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Letters Feb. 1: Reality needed in fossil-fuel debate; putting a leash on Fido

A coal-mining operation in Sparwood. Letter-writers are sharing their opinions of recent columns by Trevor Hancock and Gwyn Morgan on the viability of "net zero" energy policy. JEFF McINTOSH, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Stop shouting, try a realistic conversation

Re: “Morgan’s columns should come with a health warning,” column, Jan. 29.

Trevor Hancock’s response to Gwyn Morgan’s commentary on “net-zero” was certainly impassioned, albeit filled with the standard ad hominem attacks that persons on the left of the political spectrum often find necessary to bolster their viewpoints.

Might I offer the viewpoint of a prosaic layperson?

It seems to me that the history of human civilization has been driven primarily by the search for energy that is plentiful, cost-effective and efficient (energy dense).

We started by cutting down forests and burning the wood. A lot of work, not to mention the impact on biodiversity as we denuded the landscape.

Next, we found coal (our first fossil fuel). Better, but a tad messy.

For the past hundred-plus years we have relied on the current fossil fuels of oil and natural gas. Frankly, they are the miracle that has enabled us to build modern society.

During this reign of modern fossil fuels we have also developed new energy sources. Fission, which we have consciously stifled for political reasons, and now solar and wind.

Solar and wind, if we are honest, will never fulfil the three criteria of plentiful, cheap and efficient because the fact is we have to take care of some eight billion humans.

We seem like a fairly clever and resilient bunch, so we will no doubt continue to work on new energy sources such as fusion, hydrogen and the like. In the meantime, fossil fuels are it.

Abraham Maslow would probably tell us that it is easy to pontificate about ceasing all fossil fuels immediately if you are sitting in first-world luxury. A little more difficult if you are a little lower on the hierarchy scale.

Perhaps if we stop shouting “The science is settled,” “The end is near” and ‘Make the rich pay,” we could have a more realistic conversation around what is possible and what we can do.

Thomas Maxwell


No place for a ‘merchant of doubt’

Re: “Morgan’s columns should come with a health warning,” column, Jan. 29.

Kudos to Dr. Trevor Hancock for his commentary calling out Gwyn Morgan on Morgan’s article “Net-zero fantasy has empowered dictators.”

I do not expect to see “merchants of doubt” such as Morgan still given a platform in an otherwise good newspaper.

Really, TC editorial staff, it’s time for Gwyn to go.

Kathleen McIntyre


Opposing views are not evil and greedy

Re: “Morgan’s columns should come with a health warning,” column, Jan. 29.

Retired professor Trevor Hancock once again vents his spleen against the clearly stated views of Gwyn Morgan.

Hancock’s peevish rejoinder, suggesting a health warning be attached to future opinions, is unworthy of any academic of standing.

Civil discourse was absent in this litany of questionable sources and nasty schoolyard name-calling.

It seems the eco-zealots’ arguments, combined with the “woke” thought police agenda, is losing ground. If our quality of life and our planet are to be preserved, mud-slinging epithets and summary condemnations are not the answer.

Shame on you, professor, for degrading the good name of scholarship and our quest for solutions and reasonable compromise.

This is not a warning, but a suggestion that you consider opposing views as something less than evil and greedy. Just don’t try it in the faculty room.

Russell Thompson


Dogs make families feel unsafe in nature

Re: “Saanich seeks more input on dogs in parks,” Jan. 28.

Our local parks and beaches have become dominated by dogs, almost all of them off-leash even in areas where this is not permitted and clearly signed.

Our family has all but stopped visiting Saanich and Capital Regional District parks because we are unable to do so without negative incidents with dogs and their owners.

We have to prepare our children in advance, before exiting our vehicle, on the need to stay close enough to us that we can pick them up or position ourselves between them and dogs, whose owners are often even not in sight, let alone in control.

It’s not the rare cougar or bear we fear, but out-of-control dogs. We are constantly on high alert, carrying large sticks with us to defend ourselves and bracing for impact when we hear dogs approaching from around corners or off trails.

We have witnessed chasing of wildlife, particularly birds but also deer and rabbits, found dogs wandering lost in parks, and I can’t recall a recent visit where we haven’t seen dog feces on a beach or trail, or bagged and tossed into a nearby bush or tree.

My husband and I both grew up with dogs, but in rural areas where our properties and lifestyles suited the energy needs of our pets.

It seems many dog owners have not considered these important details before purchasing or adopting, and expect other park users to accommodate their choices.

I hope more people begin speaking out about this growing problem and encouraging Saanich and the CRD to do something to bring these dogs (and their owners) under control.

Leashes are the obvious answer, but since so many refuse to leash even when it’s required, there also needs to be consideration of dog bans in our parks and beaches. Families should feel safe in nature, and ours does not.

Sarah Turner


Good news, Rover: Lots of off-leash parks

Re: “Saanich seeks more input on dogs in parks,” Jan. 28.

Here is a recent public comment by the head of the off-leash advocacy group Happy Dogs in Saanich Parks on a Saanich invitation to its Feb. 1 People, Pets and Parks Open House: “We need voices to help keep our current parks leash-free. There are plenty of on-leash parks for others.”

Plenty of on-leash parks for others? In actual fact, only one Saanich park has an on-leash requirement for the whole park (Cadboro-Gyro). One additional park has on-leash requirements for certain areas of the park (Blenkinsop Lake). A total of two parks in all of Saanich prohibit dogs all year long (Quicks Bottom and Swan Lake).

Only one small park has a summer prohibition (Whitehead), along with two beaches in the summer months after 9 a.m. (Mount Douglas and Cordova Bay).

Yes, there are five parks containing artificial turf where dogs are allowed in the park but not on the turf. And parts of other parks (eight fenced baseball fields) where dogs are prohibited from March to October. Dogs are permitted in all of Saanich’s playgrounds and spray pads so long as they are leashed within 10 metres.

Of the 171 parks in Saanich, more than 150 permit dogs off-leash all year long. Unless you enjoy spending your time in nature within the confines of a playground or turf field, you are limited to less than a handful of options.

Plenty of on-leash parks for others? Not in Saanich.

Charlene Black


Get those dogs off of our beaches

Dogs should not be on our ocean beaches, period. Full stop. There are far too many safety and environmental reasons to list here, but the fact that many other communities in B.C. and Washington state figured this out ages ago tells the story.

No, we are not unique. Our shoreline is just as fragile, as are the myriad of species that depend on it. Our dogs are just as likely to disturb this wildlife as dogs in other communities.

Here is what Seattle has to say: “Dogs are not allowed on any of Seattle’s public saltwater beaches, even if they are leashed. This law helps us protect the fragile ecosystem along our shorelines. Marine mammals, such as seal pups that are typically born in April, use the city’s beaches to rest and warm themselves. Shore birds also frequent our beaches. Wildlife that interact with dogs are less likely to reach adulthood.”

And please, let’s stop the Whataboutism epidemic. Yes, there are plenty of other threats to our shoreline in the form of habitat loss, erosion, pollution and so on.

That doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the bath water and let dogs cause further harm. Seattle and other nearby communities like Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby all prohibit dogs on public beaches because they recognize the risks to public safety and the environment.

It’s time we did too.

Edward Smith


A quick way to end needless 911 calls

The Jan. 27 editorial asked: “How do we stop needless 911 calls?”

Nothing to it. The service has an automated record of all calls. Make a needless call and you lose phone service for a month. All handled by the various phone companies.

Ian Cameron

Brentwood Bay


• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity.

• Provide your contact information; it will not be published.

• Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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