SAGE is a leading voice for a healthy and environmentally sustainable community.
Oki. We respectfully acknowledge that SAGE meets on the traditional lands of Piikani, Kainai & Siksika, members of Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) and the homelands of Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. We are grateful for their keeping of these lands and waters - past, present & future.
SAGE is currently recruiting for members and for positions on the Board.
If you might be interested, please contact us.
For more information, click ... here.
6 December 2023
Comments regarding proposed EID Snake Lake Reservoir Expansion EIA proposed Terms of Reference
The EIA Terms of Reference focuses assessment of environmental impact to the direct effects of construction of Snake Lake Reservoir, referred to as the “Project”. Not mentioned is expansion of ~5,000 irrigation acres that is proposed in conjunction with expansion of Snake Lake Reservoir. This proposed increase in irrigated acres on the assessment role of the Eastern Irrigation District and associated ongoing activities are integrally linked to proposed reservoir expansion and impacts will be necessarily incidental. Expansion of irrigation acres should be included in the definition, description and impact assessment of the project.
To read the complete submission click ... here.
15-Nov-23 Letter to Ministers Schulz and Neudorf
Renewable Energy and Land Use Planning
The undersigned energy and conservation organizations make the following general recommendations to the Government of Alberta on a number of critcal issues concerning land use and renewable energy in Alberta. These overarching recommendations complement further specific recommendatons our organizations may make as part of the Alberta Utilites Commission Inquiry into the ongoing economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta.
- Need to accelerate and grow renewable energy [...]
- Complete overdue regional planning under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act [...]
- Address gaps in Alberta’s protection of nature [...]
- Need for consistent and fair treatment across all land uses [...]
We urge you to move quickly to lift the damaging pause on renewable energy approvals while addressing these critical gaps in Alberta’s approach to natural resource management that apply to all land uses. We request the Government of Alberta commit to completing land use planning, updating Alberta’s approach to conservation to be consistent with increasing expectations for protection of nature, and work to ensure consistent decision-making across all resource sectors. Our organizations look forward to meeting with you to advance these issues. We trust these major themes will be reflected in deliberations of the Inquiry.
For the complete letter, click ... here.
For Pembina Institute's Submission to the AUC ... here.
Air Heat Pumps in Lethbridge?
There has been a lot of media attention given to the topic of air heat pumps as a means of transitioning from fossil natural gas to electricity for heating our buildings. Unfortunately, like most technologies, the benefits of air heat pumps depend on the climate and the source (and cost) of electricity. Evaluating an air heat pump installation in Halifax or Edmonton or Lethbridge will likely show different results. What the are the results for Lethbridge?
For a full analysis, click ... here.
Purple Air - Air Quality MapMonitoring air quality provides an important indicator for avoiding unhealthy activity outdoors. Sources of air pollution in the Lethbridge region might include intensive feedlot operations, dust from roads and (with greater drought) agricultural land, particulates from transportation (particularly from diesel engines), and more commonly smoke from forest fires.
From the Purple Air website, the following snapshot shows trends in air quality based on particulates with a colour indicating differently levels. In the screenshot, below, the orange colour suggests that "Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people with 24 hours of exposure, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution."
Currently Lethbridge and region have only a couple of air monitoring stations. As air pollution becomes more of an issue given increasing risks of drought and wildfire smoke, better information would be useful.
30 August 2023 Letter Published by The Lethbridge Herald
Greenhouse Gas Emission Crisis Warrants Lifestyle Change
Humans with their industrial achievements must make decisions which are in the long term interest of life for all species. Humans are adding more greenhouse gases (GHG) mainly carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere than ever before. The best data- based studies indicate that these emissions are impacting climate and life on the globe.
How do we meet our energy demand and reduce fossil fuels? Our lifestyle options have to change quickly. We know what we have to do. Can we globally cooperate and act on it?
We are left with two choices:
1. Emit even more GHGs with fossil fuel to produce the required alternative energy within 40 years. This will have predictable negative consequences to the climate, life and our lifestyle. What will be the effect on water and food production?
2. Speed up the reduction of the use of fossil fuels and GHG emissions with drastic negative impacts on our lifestyle.
We got only a taste of that in the COVID-19 year, 2020. We have created a GHG crisis which cannot be countered without impacting our lifestyle. GHG emission is a crisis if we do not respond to it.
The future has arrived. Good news: We will just come down from our high lifestyle to meet the conditions we have created: More good local living.
To read the entire Letter, click ... here.
26 August 2023 SAGE Comment
Pausing Renewable Energy Projects in Alberta
Recently, the UCP government decided to pause the development of renewable energy in the province for seven months. Though there have been a series of excuses tested for public acceptance, the UCP seem to have settled on the need for better planning of the electricity grid to accommodate intermittent electricity production. Though there have been other reasons floated from end-of-life restoration of land and aesthetics, the two main issues appear to be: grid stability and transmission capacity.
Electricity is a carrier of energy that is used to do work or provide light and heat. It is important to note that electricity is not a primary form of energy. As such, it is unlike primary energy sources like hydropower, nuclear power, wind and solar power, and fossil fuels like coal, oil & natural gas. Electricity is a technology that moves energy from where it is generated (using primary sources) to where it is used. The ‘grid’ is a web of transmission lines that accomplish this task, with large lines at the point of generation and becoming smaller as they fan out to the users dispersed throughout the province.
To read more, click ... here.
26 August 2023 Letter published by The Lethbridge Herald
Pause on Renewable Energy by UCP a Mystifying Act
The decision by the UCP government to pause the development of renewable energy in the province for seven months is mystifying. Though there have been a series of excuses tested for public acceptance, the UCP seem to have settled on the need for better planning of the electricity grid to accommodate intermittent electricity production. One has to wonder what amount of planning (required for the transition to a low-emission grid) has actually been done by successive governments over the past quarter-century, the span of time since it has been known that global emissions must be reduced to net-zero by 2050. Nevertheless, that this notion has only recently filtered through to the UCP government is dismaying. That it was so sudden a revelation that a pause of renewable energy development was initiated without consultation or planning with the industry is nothing short of astonishing.
But, to be charitable, planning is good. And we should be grateful that the UCP has discovered the importance of it.
Planning might have been useful when the UCP government rescinded the Coal Policy endangering our water quality, or decided to close or privatize a number of provincial parks. ...
For the complete Letter, click ... here.
For more from SAGE, see 'In the past year ...