Powell River recently won a prestigious award for its corporate efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. While that is an admirable achievement, it needs to be said that that footprint is approximately only two per cent of the regional problem (Powell River ecoCity Report, November 2018).
So much of what a community can accomplish in a community-wide reduction of carbon emissions depends on the actions individual residents are willing to commit to. That primarily involves reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by various means. So where are the opportunities?
Transportation is number one. Instead of driving cars, trucks and SUVs, we can change to less fuel consuming modes, maybe even zero emission vehicles, like all the Nissan Leafs you see now in the qathet region.
Home heating that is furnace oil or natural gas based can be converted to heat pump technology or electric furnace. There are significant incentive programs for electrifying both transportation and home heating.
The world is in the depths of an existential crisis (no not COVID-19) with its roots in the physics and chemistry of the gas content of the atmosphere. The amount of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane continue to rise as a result of both natural and human activities, trapping more and more heat, in the oceans primarily. Acidification of the oceans is occurring at an alarming rate as is polar ice and glacier melting leading to sea level rise.
Wildfires in California and the hurricane parade in the Gulf of Mexico are examples of the exacerbating effect climate change presents via extremes of weather. There are others all over the globe.
We are not immune here in Powell River. We are a coastal community surrounded by forest. If the climate continues to shift in the current directions, we will be vulnerable, as will the entire coast of BC.
Please give some serious thought to joining Powell River City Council in its efforts to combat this grave danger we all face in the coming decades by reducing your carbon footprint.
Bill Lytle-McGhee is a member of Climate Action Powell River.