I would like to express my appreciation for The Afro News Lifetime Achievement Legacy Award, which I received recently.I am very humbled and honored to have been selected to receive this prestigious award. I would like to thank my husband Rico, the many community members, photographers, writers and advertisers who gave me support and without whom I could not have done as much as I did. In particular I would like to pay special tribute and thanks to Birgit, Michael and Mark Okoth who were always there when I needed a friend with very big shoulders and the encouragement to “keep on keeping on” when the going got tough. Special thanks to Honore and the staff of The Afro News and The Sage Foundation, Also thank you to the people who signed the congratulations card, I was very touched. To my fellow honorees I extend congratulations. The community is very proud of you. I shall treasure this award always and will be eternally grateful to have been chosen to receive it. Thank you for your recognition of me.
Saving the Amazon rainforest was a hot topic in the 1980’s and 1990’s. But the creeping effects of climate change may now be rendering those noble efforts meaningless. A severe drought in the Amazon rainforest last year was substantially more severe than a similar drought in 2005. The scary part is that the 2005 drought was thought, at the time, to be a “once-in-a-century event”. Scientists are still exploring the cause of the droughts, but the leading contender is a “very, very unusual” weather pattern linked to higher sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. The concern researchers have is that the rainforest might now be approaching the point where it ceases to be a carbon “sink” for atmospheric carbon dioxide. The Amazon rainforest normally absorbs 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Moreover, as trees die and start to rot, not only do they stop storing carbon, they also start to emit carbon dioxide and other more aggressive greenhouse gases. Saving the Amazon rainforest was and is a noble cause. But if we don’t curtail our use of fossil fuels as an energy source and switch to clean alternatives as quickly as possible, all efforts to save the rainforests of the world may end up being for naught.
Jesse McClinton Victoria BC
BC Hydro recently released the business case for its Smart Metering Program. And they do make a compelling case: The Smart Metering Program will reportedly pay for itself and help to keep hydro rates lower than they would be if there was no investment in smart metering. As BC Hydro correctly states, “Technology has changed the way we communicate, made services more convenient and raised expectations for the speed and quality of those services.”
By electronically reporting electricity usage directly to BC Hydro on an hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis, smart meters will improve accuracy and efficiency and put an end to frustrating customer experiences resulting from missed meter readings, “estimated bills” and Step 2 rate overcharges.
As a BC Hydro customer, I can personally attest to the raised expectations customers have for speed and quality of service. I can also attest to the frustration resulting from a missed meter reading, “estimated bill” and Step 2 rate overcharge having experienced these myself.
And as someone who works in the telecommunications sector I can also attest to the enormous change that digital technology has brought to the world and to the way in which we communicate. There is absolutely no reason why BC Hydro should be relying on obsolete mechanical meters and manual meter reading in the digital age.
BC Hydro’s business case for its smart metering program is compelling. It demonstrates that the program will pay for itself in numerous ways, not the least of which are improved accuracy, customer service and satisfaction. In short, it’s time to embrace the digital age and bring BC Hydro’s metering systems into the 21st century.
Bruce Sanderson, Co-spokesperson
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
I find it shameful that the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, a group supposedly concerned about the environment, has closely allied itself with the interests of BC Hydro’s COPE 378 union in opposing private sector renewable energy projects in B.C.
I can certainly understand the narrow self-interest of a union like COPE 378 opposing and maligning their more efficient and cost-effective private sector competition; even though I can’t condone their tactics in any way.
But why would an environmental group like the Wilderness Committee care whether the public or the private sector develop renewable energy projects, especially when both sectors have to abide by the same environmental rules and regulations? Shouldn’t an environmental group’s only concern be that the highest environmental standards are adhered to?
As prominent B.C. environmentalist Tzeporah Berman said a while back: People want renewable energy projects done in environmentally sound ways, but “I personally don‘t care if renewables are built by Martians. We need to get it done right but we need to get it done.” I fully agree.
BC Hydro rates are reportedly going up by about 27 per cent over the next three years. It seems like an awful lot of money until you take a look at the list of upgrading projects BC Hydro is taking on to fix and improve the province’s aging dams and transmission lines.
The latest upgrading project announced by BC Hydro is an upgrade to the Ruskin Dam and powerhouse near Mission. It’s going to cost nearly a billion dollars. Add to that another three-quarters of a billion dollars to upgrade the Mica and Revelstoke dams, and another half billion for the Bennett dam and so on, and it starts to add up fast.
I completely understand why these upgrades are needed and I support BC Hydro in doing so. Postponing this investment in upgrades has only led to artificially low BC Hydro rates which have not reflected the true cost of the electricity we use.
But most of all, as a grandmother, I consider the maintenance and upgrades we pay for today to be an investment in our grandchildren’s future. They deserve the same opportunity for prosperity we’ve enjoyed in this province, and because of that I don’t begrudge one penny of what’s needed to make sure they get that same opportunity for prosperity.