Alternatives Journal

This multidisciplinary Canadian journal provides articles, research and book reviews on environmental ideas and action.

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 1, Winter

Alternatives Directory: Canadian Graduate Environmental Studies Programs
CHOOSING a grad school is a difficult task. Not only do you have to find a school that meets all of your practical considerations, such as location, but you also need to find a place where you can grow and develop your interests. You are looking for...
A Whale of a Legacy
THE COLLAPSE OF THE SEA LION, seal and sea otter populations in the North Pacific is one of the world's best-known--and least-understood--conservation problems. Many blame starvation, shooting and fishnet deaths. But these explanations are disputed....
Back to the Future
IN THE 1970s the Middle East was in crisis and most Canadians thought and talked about energy use, especially after oil prices quadrupled in 1979. Big station wagons and tail-finned behemoths became yesterday's vehicles. Thirty years later, the Middle...
Blowing in the Wind: The Danes Have Shown That Wind Energy Thrives When There Is Consistent Government Support and Community Ownership
POLITICIANS in Denmark don't need to be reminded of the importance of wind power. All it takes is a simple look out the window, since the Danish parliament buildings in Copenhagen overlook the striking Middelgrunden wind farm, a graceful array of 20...
Bright Ideas: Twelve Steps to Break Our Energy Addiction-With Technologies and Policy Options That Are Available Today
FEW PEOPLE get a high from being stuck in a car in bumper-to-bumper commuter traffic. Nor is there much pleasure in spending eight hours a day in an over-heated or frigidly air-conditioned office. Nevertheless, as with real addictions, it's tough to...
Bush League Science: An Unprecedented Pattern of Distortion and Manipulation Marks the Bush Administration's Approach to Science
AL FRANKEN cut to the chase, calling his recent book on American politics, Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them. It's a better commentary than any managed by pundits seeking fairness and balance. Over the last two years we've watched President Bush...
Consumer Crunch: The Christmas Marketing Blitz Seems to Begin Earlier and Earlier Each Year. Avoid the Commercialism Blues by Checking out Some of These Information-Packed, Fun-Filled Web Sites. Even Better, Join the Discussions for Change
Buy Nothing Christmas www.buynothingchristmas.org Consider this a gift from the Canadian Mennonites--no more crazy lineups, last-second purchases or mountains of wrapping paper. Read about others who have dared cross the sacred tradition of Christmas...
Hydro Hype, Dam Delusions: The Proposal to Dam the Deh Cho for Hydroelectricity Is a Classic Case of Short-Sighted Energy Planning
THERE'S SOMETHING about the power of a giant and untamed river rushing to spill itself into the ocean that must drive engineers and politicians crazy about all that "wasted" energy. The Government of the Northwest Territories caught dam-building fever...
It Takes Two to Tango: Non-Profits Can Gain by Pooling Their Resources, Funding Efforts and Advocacy Work
THE CHARITABLE and non-profit sector faces many challenges today--finding funding, keeping charitable status, preventing staff burnout and feeling like the funders are setting the priorities. Competition for scarce resources, the pressure to be sustainable...
Money Talks, Standards Rock: Federal and Provincial Regulations Are Needed to Get Our Homes to the Highest Levels of Efficiency
THE AVERAGE Canadian household could cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 tonnes per year. More may now choose to do so. Under an incentive program announced by the federal government in October 2003, an increase in an average home's energy efficiency...
Not in Anyone's Backyard
ACOLLEAGUE in New Brunswick recently contacted me about a project by Bennett Environmental to burn contaminated soil from New Jersey in Belledune, home of the Noranda lead smelter. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador we faced a number of such proposals...
NYPV Blue: From Highrises to Brownstones, Solar Power Finds a Home in New York City
THERE'S NOTHING LIKE a massive blackout to spur a little energy introspection. When the lights went down across eastern Canada and the US on August 14, 2003, everyone with a theory and a voice began offering up explanations, remedies and told-you-so's....
Pretty City Kitty
I DIDN'T TELL anyone it was me. Would you? Would you admit to your teenage friends that in your spare time you volunteered as a giant cat that ran around city streets picking up garbage and appearing for photo ops? What would they say? "No--that was...
The Soft Path Holds Up: Efficient Technologies and Renewable Sources Will Bring a Cheaper, More Reliable Energy Future
ON COMPLETION of the Niagara Falls hydro project in 1905, a journalist enthused that "a source of energy as vast as the entire soft coal deposits of Pennsylvania had by some miraculous process been transferred to Canadian soil and by another miracle...
Under the Magnifying Glass: Nanotechnology Needs Open Deliberation Not Boosterism If It Is to Serve the Public Good
The potential implications of nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level, have been compared to the Industrial Revolution. It is one of the fastest growing fields of research today across various disciplines,...
Waste Energy Is Truro's Treasure
FOSSIL-FUELLED power plants produce twice as much heat as electricity. In most cases this heat is wasted, sent to the atmosphere or the local lake. City planners in Truro, Nova Scotia, have realized it doesn't have to be this way. In combination with...
Why We Need Renewables: Low-Impact, Renewable Sources of Energy Are Our Only Long-Term Hope
WITH THE Kyoto Protocol's target dates lying between 2008 and 2012, most climate change discussions focus on the coming decade. The preferred solutions are those, such as energy efficiency, that can deliver the targeted greenhouse gas emission reductions...
Wish You Were Here: Utopias, Dystopias and Other Environmental Fantasies Test Your Imagination
1. Written by Sir Thomas More, Utopia is speculative fiction about a land where communism prevails, different religions are tolerated and a national education program includes men and women. Translated from Greek, the word "utopia" means a) good...
Within Limits: Canada's Record on Environmental Protection Is a Patchwork of Weak Laws and Even Weaker Enforcement
ENVIRONMENTAL law is a relatively new field. Thirty years ago, concepts such as "biological diversity," "ozone depletion," "climate change" and "endocrine disruptors" did not exist. As recently as 1970, Canada had no federal environment department,...