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Clean Energy and the Case for Hope – A Success!

Cheryl Kabloona
Saturday, May 28, 2016
100% renewable can happen sooner than you think!
Panelists (l-r) Wendy McLean, Brock Nanson, Kristopher Peters, John Kenney

The BCSEA Kamloops Chapter held a film night on May 25.  This was the latest in a monthly series called Films For Change, sponsored by the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Office and in its second year.  The Sustainability Office provides the venue and marketing assistance for a sustainability-related community group to show a film every month.  Admission is by donation with proceeds going to the community group. 

The usual format is a full-length documentary film followed by a question and answer period with a panel of local experts.  Our steering committee didn't find a documentary that appealed to us, so we decided we’d show a series of recent videos instead.  We all contributed ideas on what to show, and we ended up with videos that illustrate how close we are to a clean energy transition.  We thought our audience might not realize just how fast the renewable energy sector is advancing, and we wanted to give people a sense of hope, knowing that it's possible to provide the world with 100% renewable energy in a few short decades. 

The list of videos is down below, with links so you can watch them too. The videos are very exciting and positive, and the audience definitely responded to that.  We had an excellent panel: Brock Nanson, consulting civil engineer; John Kenney, consulting sustainable energy specialist;  Kristopher Peters, civil engineer and member of the Stó:lō Nation; and Wendy McLean, renewable energy technician. Among the panel members, two drive electric vehicles, one has a rooftop solar array, one is building a Living Building Challenge home, and all are current or former BCSEA Kamloops steering committee members!  It’s wonderful to have that kind of expertise in our community.  The discussion was fascinating.  The panel members are all very well-informed and were happy to share their perspectives.  I heard afterwards that the audience would have liked more time for Q&A. 

We were pleased with the turnout of 65, about normal for the series. We structured the evening to have a short Q&A discussion after each video, so the short discussion periods took place repeatedly through the evening. This was new to the series and it worked out very well. The audience was engrossed up to the very end. I didn’t see a single person leave until just before 9 pm. 

Lots of good information came up.  Here are a few takeways:

  • Heavy trucks and mining equipment can be electrified as batteries become more energy-dense
  • The Site C dam is totally unnecessary given alternative, low-impact forms of renewable energy
  • Many First Nations are doing renewable energy projects, often in win-win partnerships with solar or wind developers, and are using bulk purchases for components
  • If you live in an apartment, you can invest in a cooperatively owned solar project; a solar array on your roof can give you a better return than many low-yield investments; and it's important for companies to “measure what matters,” not just money.

I wish we had taped it!

At the end of the evening, I asked the audience if they felt more hopeful about the transition to renewable energy, and it seemed that most of the crowd had their hands up.  We’re all encouraged to know that 100% renewable is doable and not far away.

Here are the videos:

Al Gore TED talk The Case for Optimism on Climate Change (Feb 2016), http://www.ted.com/talks/al_gore_the_case_for_optimism_on_climate_change

Mark Jacobson interview in The Future of Clean-Energy, from The National (March 2016),  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPLiUm9Rp9k

The Solutions Project, clickable world map and resources,  http://thesolutionsproject.org/  

Elon Musk Debuts the Tesla Powerwall (May 2015) - https://youtu.be/yKORsrlN-2k?t=2m9s  

Bloomberg: The Peak Oil Myth and the Rise of the Electric Car (Feb 2016), http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-02-24/the-peak-oil-myth-and-th...  

Two examples of solar projects in First Nations communities:

Solar in the Tarsands: Indigenous community launches solar powered health centre (Sept 2015),  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iXUTA675NB8

T'Sou-ke Solar Power (April 2012),  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=shVBlec0D_o

We closed with a video on the social and political solutions, not just technological:  

The Story of Solutions featuring Annie Leonard (Oct 2013),  http://storyofstuff.org/movies/the-story-of-solutions/  




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