Moving up in the gene Poole

Another eccentricity of my privileged Tofino house-sit is that i must vacate it periodically, when the owners to return or, sometimes, their house-swap partners. As of today i am on one such hiatus. Sometimes i luck into a temporarily empty apartment, sometimes i leave town to visit friends. This time, though, i decided to scratch a longtime curiosity: I’m living for three weeks on Poole’s Land. Continue reading “Moving up in the gene Poole”

Burnin’ Toff

I am continually amazed by the aplomb with which some Tofinoites burn fuel to satisfy their lifestyle urges. Aside from the evangelical bikers and the broke, bicycle use (and walking) are rare in town. The car — one person per, usually — is the mainstay of everything from food shopping to socializing. Almost anything seems to justify a trip cross-island — shopping, meetings, whims. As for the requisite winter trip … Cuba, Mexico, even Australia are not too far away.

I include myself in this coterie of earth-rapers, by the way. A quick blast down to Ukee to check the mail … an indulgent, flown-in piece of fruit at Green Soul … effortless to justify, even as i declaim my environmental enlightenment.

I’m all for Reduce when it comes to fossil fuel. But i have to acknowledge that, in this crazy existing world, going entirely without would be an act of madness. So to make it a little easier for folks to at least offset their fuel emissions, some resources.

  1. Each litre of gas you burn produces 2.34 kg of CO2. If your car does 25 mpg (9 km per litre), and you drove 15,000 km this year, you used 1,667 litres of gas and produced 3900 kg of CO2 — almost 4 tonnes. So take a look at your odometer, estimate your car’s fuel efficiency, and do the math. (From Guy Dauncey’s EcoNews, Mar. 2007)
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  2. Flying is highly fuel intensive. Here’s an on-line calculator to find out how much CO2 goes into the atmosphere from any flight. (Example: a round-trip flight from Vancouver to Acapulco emits about 270 kg of fuel, producing over 800 kg of CO2 — per passenger! Worse, because that CO2 is emitted high up in the atmosphere, it’s three times more effective as a warming gas. Yikes!)
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  3. I urge you to Reduce, but for that portion you can’t eliminate … offset! Various organizations will, for a fee, pull carbon out of the air (i.e. by planting trees) or see that it doesn’t get emitted in the first place (i.e. by replacing gas generators with solar in remote villages) in your name. But which ones can you trust? Luckily, we have a recent report from the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute, rating 19 different carbon offset organizations as to their effectiveness. Download Carbon offset vendors (PDF, 196 k).

Note that an ideal emissions target to avoid catastrophic climate change is something like 4 tonnes of CO2 a year per person — pretty much what average car use produces, never mind the rest of our energy use. So you can see what kind of cutbacks are required.

Another tip: Cut down on the meat, since the livestock industry produces 18% of global carbon emissions. (Econews, Sept. 2007; also a UN figure)

Thanks to Tofino District CFO Edward Henley for bring this report to a Green Breakfast. If you really want to bone up on carbon offsets, there’s a lot of info on the  Suzuki Foundation site right here.

Road’s End–Tales of Tofino

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while: my review of my friend Shirley’s new book. This is the dry, newspaper review; the Tofino Time one is more fun, but it ain’t on-line yet.

Road’s End, Tales of Tofino
— a review

by greg blanchette, Tofino

It has been her labour of both love and obsession for years, and now it’s finally out. Locals will recognize Tofino man-about-town Turtle smiling from the cover, as well as appearing in a couple of the stories within.

Many other locals, past and present, may see themselves in the pages of Road’s End—Tales of Tofino, a new book by Tofino’s own Shirley Langer.

It’s a fun read. Shirley’s got a knack for digging up good stories and telling them. It’s like a lazy walk around town, bumping into people on the sidewalk or eavesdropping on them in a coffee shop.

There are twenty tales in all, on a wide variety of subjects. Some are profiles, some are little adventures. There’s one about a dog and one about a chicken; also beachcombing, latkes, driveways and tsunamis. One is almost an investigative report on the problem of plastic trash in the ocean. Others smack of a sociology text on the town, in which the writer makes note of details that everyone knows but nobody notices. Continue reading “Road’s End–Tales of Tofino”

We suck!

Five toga-clad revellers pulled off a coup that stunned even themselves in the Oyster Slurping Contest at last Friday’s Mermaid’s Ball. — the costume-party element of the (in)famous annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival.

Left to right in the pic (which is one of the least scandalous of our slurp posted on Facebook by Ed Henley) are winning team members Kim, Josie, me, Katie and Lyndsey.

Josie was the organizational brain behind this … triumph? Spectacle? Debacle? Whichever, i’m sure we all take great pride in the victory, and comfort in knowing that what happened at the Mermaid’s Ball … stays at the Mermaid’s Ball. Right, townsfolk?

For those at the raucous event who did not hear Cameron reading our  explanatory speech (i.e. everybody), here’s the text:

Friends, Tofitians, countrymen … Centuries ago, the ancient Greeks instituted a festival of sport.

YEA, in the very shadow of noble Mount Olympus, home of the GODS, they held a yearly contest of physical prowess FREE of cheesy corporate sponsorship and obscene insider profit at taxpayer expense.

This ancient, shining civilization — the very birthplace of democracy itself — NEVER compromised its citizens’ civil rights as they enjoyed their traditional sports of naked wrestling and WOMEN’S SKI JUMPING.

NOW, in a tribute to their TRUE spirit, we present the long lost opening event to those ancient Games … the OLYMPIC OYSTER RELAY.

And the sign that Josie held up at the end read:

This Olympic relay cost taxpayers $0!

In a lovely touch, it was printed in the Coca-Cola font. We rest our case.