The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tune in, Turn Off

By Tamara Lee

Hearing about the ‘Turn it Off, British Columbia’ campaign, an energy conservation initiative planned for May 16, was a disappointment to me. Not because I am a cynical resource hog (okay, I’ve been known to be both), but because I had already booked my airline ticket for that day, making my contribution to the event rather limited. And secretly (and, yes, cynically), I wondered if enough people would rally together to make any sort of impact. It seems, though, the initiative is gaining momentum.

Yesterday, I saw another advert for the event and, feeling a bit of guilt rise in me, decided to choose another day to do it, so at least I’d achieve the goal symbolically.

According to the BC Hydro website, the average B.C. household uses about 15% more electricity today than in 1986 and about 30% more than in 1976. The quick-cynic’s math on that one: 30 years, 30% increase. Jaysus.

As a twisted sort of irony, today my inbox contained a mass forward for another resource fight, an email reminding ‘all internet users’ to ‘not pump gas’ on May 15 in protest of the rising gas prices. As a non-driver, this one I can do.

The email throws out a few stats that I haven’t confirmed, but the gist is that 10 years ago, a similar ‘gas out’ was conducted, resulting in a 30cent drop ‘overnight… If all [internet] users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000.00 (that's almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil company's pockets for just one day.’

What’s sad is there will likely be a greater impact on the bottom-line on the May 15th forgoing of fuel, than the May 16th light outage.

But this fossil fuel protest has done one thing for me: it has made me more determined to do my part for the Turn It Off campaign.


(printgocco image courtesy of heatherjeany)


Blogger Patricia said...

Thanks Tamara, it's this wednesday, I'll join you. In our home, we need to conserve more energy, the recycling thing is good, we recycle everything, literally, but there are toooo many things in our home left on, electric toothbrushes and computers and batteries for this and that, thanks for the heads up!

Mon May 14, 11:09:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I have finally broken a terrible habit of letting the tap run when I brush my teeth. I just like the sound! I've resisted giving it up, but I've finally let bigger issues than my oral/aural fixations run the show. There is a corresponding increase in feeling virtuous though- so I'm about even.
Happy Flight, Tamara.

Mon May 14, 02:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I like the statistics you cite. If we could get enough of a mass movement (and the Internet offers that opportunity) we could make a huge difference. Turning the power off Wednesday night doesn't seem too difficult and we won't need to visit the pumps tomorrow. Will it be noticed, I wonder?

Mon May 14, 04:04:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

I hope it's noticed; each side will have its own official take on it, regardless. But I need these sorts of things as a reminder of how wasteful I am. It's like a mother reminding me to sit up straight or you'll be sorry. I wish I'd listened more to that one; my back is killing me. Now I hear an unknown voice saying: turn off that VCR clock; shut down that computer; turn off that unnecessary lamp. I'll be thinking about this waste as I fly over the lights of Montreal on Wednesday night ;)

Thanks for reading, gang.

Mon May 14, 11:49:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...

I didn't buy gas today because (a) I didn't have the money, and (b) There was a lineup at the pumps! Obviously, not EVERYBODY got that email.

Tue May 15, 10:45:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Hey, look at it this way, Tamara: You got out of BC entirely and took all your energy-using with you. Way to go!

Wed May 16, 03:04:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Yes, I took my energy-using to the hoggy city of Montreal. For such a progressive city, it seems recycling is not a big thing here, compared to Van.

Sun May 20, 12:50:00 pm GMT-4  

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