BEING in this world in a non-harmful way and living mindfully are of utmost importance to me. I have been planning, researching, and taking steps toward a healthier 1972-built home since I moved in (2011).
Finally, on this day, my goal of removing the home from fossil fuels reliance was being realized, beginning with an electrical panel upgrade to a 200amp panel, followed in a week by a heat pump installation (and solar panels in the spring)! It felt aligned deep within me. Then at the last moment, it all came to a grinding halt.
“Please call me ASAP!”
I left my home on the morning of the electrical upgrade as there would not be power all day. About an hour later, I got a call: “can you give me a quick call ASAP? There is an issue that (blank company) did not pick up on, so the job is on hold. “
I was about to start an appointment, so I could not tend to my feelings about it at that moment. There was undoubtedly disappointment and some disbelief, but over the years, I have noticed an internal shift to trusting and paying attention to the behind-the-scenes workings of the universe that I don’t know or understand.
I don’t know what will happen next with this project, but I trust that the next steps will become clearer. But for right now, I will explain my top five reasons for wanting to do this.
1) Harmful and Toxic Systems and Practices
Many of us can see through the deeply entrenched, harmful and toxic systems and practices of the fossil fuel industry (and manufacturing industry) before us, even before we knew about acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer and the murmurings about climate change, etc., decades ago.
So MANY people (and the resulting destroyed and struggling habitats) have been sounding alarm bells for many decades and boldly blazing and alternate directions in line with balance, reverence and kindness. These systems exist without regard for the planet and all living beings, but definitely for their profits! Still, they stand firm using tactics of control, domination, lies, bullying, greed, etc., that stifle positive and steady forward momentum.
Earth and humanity-aligned change
Earth and humanity-aligned change are ripe and ready as it meets face to face with a cold, soulless and intimidating glare, believing it is wholly in charge of how humans heat, cool, power, and manages their homes and lives.
Many are waking up and speaking up. This pathological narcissistic- like system (in my opinion) is, in fact, NOT in charge of the planet, ecosystem and all life! All of nature, animals, creatures, and human life ARE as we collectively adopt and align with her principles through drastic unlearning and DEEP relearning, harmonizing, observing and restructuring.
There is a new book called “The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change“ by Geoff Dembicki. In a Tyee article called “Geoff Dembicki on How He Wrote a Big Oil Blockbuster,” where he shares that the oil industry had internal knowledge about the damage the industry causes, and they created fabricated rhetoric to align with their greed and callous entitlement to try and throw people off. He says:
“for the last few decades, major oil companies have been secretly researching climate change and then writing up reports about their findings Pretty much all the major firms with operations in the oilsands — including Suncor, Shell, BP and the Exxon-owned Imperial Oil — learned internally that their products were making climate change worse and potentially leading to catastrophic impacts around the world. They also produced reports about how to communicate this science to the public. By the early 1990s, the strategy most companies decided on was lying about the science, trying to convince the public it isn’t real.”
2) The results of Fracking
A documentary called “Fracking the Peace” has been particularly eye-opening to me. It highlights the INCREDIBLE upheaval and DAMAGE done by fracking those near the fracking sites, in particular, to indigenous communities. Also, the resulting increase in disease and cancers of those in the area, the use of toxic and widespread chemicals, pollution, and the industry’s streaming of C02 into the atmosphere.
The indescribable harm to people and animals that inhabit the land was VERY difficult to watch in this documentary, and others, like “The Condor and the Eagle.” Still, it’s essential that we educate ourselves and know about it!
3) Heating our Homes
A great many of us live in areas that require heat for our homes (if we are even lucky enough to have a roof over our heads!!) at certain (or all) times of the year. Unfortunately, it is not feasible, financially or otherwise, and accessible to too many or even commonly known that there are ways to accomplish home warmth besides oil, gas, coal and burning wood: Geothermal, heat pumps, and solar are just some alternate ways.
