of hydro one. (8% of the power is lost in transit alone.) then, companies like toronto hydro distribute the power to the rest of us in our homes and bill us for the privilege. the problem though is that power generation on that scale is costly (think billions. yes, that's billions, with a "b") both to generate and transmit and there's no need for it when power can be cleanly generated close to the source that uses it.
but this is the problem. the ontario government doesn't do small stuff. they're the provincial government, they do provincial things. but from the impression i got from these presenters, toronto hydro isn't interested in doing anything else. ...you'd think i was in bc, where people would rather smoke pot and do nothing, not toronto, home of "those who get shit done". it's frustrating and i'm not sure what can be done about it. but if the city is to start generating it's own power, toronto hydro is going to be the company to do it. unless we deregulate and let private business do it...
in related news, a major UN backed report for a global inventory of natural resources has finally been submitted regarding humanity's impact on the earth. the article does not paint a happy picture:
According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), approximately 60 per cent of the planet's "ecosystem services" - natural products and processes that support life, such as water purification - are being degraded or used unsustainably. What is more, this degradation increases the risk of abrupt and drastic changes, such as climate shifts and the collapse of fisheries.