It is a noble goal. It would be nice to achieve it. But it is so unrealistic I have to smile every time I think about it.
I refer to the mayor’s proposal to make
I have been smiling a lot about the
To be fair, a transformation is taking place in both Europe and
On the other hand, they are not going to be living a typical North American lifestyle. Indeed, while we implement new measures to reduce energy and resource consumption, they are adding solar panels to their roofs.
Look at real estate listings in shop windows in
This is now the law throughout
Property ratings range from “A” Green that use less than 50kWh for heating and cooling, to “G” Red that use more than 451kWh. On average, the French use about half the energy we use in our homes.
Can you imagine a similar law in
To be more sustainable than the Europeans, Vancouverites would have to cut their energy consumption by about half. Many of us would need to subdivide our houses into smaller suites and possibly construct infill units on the front lawns. (To make new units more acceptable to neighbours, they could be designed to look like large hedges!)
We would have to give up our large multi-door refrigerators and trade in older washers and dryers for energy efficient models.
While most of us like European appliances, we want North American sizes. On a recent tour of laneway houses I noticed many refrigerators seemed larger than the bathrooms.
When it comes to our cars, to achieve the fuel economy of the average French motorist, we would have to give up our automatic SUVs for smaller manual transmission vehicles, or hybrid or electric models.
While some of us are making this shift (pun intended), the vast majority is not.
If anything we are buying larger cars to feel safer on the road since so many others are driving larger cars. It is a vicious circle.
Fortunately, new transit-oriented developments will make it easier to live without a car. But not all of us want to live in a high-density apartment above a supermarket on a busy street.
Moreover, it will be a long time before
To conclude, we should all try to live more sustainable lifestyles. We should cycle and recycle. We should start converting the remaining garbage to energy, rather than truck it hundreds of kilometres away.
But let us not kid ourselves.
More importantly, let us not make decisions in an effort to be the
© Vancouver Courier
- See more at: http://www.vancourier.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-green-with-envy-for-europe-s-sustainability-1.1077364#sthash.BMtNWng1.dpuf