Submitted by Scott Cameron of Bassa Social Innovations
Get to know your neighbour.
You might be surprised how they’re changing the world.
I’ve known Steve for the past year. He’s one of the first guys I met when I moved to Calgary and, as part of a small group of friends, someone that I get together with quite regularly for group dinners, birthdays and vacations – spent an amazing few days on the west coast sailing with he and his wife earlier this summer. Until today, I only had a hint of what he does.
Steve is an entrepreneur and a passionate energy sector guy. Like many Canadians, I’ve tended to glaze over when these guys start talking about their work. I’m a social sciences and former government sector guy – I had energy sector guys in my family and never really conditioned myself to understand what they did. I decided to change that and chose to take an hour out of my day to visit Steve in his shop here in SE Calgary.
He had another visitor in the shop with him that morning. A fourteen-year-old, middle school student that learned about Crossfire (the name of the technology) from her parents and decided to investigate it as part of her science curriculum. I’m glad she did. She took me over to a whiteboard at the front of the shop and used the schematics already drawn to explain how Steve’s invention (Crossfire) makes it possible to use solar energy to power a small air compressor (93% efficient) that controls the pneumatic valves at natural gas and oil wells making it possible for the site to eliminate emissions. Cool.
I’m not even going to attempt any further explanation because, well, I’m a social sciences guy. I learned a few things as a result of my visit today – that Steve is one of many Canadians investing their life savings into entrepreneurial ventures to make the energy sector greener, that the political and policy environment appears to be working against these innovations, that innovations of this nature won’t just improve the sector here but is gaining traction globally, and that a fourteen-year-old student has the intellect to understand and explain the technology to an old guy like me (because I chose to listen).
I also heard, firsthand, how this work can be frustrating and “profoundly discouraging” when it feels like the systems are stacked against innovation and political responses are filled with rhetoric. Innovation feels like a nice idea but appears to be tough sell politically. For now, it’s the courageous entrepreneurs that are taking up the cause and making stuff happen.
I’m encouraged by Steve’s work and glad that he has such a keen mind and passion to improve efficiency in the sector. He notes that “when given the challenge, we rise to the occasion”. Imagine the country we’d be if we adopted that attitude across industries – and I don’t necessarily think we’re far from it. Remember, I’m a social sciences guy writing about innovation in the energy sector – imagine the impact if people from across sectors chose to align for the purpose of building a nation to support our people, our progress and our planet. We need to support one another. We need a new narrative Canada. Let’s build that narrative together at #visioncanada2119.
Scott Cameron is the former Social Planning Manager at The City of Red Deer, and before that he was Executive Director of The United Way of Central Alberta. He now lives in Calgary.
bassa Social Innovations is a values-based and principled consulting firm committed to positive social well-being for people, their families and their communities. We can help navigate the shared, and sometimes divergent perspectives of government, corporate, non-profit and community organizations to unravel social complexity, and explore collaborative and sustainable social change.
The term ‘bassa’ comes from the world of music, and basically means to play or sing an octave below what’s written. That’s how we describe our work – we work collaboratively to understand what isn’t obvious on the surface. The metaphor goes one step further…the bass note is the foundation of the chord and we seek to create foundational work that serves our clients in the present and future.
Planet Of The Humans: A Scathing Exposé On The Sacred Renewables Sector
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, the Michael Moore-backed environmental documentary Planet of the Humans was released for free on YouTube.
I’ve been waiting for months to see this film, although I wasn’t overly optimistic that I would get the opportunity because it seemed to have difficulty getting mainstream distribution. A few minutes in and I could understand why – it was damaging to the once-untouchable renewables sector. I’m still in disbelief that the powerful leaders of the climate alarmism movement were not able to stop its release, but that’s the power of the internet. In one day it has over 500,000 views on YouTube.
Even though Moore and Director Jeff Gibbs have reversed their position on renewable sources of energy and call into question the integrity of the climate change movement, the film is in no way pro-fossil fuels. Quite the opposite. They include footage of a Syncrude oil sands mine and periodically mention the “tar sands” with utter disdain. There’s no love for natural gas either.
