Saturday, April 18, 2009

Recipes For Disaster

So on Thursday I was down at VanCity Theatre in downtown Vancouver. I had won 2 free tickets to view the documentary "Recipes for Disaster" courtesy of a local blogger, Raul Pacheco hummingbird604. (The tickets were won due to being on twitter, so everybody should get twitter!)

SO now on to my review.

         "Recipes For Disaster" is a documentary about a Finnish family in Helsinki, an everyday family who takes family vacations and is happy. But John Webster's eyes have been opened to the destruction that humans are causing on the environment, and he believes that by changing his lifestyle he can make a difference in the carbon emissions of his family. The future looks bleak for his children and John wants to change that. He sets out on an "adventure" to live without oil products, meaning anything that is made or requires the usage of oil. He goes on this journey with his wife and their two sons. Looking at the everyday statistics of carbon emissions per person, John believes that by reducing his carbon footprint, he will be able to do his own share of combating global warming. Living without oil products proves to be a major task, because almost everything we use is somehow made from oil products, plastic being the major one.

         Plastic is also one of the worse oil products as it is a synthetic product, meaning it is made by humans in labs. Plastic is very durable, taking a very long time to degrade, which means that most of the plastic made is still in the world. The most concerning fact about plastic is that a lot of it has been accumulating in ocean gyres, generating large vortexes of plastic in the ocean. Burning plastic releases toxins in the air, which add to the greenhouse gas effect. But plastic is also one of the most used materials in everyday life. As John continues on his journey, he is somewhat laughed at by his wife, because she thinks that he is crazy. John is more of an idealist, thinking that he can change the world, which his wife just wants to be happy and enjoy life. But the question John asks is that can he be happy without killing the environment? A major effect that living without oil products is that everything slows down. Instead of driving, they take the bus, which is slower, but it gives them family time. Watching this documentary showed me how much a single family can do just by changing their lifestyle. Nobody has to go out and devote their lives to stopping global warming, just take a few things out of your life. The film takes us through the laughs and tears that the family endures as they fight to reduce their carbon emission.

         Everyday things that we never think about change drastically, how do you buy anything at the supermarket that isn't wrapped in plastic? Is there an alternative to driving without oil? I really enjoyed watching this documentary as it showed John Webster's family decreasing their carbon emission by 52%. Sure 1 family in the world decreasing their carbon emissions isn't going to do a whole lot against global warming, but if every family did that, then carbon emissions would drop drastically. By refusing to use plastic bags and non essential oil products, large factories churning out greenhouse gases would be closed. So the point taken from this film was that individually we should all be at least trying to cut down on our own carbon emissions. I would recommend that everybody go watch this film, as John and his family go on a carbon-diet.

On a side note, almost all the carbon emissions in the world is due to the fact that we are burning fossil fuels. So if we truly want to reduce the effects of global warming, renewable energy is most likely the only way to go. Unfortunately not all of us are scientists, so there is not much we can do other than to hopefully wait for renewable energy sources to be used. BC is no longer energy sufficient, so if you think that using electricity for everything will reduce your carbon footprint, you are wrong. BC buys some of its electricity from coal plants, meaning that driving a fully electric car isn't doing the environment any good.

1 comment:

Murray said...

If we are to build run-of-river, it doesn’t follow that it has to be private. And by the way, we are already offsetting coal powered in Alberta. in 9 of the last 11 years BC has been a net exporter to Alberta. Our trade to the US is overwhelmingly with Washington state with and they only produce 10% of their electricity from Coal, and around 2/3 by Hydro.

If the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, there are better ways. Why are we pulling out massive amounts of Coal, Oil and Gas out of the ground in BC if GHG reduction is our goal? Are Weaver and others pretending it doesn’t produce GHG elsewhere? This is a fair question because Weaver is assuming BC should assume responsibility for GHG emmision reduction in other jurisdictions.

According to a CCPA study fully 13.5% of BCs GHG emissions come from gas flaring and related activity. Alberta has taken very positive steps to stop this, why don’t we?

By the way, the Electricity trade data is available at:

Washington state electricty info:

CCPA study is at (see page 5):