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Electric car FAQs, part two

Queen of Green | March 23, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Electric car FAQs, part two

Electrifying transportation is a far better option than continued reliance on fossil fuels. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

My "Five electric car FAQs" blog asked "What else would you like to know about EVs?"

Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation renewable energy and climate solutions policy analyst, answers your questions:

Is an EV's electricity use environmentally destructive?

It depends how your electricity is produced. Burning coal or natural gas releases carbon emissions and contributes to climate change. In November 2016, the federal government announced new regulations to phase out coal power by 2030. Ontario — the biggest electricity consumer — phased out coal power in 2014. Much of Canadian electricity comes from hydroelectric power. So in Canada, EVs are better for the climate than vehicles that burn fossil fuels.

Won't EVs increase demand for electricity?

Yes. We need to produce more electricity from non-emitting sources to meet future needs without worsening climate change. Electrifying transportation is a far better option than continued reliance on fossil fuels. EVs are three times more efficient at turning stored energy into motion than conventional vehicles and so also waste less energy. Wind and solar are cheaper alternatives with fewer long-term issues than nuclear power.

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Facts and evidence matter in confronting climate crisis

Science Matters | March 23, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Facts and evidence matter in confronting climate crisis

(Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

We recently highlighted the faulty logic of a pseudoscientific argument against addressing climate change: the proposition that because CO2 is necessary for plants, increasing emissions is good for the planet and the life it supports. Those who read, write or talk regularly about climate change and ecology are familiar with other anti-environmental arguments not coated with a scientific sheen.

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Put an end to oil subsidies with a letter to the editor

Climate & Clean Energy | March 22, 2017
Photo: Put an end to oil subsidies with a letter to the editor

How to make all-purpose spray cleaner

Queen of Green | March 17, 2017 | 1 comment
Photo: How to make all-purpose spray cleaner

Keep a bottle under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, in the cleaning closet, etc. (Credit:

Most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their residues every day.

Some contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies. Symbols, like the skull and crossbones, warn us about acute hazards. Labels include words such as "poison," "corrosive" or "irritant."

But Canada does not require warnings about chronic health and environmental hazards of chemicals in cleaning products.

I can't tell you all ingredients to avoid, because product manufactures aren't required to disclose them. Some manufacturers disclose them voluntarily.

Read labels. Avoid these when shopping for store-bought products:

  • Scented cleaners which may contain synthetic "fragrance" or "parfum"
  • Anti-bacterial cleaners which may contain "triclosan"
  • Coloured cleaners which may contain dyes

Better still, make your own!

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Intact wilderness is a hedge against our ignorance

Science Matters | March 16, 2017 | 1 comment
Photo: Intact wilderness is a hedge against our ignorance

David Suzuki above the Hart River, Yukon (Credit: www.protectpeel.ca)

By David Suzuki

In 2011, I travelled with my family down Yukon's Hart River. It's one of seven pure rivers in the Peel River watershed, a 68,000-square-kilometre wilderness that's been at the centre of a legal dispute for many years and a land-use planning debate for more than a decade. For two weeks, we fished from the river's vibrant green waters and gazed at the limestone and dolostone peaks of the Ogilvie Mountains.

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Seven tips to help pollinators

Queen of Green | March 9, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Seven tips to help pollinators

Make sure the plants you purchase are pesticide-free. (Credit: Koris Moir)

Native bees and honeybees are still facing decline.

You've already done so much — made a bee bath, started a mason bee house, built a bumblebee house, even kept a messy yard! I quizzed Shelly Candel, director of Bee City Canada, about her top tips to help pollinators.

Tip 1: Choose native plants. Pollinators are best adapted to local, native plants, shrubs and trees. (I suggest joining a native plant society to find the best local plant lists.)

Tip 2: Get rid of your lawn. It's a desert for pollinators (and most wildlife). Transform it into a pollinator paradise! (I suggest getting your lawn off grass, growing sunflowers, and keeping a mud puddle.)

Tip 3: Bee bountiful. Plant big patches of each native plant species for more efficient foraging (it's less distance for bees to travel). This can also boost curb appeal with big patches of colour to attract both pollinators and humans.

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Faulty logic fuels fossil fools

Science Matters | March 9, 2017 | 1 comment
Photo: Faulty logic fuels fossil fools

Banksy art, Regent's Canal, London (Photo credit: Magnus D via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Apparently, fossil fuel companies protect watersheds and rivers by removing oil. That's according to comments on the David Suzuki Foundation Facebook page and elsewhere, including this: "The amount of contamination occuring [sic] from extraction is far less than if we just left the oil there to continue polluting the waterways."

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