Boating Up Bute: A Sierra Club Fact-Finding Trip
Bute Inlet, a long and deep fjord 300 kilometres north of Vancouver, is sometimes known as “Canada’s Himalayas”.
It has glacier-covered mountain slopes, temperate rainforest, and a stunning view of Mount Waddington, the highest peak entirely in BC.
In the news, Bute has become synonymous with a controversial power proposal to harness over 1,000 megawatts of electricity from 17-high elevation creeks and rivers, and march it over the mountains to the electrical grid.
In late June, Sierra Club staff and volunteers boated up the 75-kilometre inlet. We wanted a first-hand view of the scope of the development owned by Plutonic Power Corp and its partner General Electric.
Read our op-ed piece in the Vancouver Sun.
In a “green power” gold rush invisible to most of us, the BC government has granted more than 130 water-for-power licences. Close to 600 more applications are pending.
The sheer scale of Plutonic’s proposal warrants questions and concern.
It is 33 times larger than the 30 megawatt limit set by the state of California’s renewable energy bill for run of river hydroelectric power. In addition to 17 stream diversions and 445 kilometres of transmission lines, the Bute project would involve 314 kilometres of roads, 142 bridges, 16 powerhouses, and a substation.
“As BC speeds up development of cleaner, carbon neutral energy, we need a well-thought, comprehensive and publicly acceptable template to assess the full environmental footprint of new power proposals,” says Sierra Club BC Executive Director George Heyman
October 21-23, 2009 over one thousand young people from across Canada will come together for two days of awesome workshops and strategy sessions in Ottawa that will build to a MAJOR lobby day on Parliament Hill on the third day. We will deliver our message of change to our elected officials and push the federal government to take bold steps in tackling climate change.
Youth of all backgrounds will come together to create a fresh, positive, and inspiring vision of the future, one focused on our potential to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, build a clean energy economy, create green jobs, increase global equity, and revitalize our economy. Now is the time for action. Now is the time for boldness.
The timing of Power Shift is critical. It leads into the UN climate negotiations taking place in December in Copenhagen where the international community must pull together a post-Kyoto deal on emission reductions. Canada has been a laggard on the international front, making this action doubly important - we need an international stance we can be proud of.
Young people in Canada have helped lead the charge for a brighter future. This moment is our chance to leverage that momentum into the largest youth climate action gathering Canada has ever seen!
Didn't this happen somewhere else before?
Powershift Canada will build on the success of similar events across the globe - in the UK, Austrailia and the US. At PowerShift US, young people mobilized over 10,000 youth to attend a major demonstration and lobby day in Washington last year! It's time to bring that excitement to Canada and make our voices heard!
What is it going to take to make this happen?
To make it happen we need YOUR help! There is a lot of exciting stuff that needs to happen, and a lot of fun ways to get involved. This is your opportunity to make history.
Pedal for the Planet
Pedal for the Planet riders have been on the move with cyclists from the west and will reach Regina in time for the Council of the Federation premier meetings.
There they will be on hand to insist that all industry sectors across Canada – including the tar sands – make their fair share of global warming pollution cuts in any national cap and trade system.
They’ve been busy along the way holding action trainings, speaking events, and a rally at the constituency office of Environment Minister Jim Prentice.
On June 26, Pedal for the Planet started in Whitehorse, Yukon — with supporters cheering on Malkolm Boothroyd, Wendy Boothroyd, John Streiker and other cyclists. On June 28, Malkolm and Wendy set off, cycling close to a thousand kilometres down the Alaska Highway from Whitehorse to Edmonton. Malkolm is continuing on, joining the Prairie team of riders starting in Edmonton.
Other riders left Victoria, BC on July 3. Team BC crossed the province of British Columbia, stopping off in Vancouver, Hope, Kamloops, Revelstoke and other towns along the way. The cyclists climbed through the Rockies, making their way to Banff and Calgary.
Meanwhile, riders in Atlantic Canada have crossed the island of Newfoundland, a distance of over 900 kilometres from St. John’s to Port aux Basques. And have rode around the South Shore, and up the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, and have moved into New Brunswick.
You can show your support by signing the online petition, or by making a donation for Pedal for the Planet.
On Facebook, you can join the Pedal for the Planet group, or become a fan to receive updates.