Sunday, April 29, 2012

Addicted to Energy

I was able to watch an interesting award-winning documentary called Peace Out (written by Charles Wilkinson, produced by Tina Schliessler ) before the premiere launch to the public.

So obviously I’m not an environmental expert. However, I do care about our environment and how it affects not only my daily living, but also the impact it has worldwide. This film had a variety of perspectives about the vast consumption of energy that has now become a great concern from a social, economic and health standpoint. Since it is a documentary, no one was left out to discuss the problems that we’re facing in our society. There were concerned citizens, advocates, activists, academic professors, energy executives and more.

The main focus of the documentary revolved around The Peace River Valley, which is a historic piece of land that is filled with agriculture and beauty. Residents want to preserve this area but a battle is currently going on because whispers have turned into real plans to turn the grounds into a nuclear power plant facility as well as a hydro-electric producing dam. Some believe that destroying these grounds will have a domino effect and create a number of different problems that are somehow being cast aside, including health implications. From the emotional interviews, you could definitely tell that people who live around the Peace River share a deep passion and commitment for keeping industry out of this area and will not go down without a fight.

Aside from that, everyone had something to say about energy. The emissions of transportation for food are a real concern for many, as well as what resources will replace oil. Will it be natural gas? What about coal or nuclear? People are afraid and rightfully so. We’re consumed with so much information, and let me say misinformation as well, so it’s a tough choice without knowing specifics about which is the better choice to use globally. I personally think that all fuels have both positives and negatives, so it will be a question of what is the lesser of all the evils to try to obtain. There will always be problems with any kind of energy that we produce, and I think it is very unrealistic to believe that in our technological world that the amounts we use will decrease in significant ways. As an example given, 2 Google searches can consume the same amount of electricity as a boiling cup of water for tea. Now that’s pretty shocking!

For the proponents of wind, it stated that wind turbines and solar cells are not as “green” as people may think and they do not produce enough wattage to work as effectively as hydro, coal or nuclear power. The facts seem to back up the claims, so it might be good to take this option off the table as a main source of energy.

A couple other things that I thought were food for thought in the documentary:
- 80% of Vancouver Island’s own food supply is down to 7%
-the projected use of increased energy from the IEA is 40% in 20-40 years.
-our addiction to energy is like a heroin addict looking for his/her last hit.

Overall, the documentary was pretty good. It was a little slow-paced but visually quite stunning with a great deal of information to digest. Obviously our society has an insatiable appetite for energy and that’s not really going away any time soon. I don’t feel the documentary was too biased, as they did show perspectives from a wide range of people and experts.

So what’s going to happen? I don’t really know at this point and it doesn’t seem like anyone else does either. Together we need to work on initiatives that will ultimately provide a higher quality of life for all. Until that time comes, we’ll continue to chant NIMBY…not in my backyard!