COLUMN: Oil dependency has to end

We have a love-hate relationship with oil companies.

We have a love-hate relationship with oil companies.

We love that easy energy filling our vehicles and oil tanks, yet we hate the fact we are addicted to the stuff – paying whatever these companies decide to charge us.

In my years of trying to help people reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, it has become very clear that the vast majority of us are willing to remain highly dependent, content to whine but do little to change our ways.

I have read many apparently desperate attempts to force oil companies to lower their prices.

E-mails circulate encouraging us to boycott such-in-such gas company in the hope that the resulting reduction in business will force them to lower their prices.

When I point out to the senders that the only way prices will drop is when we reduce our consumption, I hear only stony silence, and gas prices just keep on rising.

Why so little change on our part?

Even when better transportation solutions are offered and energy upgrades to homes and buildings are cost-effective (paying for themselves many times over) most people hardly bother.

Only three motivators seem to push people to reduce their energy use: avoiding escalating energy costs and improving comfort levels and/or convenience.

While public transportation (such as buses and trains), walking and cycling are far more environmentally and economically sustainable, they are seen to be less convenient and (in the case of cycling) far less comfortable.

A couple of writers to the Nanaimo News Bulletin insist that public investment in such measures is not cost-effective, yet fail to acknowledge the billions of dollars spent yearly on the roads and bridges (one clover-leaf overpass costs $30-$40 million a copy, encouraging more vehicular traffic and thus more grid-lock).

They also seem to ignore the fact that vehicle ownership is expensive (about $10K a year), nor recognize that our convenient easy lifestyle is costing us billions in health-care costs and lost work

time, to name a few.

In other words, our love of comfort and convenience is killing us, our budgets, and (very likely) our planet.

The province is currently pushing gas development and the feds are championing oil. Neither approach is helping us reduce our fossil fuel addictions.

Clearly it’s up to us to act. Continued inaction will certainly result in less money, comfort, convenience and health.

Time has run out. If you love your wallet, your comfort and your planet, now is the time to act.

u

Ian Gartshore chairs the non-profit Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island.

Just Posted

Nanaimo city council issues permit for Third Street ‘gateway’ development

181 residential units plus commercial space to be built on site of former Armishaw farm

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre was shut down during police incident Monday

Local artist explores Nanaimo’s old Chinatown in new video installation

Charlotte Zhang among eight artists in Nanaimo Art Gallery’s ‘Estuary’ exhibition starting this week

Three blocks of Bruce Avenue will be closed until fall

Work will include utility upgrades, new curbs and sidewalks and new on-street bike lanes

Nanaimo Clippers won’t be hosting 2021 national championships

Hockey Canada hasn’t announced successful bid, but has advised it won’t be Nanaimo

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre was shut down during police incident Monday

Silly Boat Regatta fills Nanaimo harbour with silly sailing

Island Red Cedar Construction wins this year’s race

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Wolves not gnawing into Island’s prey population

Forestry practices, not predation, blamed for reduced numbers in prey animals

Most Read