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Five electric car FAQs

Queen of Green | January 13, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Five electric car FAQs

Chargers range in speed. The quickest provides 80 kilometres of range in as little as six minutes. (Credit: Paul Krueger via Flickr)

Like many of you, my family plans to buy an electric car.

I asked for your electric car questions and you came through! Here are answers from Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation renewable energy and climate solutions policy analyst:

How much do EVs cost?

Prices vary depending on battery size, make, model and options. They start at about $16,000 for a smart EV with a battery range of around 110 kilometres, to $100,000-plus for a fully equipped luxury model. The Nissan Leaf starts at about $32,000 — before subtracting government incentives — with a range of up to 172 kilometres. The first EV with mass consumer appeal is anticipated to be the Chevrolet Bolt EV (sales start in 2017). It starts at almost $43,000 with a range of 383 kilometres.

What's the lifespan of an EV battery?

Most manufacturers offer a warranty on their batteries for 10 years. Warranties guarantee that the range will not degrade significantly. EVs use lithium ion batteries like those found in laptops and cellphones. Over time, performance can become an issue if batteries are routinely overcharged or completely drained. Most manufacturers build programming into their cars to protect the battery from overcharging.

Tip: Avoid completely draining the battery.

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We can learn so much from nature

Science Matters | January 12, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: We can learn so much from nature

(Credit: Argonne National Laboratory via Flickr)

By David Suzuki

If you fly over a forest and look down, you'll see every green tree and plant reaching to the heavens to absorb the ultimate energy source: sunlight. What a contrast when you look down on a city or town with its naked roofs, asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks, all ignoring the sun's beneficence! Research shows we might benefit by thinking more like a forest.

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It's time to heed warnings about humanity's collision course

Science Matters | January 5, 2017 | 7 comments
Photo: It's time to heed warnings about humanity's collision course

(Credit: Nattu via Flickr)

By David Suzuki

The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we've known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we're seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming.

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Asbestos ban is a victory for health but leaves a painful legacy

Photo: Asbestos ban is a victory for health but leaves a painful legacy

Asbestos mine industry (Crédit: Musée McCord/Wikimedia Commons)

By Diego Creimer

One of the most celebrated films in the history of French-Canadian cinema, Mon oncle Antoine, opens with shots of an asbestos mine in Black Lake (now Thetford Mines) in the 1940s. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Thetford Mines and asbestos regions of Quebec progressed and grew richer thanks to this group of minerals, the health risks of which were little understood at the time. The heat-resistant properties of asbestos made it useful for many industrial applications, including brake pads, handles for pots and pans and residential construction, among others. As the years went by, asbestos was everywhere. It was used domestically and exported. It surrounded us, like a bear hug leading to a slow death.

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Tread lightly to lift the weight of the world

Science Matters | December 15, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: Tread lightly to lift the weight of the world

(Credit: Alan Levine via Flickr)

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

How much stuff will you give and receive this holiday season? Add it to the growing pile — the 30-trillion-tonne pile. That's how much technology and goods humans have produced, according to a study by an international team led by England's University of Leicester. It adds up to more than all living matter on the planet, estimated at around four trillion tonnes.

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Breaking down Canada's long-awaited climate action plan

Climate & Clean Energy | December 14, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Breaking down Canada's long-awaited climate action plan

(Credit: Gord McKenna via Flickr)

By Ian Bruce, Director of Science and Policy, David Suzuki Foundation

This past year has had highs and lows for climate action.

Before Canadians head off to enjoy eggnog and holiday cheer, we wanted to provide some additional context to the federal climate action plan (the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change) released on December 9 in Ottawa.

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David Isaac: A leader in First Nations solar energy

Climate & Clean Energy | December 14, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: David Isaac: A leader in First Nations solar energy

Credit: Thomas Giwusk Isaac-Came

By Gideon Forman, climate change policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation.

David Isaac, an Ottawa-born renewable energy developer whose ancestry is Mi'kmaq, tells me the English translation of his company's name, "W Dusk", is "northern lights". The moniker is appropriate.

Isaac has spent the past several years capturing sunlight with the solar power arrays he designs and builds in First Nations communities across British Columbia and Alberta. And just as the aurora borealis is intensely beautiful, Isaac works to ensure his installations are visually arresting. He recently placed 330 solar panels on a school run by the Lower Nicola Indian Band in Merritt, B.C., a three-hour drive from Vancouver. He says the building "really vibrates."

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