Canada's Environmental Wellbeing Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1163 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Energy

Canada

In his book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, Andrew Nikiforuk outlines his "12 steps to energy sanity." These are

Admit the magnitude and complexity of the energy crisis

Slow down tar sands development and cap production at two million barrels a day

Establish a national energy strategy for energy security and innovation

Impose a carbon tax with a 100% dividend

Challenge the first law of petropolitics

Challenge continental energy integration

Relocalize food production

Abandon economic dead-end activities such as carbon capture and storage

Orient all rural and urban planning to renewable energy

Pick the lowest-hanging fruit first

Don't wait for government

Renegotiate NAFTA

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Of these twelve steps, the most important for Canada's environmental well-being is to orient all rural and urban planning to renewable energy. This step works best in conjunction with steps 10 and 11, but this essay will show that this one step alone will have a substantial impact on our environmental well-being.

Term Paper on Canada's Environmental Wellbeing Assignment

The first reason that orienting all rural and urban planning to renewable energy is the most important is because so many of our energy problems revolve around our lifestyle choices. Nikiforuk notes that the Japanese use one-third the energy of Canadians per capita and Europeans one-half. Even when we set aside climate differences -- we need more fuel for winter heating than do most countries -- Canada has still made very poor choices with respect to urban and rural planning. Our cities are predominantly comprised of suburban sprawl. The sprawl pattern is incredibly energy inefficient in a number of ways. Houses are far larger than the occupants truly need, and the amount of paved roadway needed to make suburbs work properly is exceptional. Urban planners have emphasizes the hub-and-spoke planning model where people are essentially forced to live far from where they work, necessitating long commutes. Local governments are responsible for zoning, and make this choice deliberately because in many cases they earn more revenue from residential development than commercial or industrial. Provincial governments also contribute to this problem by developing transportation strategy that emphasizes the automobile. BC's new Port Mann Bridge is a good example of such a project, as this will only encourage further suburban sprawl in the Fraser Valley.

The current approach can be replaced by energy efficient approaches used in Europe and Japan. Their cities emphasize density, public transportation and bicycle lanes. With a history of these transportation modes, Japan and Europe do not have the same intense car culture that we have in Canada. You simply do not see the public outcry over new bike lanes in Europe that downtown Vancouver has seen. By focusing effort for all urban planning to emphasize energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy such as solar panels, wind turbines and in most parts of the country hydroelectric power, the culture that surrounds energy consumption will also change. It is the culture of energy consumption that feeds existing patterns, thereby shaping political discourse and policy, and providing strength to the inertia that stands as a barrier to change.

At present we are driven by an approach that already seems outmoded. Europe and Japan consume far less energy despite having the same quality of life. They do this with strong investment in public transportation. They have also built compact cities, where ours sprawl. Additionally, nations that have limited domestic supplies of hydrocarbons tend to innovate with respect to their energy usage. Canada will benefit from undertaking a reorientation of energy… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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