(First published in Ade's blog.)
The environment is Canada's most pressing issue, according to a just-released poll of Canadians. The same poll reports that 74 percent of Canadians believe Canada's Conservative government is doing a poor job on the environment.
Prime Minister Harper knows he is vulnerable on the issue, which spurred him to shuffle his cabinet, booting Rona Ambrose as Minister of the Environment and replacing her with trusted lieutenant John Baird.
But if Harper really wants to go green, he should start by legalizing it. Green, that is. Yup, I'm talking about marijuana.
Canada's unique brand of football is increasingly popular. As temperatures continue to rise, football is only going to get more popular: after all, winter sports require winter, which bodes ill for hockey.
But there's a different CFL on the block, and this is its year. Compact fluorescent lamps have finally hit their stride and they're illuminating more homes than ever. Even Wal-Mart has stepped into the fray, with the goal of single-handedly doubling sales of the bulbs in one year.
CFLs are popular because they last far longer than regular bulbs, they use far less electricity (the 23-watt CFLs I bought today put out the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb), and they no longer produce the harsh light normally associated with fluorescent lamps.
Using them is one of the easiest and most effective ways we can tackle global warming. Every time I stop by Canadian Tire I see somebody in the lights aisle, mulling over which CFL to buy.
Canadian Tire, however, is not the only store in Hamilton where you can buy lights. The local hydroponics store also has a fine selection, but they're not selling energy-efficient CFLs.
Instead, you'll find high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps that range in power from 400 to 1000 watts apiece. Weed growers know that fluorescent lights might be useful for germinating seeds but to grow the fine bud, you need some proper lights.
It's these lights that make hydroponic grow-ops such massive hydro users. Four 600-watt high pressure sodium lamps - about what's necessary to grow pot in a large basement room - use as much electricity as it would take to light up 50 living rooms using 100-watt equivalent CFL bulbs.
It's unknown how many marijuana grow operations there are in Canada, but there at least tens of thousands. The marijuana industry is thought to be worth $7 billion in British Columbia alone.
With all those lights burning to keep the pot growing, we're talking about vast amounts of electricity and that means vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. All to grow a crop that grows even better outside in Canada's warm summer months.
Mr. Harper, do the planet a favour and go green on the green.
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