Power: Seminar Follow-Up

On September 9, Wintergreen hosted a day-long seminar called Power in the Climate Era. Presentations were given by five guests, leading off with Angela Bischoff on Ontario’s electricity grid, our over dependence on high cost nuclear power, and lower cost options including conservation and water power imports from Quebec. Steve Lapp followed, highlighting both the challenges and possibilities for a 100% renewable future. Paul McKay made a strong case for forest carbon offsets. We also heard about communications and messaging from Mitchell Beer and lobbying from Lyn Adamson (two presentations).

The downloadable presentations appear here:

Angela Bischoff – CLOSE PICKERING    (angela@cleanairalliance.org)

Steve Lapp – 100% RENEWABLES   (lappstve@kos.net)

Paul McKay – GREENING ONTARIO   (paul@paulmckay.com)

Mitchell Beer – MESSAGING   (mitchell@smartershift.com)

Lyn Adamson – LOBBYING   (lynadamson9@gmail.com)

Lyn Adamson – CLIMATE FAST

During the afternoon, small groups convened to discuss a path forward. The general issues discussed, along with potential action items, were as follows:

General Issues and Observations

  • Vital to make the true costs of nuclear power in Ontario known to the public (including financial implications, safety concerns, etc.)
  • Electricity grid issues in Ontario, and the resistance to change, have similarities to what’s happening in the tar sands in Alberta
  • Environmental benefits often bring with it a growth in economy (i.e., economy doesn’t suffer when the environment is taken into account)
  • Might be better to use a sustainable growth argument rather than focusing on environmental protection, always bringing jobs and the economy into the discussion
  • Lack of understanding in the general public about how sustainable and renewable resources work
  • Lack of awareness of general public on these issues: they’re not topics for the dinner table. How can we catalyze those conversations?
  • How can we educate the public (and Queen’s Park) to make more informed choices?
  • Big picture easier to grasp than supporting details: 100% renewable
  • Vital to pay attention to the location/region in pitching the arguments, as there are many diverse communities in the province
  • Remember that many voters are primarily interested in costs, and therefore all of the arguments need to be couched in terms of “what it will cost the voter”
  • Many participants were shocked about the government issued pills to people living within 10 km of Pickering, Darlington and Bruce nuclear generating stations, and available free to people within 50 km of these stations; again, important to educate the public with the kinds of information shared in the formal presentations. Learn more about the pills at preparetobesafe.ca.
  • Crucial to balance horror with hope, support one another, stay connected. If even a few of us keep the conversation going and pursue some of the action items below, we will have been successful.

Action Items

  • Share participant contact information (Monica)
  • Circulate minutes (Monica)
  • Post presentations on the Wintergreen site and through our social media channels (Monica)
  • Read No Nuke News and related newsletters – click on the link for back issues (Angela to add email addresses).
  • Come to the Wintergreen Renewable Energy Coop AGM, September 18 @ 7 pm, Calvin Park Library (near YMCA at the Kingston Centre) and learn from a local panel about EV cars
  • Sign the petition to Close Pickering (close-pickering.ca). And send it to everyone you know!
  • Create a 3-day blitz – short period of time, targeted action, such as:
    • Write a letter to your MPP, Premier, and editor of your local paper.
    • Knock on your neighbour’s door and have a conversation. Repeat. Repeat again.
    • Post about a particular idea or event (e.g., cost of electricity, dangers of nuclear, feasibility of EV)
    • Call an MPP
    • Post a series of dinner table conversations about power and renewables
  • Pressure Auditor General and Environment Commissioner for public accountability
  • Create nuanced messages that appeal to all platforms: push for an all party agreement, for fiscal responsibility
  • Movies at the Screening Room with opportunities for discussion, such as An Inconvenient Sequel, Quietly into Disaster (German film), The Fourth Energy Revolution (uplifting film by Herman Sheer featuring German and 10 other countries), as well as many other films available through Climate Fast (contact Lyn Adamson for further information)
  • Personal choices to reduce carbon footprint
  • Join Wintergreen Renewable Energy Coop Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Wintergreen-Renewable-Energy-Co-op-140574316100095/
  • Create a “Close Pickering” social media campaign using short videos made by young people (Rena to coordinate with Angela’s help). Focus on the KI pills to make clear the risks.