I’m not opposed to renewables under certain circumstances, but my heart hurt when I saw footage of the destruction caused by mining the base materials for solar panels and wind turbines and the deforestation for biomass. It hurt even more when I saw how easily the projects were discarded after gobbling up millions of dollars of government subsidies, vast tracts of land, and precious natural resources. Because few jurisdictions have strong abandonment regulations, the equipment is often left to rust once it reaches end-of-life in a few short years or is replaced by newer technology.
I learned a lot about the makeup of the renewables sector. I had no idea there were so many biomass power plants in operation in the United States. I also didn’t appreciate what is considered ‘biomass’ or ‘biofuel’. I still can’t clear the image out of my head of the dead animals being pulverized for animal fat-based biofuel.
What I found most confounding was the lack of energy literacy by many of the interviewees, including representatives of green initiatives and leaders of protest movements. There’s one segment where a representative from GM excitedly showcases the release of a new Chevy Volt electric car. When asked for the source of electricity charging it, the women confidently says, “The building” (that the car is plugged into). Pressed further, she admits she doesn’t know, and it’s clear she hasn’t considered, the source. Spoiler alert: it’s about 95% coal. Perhaps this is why there is so much inconsistency and backpedaling by environmental groups.
Although this documentary is grim, and it doesn’t offer any solutions, I give Michael Moore credit for standing behind it because he’s sure to face backlash from people who were once his peers. His courage to put his name behind it and expose another side of the issue will help create better dialogue and stronger public policy.
I encourage everyone to watch it. Seeing the greed of Bill McKibben and the “prophet” Al Gore, it’s time for real environmentalists to lead the environmental movement.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary
Drive in Christianity! Coming soon to a church near you!
On March 20 more than 60 vehicles gathered on the corner of 39th Street and 30th Avenue at 10:15 a.m. for a unique experience.
It was not a family comedy, nor an adventure film that brought folks out, but rather the bold proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Pastor Ben Elliot of Deer Park Church (formerly the Deer Park Alliance Church) via FM transmission (88.5 FM) for those in the parking lot and nearby neighbourhood.
Four rows of cars filled the lot with anywhere from 1 to 4 people per vehicle for an hour.
“This week I had the privilege of being home and was invited to be part of a province wide conference call with Premier Kenney and Minister Dr. Deena Hinshaw,” said Elliott during his sermon on Sunday. “I was nervous when I suggested what we were planning for our service and we got the thumbs up from everyone. He also asked us as faith leaders to pray for government and ministry leaders to make good decisions in this difficult time.”
He added that the church was going to ensure that the maximum number of 15 people was observed with only 4 volunteer parking attendants, 3 musicians and 1 pastor.
“I know it is tempting to get out of your car and chat with your friend but please don’t, be like our youth and chat with them across a window,” said Elliott who is also head of the Red Deer Ministerial Association. “We want to honor the restrictions while honouring God by gathering together.”
Elliott spoke on cabin fever, an experience citizens across Canada are well familiar with.
“Robert Service wrote about cabin fever in a poem called Pious Pete and we are well familiar with the phenomena,” he said. “Even King David, in 1 Sam 25 was not immune to the effects of continual exposure to the same people, except he lived in a cave!”
He noted that the good news is, that even while he was not in the public, David sought God and was corrected by God! He concluded his message by challenging us to honor God by being agents of peace and his salvation in our families.
Meanwhile, this particular drive-in was one of many services throughout the city and one of many formats.
Churches like Crossroads have live streamed their services for some time to service their growing congregation and others have moved to youtube presentations for viewing anytime.
Unity Baptist Church in north Red Deer has gone to Zoom for their services.
“This morning there was 40 people who logged into the sermon,” said Kent Lindsay, a
Unity Baptist congregant. “It was a great interactive way to experience a service without being there.”
Meanwhile, prayer groups like the Red Deer Catholic Mens Group have moved to Whatapp for communication and alerting members to Zoom sessions with other believers for rosary prayers and other intercessions.
“There are many ways for believers to meet and encourage each other during this time,” said pastor Andrew Rilling of Deer Park Church. “From live streams to youtube personal phone calls, to our drive in format, Gods people need to encourage each other. His word is always working and He meets us in our needs. As a believer and a pastor I am encouraged and know that God is always working among us.”
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