Friday, January 13, 2006

smugging for the camera

You know, I like to feel smug as a Canadian. After all, I'm not an Amerikan, right? But, per capita, Canada uses more energy resources than Amerikans do. And when you consider how few resources I use--biking, walking or mass transit 19 times out of 20, reduced house living temperature, etc.-- then there must be a lot of Canadians out there using a hell of a lot of energy.
Now, I get the need for energy inputs. My brother runs a set of greenhouses that are heated by coal--starting in February, when temperatures still get down to -40C (or -40F for those of you who still haven't switched over). By doing so, he can stretch his growing season and thus bump up his annual income. But a big chunk of his annual goes towards purchasing energy--for the greenhouses, to drive his truck to market (last summer this ran some $200/trip. Who knows what it will cost this year), for his wife to drive to and from work (from my experience, this is about 5000 km/month. Yeah, a month.), to pay taxes to drive his kids to and from school (well, schoolbuses ARE mass transit of a sort....). The rat wheel is obvious; earn the money to pay for the energy to earn the money to pay for the energy.... But simplification is just not on the table for him. When I suggested that his wife drive a small, energy efficient Fourtwo, I was informed that that just wasn't on. "She needs/wants a big car, for the kids and stuff." Even when the majority of her driving is the classic one person/one vehicle. So generally, I am in favour of pretty much anything that breaks the consumption cycle. Even if it means forcibly deporting free-marketers to Amerika (HHOK, alright?) The manufacture of demand must somehow be broken--as we saw during the two world wars, it can be done. But as long as corporations own the halls of governance, we might be hooped....

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