My first excursion was a round-tripper from Toronto to Port Elgin via Orangeville. The Canadian Autoworkers union was hosting a retreat for the bi-annual environment conference of its Health and Safety Department. The conference, held at the incredible CAW family education centre on the shores of Lake Huron, was attended by workers represented by CAW locals. You can learn more about their environment programme, by reviewing their statement of principles and checking out their website.
My next excursion was a lively affair with the ZooShare Biogas Cooperative team to learn about anaerobic digestion in the Niagara region. Vandermeer Greenhouses began in 1976 after Peter Vandermeer had sold his share of a greenhouse business in Holland and emigrated to Canada with his wife and daughter. Two years later, he purchased 5 acres in Niagara-on-the-Lake and started building. Operations slowly expanded over the years eventually reaching 280,000 square feet and becoming the largest grower of cut mums in Ontario.
|Primary and secondary digesters w greenhouse in background.|
However, proponents of green energy should not assume that this transformation is deep rooted. There are still a number of concerns and issues that must be addressed to assuage a variety of groups (including possibly the next government of the province) before the Green Energy and Green Economy Act will grow as sturdy as a mature oak tree. Evidence of this discontent was also visible during my travels.
Hopefully, Ontarians will arrive at a solution to the development of green energy that will allow for interested developers and generators to reap the rewards for taking on significant risks but will also allow for the civil resolution of concerns expressed by neighbours and communities. Ontario has an opportunity to lead the way in North America and many residents have already opened the door to that opportunity.