I have had the pleasure of living in and spending time in sustainable homes. I dream of a time when it’s accessible to all! They have a completely different feel, to me, clean.
4) Natural Air Conditioning
I live in BC, Canada, and it gets (and is getting) hot in the summer. I have lived in this home for 11 years and do not have air conditioning. Blinds, occasional fans, and some tree shade help a lot! In the summer of 2021, we experienced the reality of a heat dome (as many now have) and not having some way to cool things down for me, and so many were now on my mind.
Air conditioning units are what most people run to, and this is not an option for me. The Earth is getting warmer because of the unbelievable amount of human-caused CO2 pumped into the atmosphere. It does not intuitively make sense to me to buy and install an air conditioning unit that contributes more to the problem and, in my view, adds more fuel to the fire.
A magical thing about a heat pump is that it works in cold and hot weather. Some heat pump options are dual fuel and use part gas and part electricity. I wanted to do ALL electricity and as much for solar as possible, which created a cascade of things that needed to happen.
5) In Sync with Natural heating and cooling: Listening to the Earth and body rhythms.
Before coal, oil and gas, many people, places, and cultures used natural systems, designs and methods to heat and cool things down, and they still do.
Tree shade provides the BEST natural air conditioner (sadly, we all know what we do to trees). The Earth has natural systems and rhythms of heating and cooling. Many are disconnected from and out of touch with her rhythms. Our bodies adapt and can get used to warmer or cooler temperatures, given some time. Many people are averse to any kind of temperature discomfort or ‘inconvenience,’ Their solution is to run to the thermostat dial to save them.
I turn off the heat in the home from Mid-late April into October. The sun heats the home, albeit sometimes too much in the summer. Evenings cool things down, and it’s a pleasant temperature in the morning when my neighbour’s air conditioning unit (outside my bedroom window) revs up to start its day. It makes me wonder about this deep and widespread Earth- disconnect and saddens me.
The last-minute twist that derailed the project
From the start, I learned that the current 100amp electrical panel would not be able to take the heat pump and solar load and a possible future electric car charging station.
On the morning of the electrical upgrade, the electrician met with someone from the electrical company who said we couldn’t go forward. It was frustrating because we had waited for them to finally give us the final go-ahead for four months!
Before 1980 there was a ‘2″ wire duct flex cable wire from the meter base’; after 1980, the requirement became 3″. Somehow this was MISSED and will cost a large amount of money to remedy, in addition to the considerable amount I am paying to make this happen. I am waiting for a phone call from the electrical company.
A wonderfully engaged, knowledgeable, capable and on top of things person who works for the heat pump installation company (and traditional air heating and air conditioning) thinks my decision is a bit nuts (he was not the only one), which is ok by me. From his view, I should stop (he has even sold that/my heat pump to someone as I figure out the next steps), but clearly, that’s his perspective and not his decision to make.
So here we are at a crossroads on the cusp of outgrowing old, toxically entrenched, outdated systems which require us to be vastly open to viewing things differently.
It is incredible how old-existing infrastructure is NOT yet ready or designed to make this LEAP into the new way. Sadly, it is not yet easily accessible and feasible for most.
The planet does not need humans. BEING her and left to her own devices, she operates in perfect alignment and harmony. Those of us who spend a short lifetime here should learn from her and honour her as many have done and still do and learn from this wisdom, and that is what I will spend the rest of this life doing.
Thanks for reading 🙂 Please feel free to share your thoughts and perspectives and to pass the article on to anyone you think may be interested.
Also, if anyone is interested in looking into this themselves- in BC, Canada, there are some government rebates:
For an all-electric heat pump, BC Hydro ($3,000 +), Clean BC ($3 000), and the country-wide Canada Greener Homes Grant offer up to $5,600. You need to apply and get a company to do an energy audit to start and after the work is complete (up to $600 of the money towards this can be reimbursed by the Canada Greener Homes Grant).