The Take Charge! Tour: Silver Donald Speaks on Energy Efficiency
I'm excited to tell you that I'm partnering with Efficiency Nova Scotia on a province-wide speaking tour to promote energy efficiency. Take Charge! Saving Money, Creating Jobs and Helping the Planet will launch in Truro tomorrow, November 26. I'll be speaking in Stellarton December 1, and in Sydney December 8, and visiting Amherst, Bridgewater, Wolfville, Yarmouth and Halifax in the first six weeks of 2012. (There's a full schedule below.)
Given that energy supplies are declining, prices are rising, and the air is full of smutch, energy efficiency is really a no-brainer. Using less energy saves money, creates jobs and business opportunities, and slows the rate at which we foul the air. You don't have to believe in human-generated climate change – though I definitely do – to understand that cleaner air is a good idea. All you have to do is try to breathe in downtown Toronto during a temperature inversion. In fact – though the numbers aren't often tracked – in cities around the world, scads of people are already dying from air pollution.
Pristine, bucolic Nova Scotia leads the world in solid-waste management – but, oddly enough, it produces a particularly high level of greenhouse-gas emissions. As I pointed out in a pair of newspaper columns in 2001, that's largely because we rely very heavily on coal-fired electricity generation. If you want to know more – and also learn what's meant by “ecological footprint” – I've just combined those two columns into one piece called “Elephant Tracks,” and posted it on the Green Pieces blog on this site.
Ten years after I wrote those columns, Nova Scotia set up Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation, a free-standing corporation financed largely by a small levy on our power bills. Its sole mission is to reduce our electrical demand, and thus diminish our footprint.
As ENSC's CEO Allan Crandlemire notes, “Saving energy – by increasing your efficiency and reducing your consumption –is the lowest cost form of energy out there. It’s cheaper than the new renewable energy sources. Kilowatt hours that are never used are kilowatt hours that Nova Scotians never have to buy, piles of coal that are never burned in the power plant, and greenhouse gases that never go up the stack.”
ENSC's programs rely heavily on rebates and incentives – because we can only get a major reduction in demand by inducing hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians to reduce the demands of their individual homes and businesses. Some of these programs have been in place for a while, and – along with rising fuel costs – they've already had a dramatic effect. Since 2008, Nova Scotian businesses and households have saved enough electricity to power 34,000 average homes. In 2011 alone, the impact of efficiency programs will be equivalent to taking 20,000 vehicles off the road.
That kind of success results from Nova Scotians working together. To build momentum, the programs need to be explained and publicized – and that's where I come in. In addition to traditional advertising and public relations work, Efficiency Nova Scotia decided that they needed a well-promoted speaking tour, with a high-profile environmental advocate telling the story across the province.
How could I not be delighted that ENSC chose me for the task? For a decade and more I've been declaring that our highest priorities should include energy efficiency – and now I get to show people how we can actually make that happen. It's a dream assignment.
The schedule follows – and for more information about specific energy efficiency programs, check out Efficiency Nova Scotia at www.efficiencyns.ca or on Facebook.
And if you're in any of those towns when I'm speaking, please come out. I'd love to see you!
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Truro – Kick off – In conjunction with Colchester Regional Development Authority
Saturday, November 26th 2011, 7:00-8:00 pm, Marigold Cultural Center, 605 Prince Street
Thursday December 1st 2011, 7:00-8:00 pm, Museum of Industry First floor in the gallery, 147 North Ford Street
Thursday, December 8th,, 7:00-8:00 pm, Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion, First floor, 74 Esplanade
Tuesday, January 10th 2012, 7:00-8:00 pm, Amherst Lion’s Club
Thursday, January 12th, 2012, 7:00-8:00 p.m., Bridgewater Fire Hall, 81 Dominion Street
Thursday January 19th 2012, 7:00-8:00 pm, Acadia University, The Fountain Commons-The Great Hall, Crowell Drive
Wednesday February 1st 2012, 7:00-8:00 pm, The Yarmouth Arts Regional Council's Playhouse and Arts Centre, 76 Parade Street
Halifax – Wrap Up- In conjunction with the Keshen Goodman Public Library February 6th 2012, 7:00-8:00 pm, Keshen Goodman Public Library, 330 Lacewood Drive