I have been thinking a lot lately about energy – wind, solar, gas, oil, co-gen, etc. and as I walked through the farmers market in Halifax I had a thought.
The production of food and energy are 1) and 2) in that order in terms of importance to modern life and yet we romanticize agriculture and demonize energy. Wonder why that is?
Maybe we need an energy farmers’ market. Have the little, local guys there – Corridor Energy promoting gas and giving samples of its product, Anne Murray there promoting wind energy farming, those German immigrant solar farmers should be there too. We could have the little hydro-power producers with their instream systems there giving out samples too. There might be a few big guys there – you know the way a Starbucks might find its way into a Farmers’ Market – Exxon or Apache maybe.
We could even have the energy farmers’ market in Sackville – hosted by the Town as it loves farming and farmers markets.
The producers would show off their wares, sell product and people would generally have a good time. The natural gas guys would show kids how gas wells work and NB Power types would talk steam turbines. A fun time would be had by all.
Of course, we’d all strike up the same debates. The vegetarian green energy advocates would decry eating meat/burning fossil fuels. There would be organic farmers arguing against the big energy production factories.
We’d argue about overeating/excessive energy consumption and debate the role of government.
People would complain about the use of pesticides/fracking fluids – others would talk about the harms of focusing only on one or two crops (potatoes/natural gas). There would be one or two placards out front complaining about how agricultural run off was harming the water.
But maybe we could bring energy back from this mysterious world it seems to live in and make to real to people. We need energy to live. We still burn a lot of oil in our homes – tens of thousands of homes – now they could be burning CNG – at lower cost? and much less harmful to the environment. Maybe there would be a CNG display at the energy farmers’ market.
Most of all, we could start a local energy initiative – sort of like the 100 mile diet advocated by so many environmentalists. Instead of bringing in oil and gas from who knows where and with what environmental standards – we would push for more local energy benefiting local farmers and the local economy – and we know where it came from. We have gas here – the 100 mile diet for natural gas. We might not have much oil – but at least if we bring it in from Alberta we can trust where it came from.
By now you are either laughing or annoyed (or you stopped reading).
But suspend your first thought and think again.
Join me at the energy farmers’ market.