Would You Want Your Family To Live In A Community Where Fracking Was Taking Place?

by Laura Mitic (Carmanah) for The Jellyfish Project

New York just became the second state in the United States to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within it's borders.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the ban after the "significant public health risks'' of fracking were identified by Commissioner Howard Zucker.
According to Dr. Zucker, his review came down to one question: "Would he want his family to live in a community where fracking was taking place?"

Fracking is the act of drilling into the earth and injecting a high-pressure water mixture, composed of water, sand and chemicals, into shale rock.  This allows the natural gas inside to be released and flow out of the well.  It takes 1-8 millions gallons of fresh water and approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals to complete each fracturing job.  Many of the chemicals used are toxins and carcinogens, and nearby communities have felt their effects after drinking contaminated water, leading to sensory, respiratory and neurological disorders.

Governor Cuomo claims that this has been the most emotionally charged issue he's had to deal with so far, including discussions about gay marriage and the death penalty.  The decision has been met with much support by the community, environmentalists and liberals, but also with a great deal of resistance from the oil and gas companies who claim that fracking in NY would create many jobs and millions in revenue.

Check out more here on NY here
To learn more about the controversies surrounding fracking, click here
Here is an amazing interactive site on fracking

Green Energy Creates Green Jobs

Taken from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Website
Published Dec 4, 2014

According to Clean Energy Canada, green energy is putting lie to the belief that it is fossil fuels, and not renewables, that bring prosperity and jobs. According to a new report out Tuesdaydirect jobs in the country’s green energy sector in 2013 number 23,700 (including clean energy, clean transport, services and equipment manufacturing) while direct oil sands jobs are just 22,300. $25 billion has been invested in the fast emerging Canadian cleantech sector during the past five years, and its employment numbers have risen 37 per cent. Revenues from oil certainly provide riches, around $3.5 billion to the Alberta treasury alone each year, and the report doesn’t tally indirect jobs, which Alberta claims are well over 100,000 for oil sands. Yet creating direct employment is one of the most impactful things any industry can do to create value, and the green energy sector is clearly doing this.

So is it possible that the oil sands aren’t the only route to energy riches in Canada? Capital Economics, a London firm, said that the $40-dollar-a-barrel price plummet for oil may cut government revenues from the industry and hurt the companies’ bottom line - but it also translates into something like $1.3 trillion in energy savings for Canadian consumers. This is about 1.7 per cent of Canada’s GDP. One example is fuel costs: a litre of gas in Victoria, BC, has dropped from about $1.30 / L three months ago to around $1.14 / L this week, which means losses for industry and government but fuel savings of about 12 per cent in the pockets of every Victoria driver. But there is one dubious symbol of the decline of the price at the pump: an uptick in SUV sales. That hasn’t affected sales of ‘green’ cars however, at least not yet: electric vehicle sales in Canada are increasing. But there can be no doubt that cheaper gasoline, should it persist, will make such purchases less attractive in coming months. Canada’s cleantech industry includes manufacture of fully electric vehicles like New Flyer’s electric buses that went into service in Winnipeg last week, as well as widely distributed manufacture of smaller vehicles and components. Continuing growth of this sector depends at least in part on the incentive that an accelerating price of liquid fossil-fuels presents; the current decline jeopardizes what has been a welcome switch toward adoption of cleaner transportation technologies.   

Holland - The Little Country That Can

by Laura Mitic (Carmanah) for The Jellyfish Project

In Holland, workers install the world's first solar-powered bike lane

In Holland, workers install the world's first solar-powered bike lane

In Holland, there are more bikes than people. In my opinion, it is the little country that could...or maybe I should rephrase that to the little country that can, and is. It seems to me that Holland is one of the most logical and well organized countries, and therefore, it was not surprising to hear that they have had a National Environmental Policy Plan for more than 20 years and have already met over 70% of the original goals of this plan. These environmental initiatives have already led to cleaning the country's rivers, improving waste management, and reducing air pollution. Now they are focusing on investing in renewable energy sources and further reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 and 95% by 2015.

Holland is remarkably bike friendly, and I think this is one of the most amazing things that the rest of the world can learn from them. For many people in Holland, biking is the easiest, most logical and most economical choice. There are either well marked bike lanes or completely separate bike paths built alongside the roads. In the cities, thousands of bikes are organized into bike "parking lots." People of all ages ride their bikes, from kids going to school (they all ride together and it looks like one big bus load of kids, minus the bus, going down the street) to senior citizens (and of course, exercise is another benefit here too!).

Plus, there's more, check out this awesome article on how Holland has opened the world's first solar bike lane!

Students Speak Out - Feedback on the JFP from Students

From September 2013 to March 2014, The Jellyfish Project (JFP) provided shows to over 50,000 students across Canada to raise awareness about ocean health and climate change issues. The JFP’s Winter Tour focused on schools on the west coast of Canada, including the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. In the spring, Jessica Lansfield, a doctoral student from the University of Victoria, conducted focus groups with students who had seen a JFP presentation during the Winter 2014 Tour to discover their perspectives on the JFP, its messages, and how to engage today’s youth.

The following document, Students Speak Out, is a summary of what the students had to say.