HEAT PUMP GIVEAWAY!!!! (no clever subject line required)
+ action de grace
Hello maximally viable readers,
First, the most exciting thing to ever happen within the confines of this column: We are giving away two (!) heat pumps!!! Let’s call it the Great Canadian Heat Pump Giveaway! Or not. Scroll to the bottom if you are here for that. I won’t be offended. Because I won’t know. But you will miss the word Turducken, so I suggest you consider this decision deeply.
Action de Grace
I like the phrase Thanksgiving much better in French. It’s Action de grâce. Which my Franglais brain sees as actions of grace. What graceful action have you and will you take? I don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving (it’s both the turkey and the colonization), but I do love the idea of a prompt to be mindful of grace, and to take time to pause and break bread with people. In a little bit of counter-programming, I loved this episode of Reservation Dogs, one of the best shows ever ever ever, in which everyone comes together to grieve a dying grandmother, eat delicious food, and tell stories. It’s a Thanksgiving of a sort, and a beautiful one at that.
I like to think of myself as a person who doesn’t hold grudges. But when some friends did something to jeopardize the health of my pocket-size parents during the height of Covid, I felt an anger that boiled, unrelenting, for days, even as I did nothing to release it. Then, just last week, my parents went to visit these old friends of mine. And I realized that they had moved on and found acceptance, where I had not. What does it mean to act with grace? To meet people with empathy, and realize you move minds more by being near them than by silencing their WhatsApp notifications.
Last week I met a prospective colleague and marveled at her youthful wisdom. She’d tried to be the kind of climate activist who had didactically forced people to come to her, only to realize they never would. And that she would grow militant and angry living this way. She realized, becoming a no-doubt-excellent community organizer in the process, that she had to reach out to others in their own physical and headspace, to meet people with grace and kindness. It took me years to learn this. Actually, I’m still learning it.
As you Turducken your way through whatever possibly intense holiday gatherings come your way, I wish you actions of grace. And all the chestnut stuffing.
There are so many great guides on how to talk to people you don’t always agree with you, but you can do no better than a quick primer with veteran climate communicator Katharine Hayhoe. Plus a Bonus! Friend of MVP, Anna of The Cooldown, shares this guide to climate talking over pumpkin pie.
Greenbelts. Or, green with anger
I simmer about the climate crisis daily, but I no longer seethe and rail with the punk-fueled rage of a dissatisfied twenty-something, thanks to meditation, good friends, and self-care in the key of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Except when it comes to Greenbelt greed. It’s this particular crime against urbanity that galls for its craven corruption and irreparable damage. A destroyed wetland can almost never be restored. A paved-over greenbelt is permanent, even as the McMansions built upon it are less durable than Muskian Twitter.
And yet our premier is intent on destroying the marvel that is the ring of green space around Toronto in order to line the pockets of a few developers. This move will do nothing to allay our housing crisis and everything to hasten the climate crisis. It will exacerbate inequality and cost taxpayers money, never mind the “$9.1 billion economic impact every year and 161,000 full-time equivalent jobs in Ontario that depend on it.”
It also makes no sense to rip up forests and wetlands when we have plenty of urban land available, as this Toronto Star op-ed points out. But reason has nothing to do with it when there are quick profits to be made at the expense of local farmland, air quality and affordable housing. Writes my pal Shawn Micallef: “As transportation costs go up and climate change makes sourcing our food closer to home wise, it’s reckless to pave all this over. That the government is using the housing crisis as an excuse is egregious. There’s ample room to reach the GTA’s housing targets by adding density to the existing urban fabric.”
Writes my smart and funny friend, Rachel:
A previous report, Ontario’s wealth Canada’s future: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt’s Eco-Services, quantifies the annual value of the ecosystem services provided by the Greenbelt at an estimated $2.6 billion, which would be over $40 billion since the establishment of the Greenbelt. The report goes on to explain:
The Greenbelt’s wetlands and forests hold the greatest value, worth over $2.3 billion. Wetlands are worth an estimated $1.3 billion per year ($14,153/hectare) because of their high value for water regulation, water filtration, flood control, waste treatment, recreation, and wildlife habitat. Forests provide key services worth $989 million each year because of their importance for water filtration services, carbon storage services, habitat for pollinators, wildlife, and recreation. The Greenbelt’s agricultural lands total value is also substantial at an estimated $329 million per year including cropland, idle land, hedgerows, and orchards. Key values include the pollination value of idle land and hedgerows, the storage of carbon in soils, and the cultural value of agricultural lands.
The destruction of natural wealth is almost unbearable. The greed behind this destruction is making it difficult for me to find the grace. So I’m going to focus on the action part of action de grâce. What actions can I take to quell the frustration and change the things that need changing? I’m working on this in the form of a slightly embarrassing musical adventure. In the meantime, I’m asking you to sign all the petitions below, please and thanks!
Further reading: Who owns those Greenbelt parcels? Greenbelt benefits, Beginner’s Guide to the Greenbelt
SIGN THESE PLEASE!
Rachel’s email template
Get Pumped Giveaway!!!
As longtime readers of this newsletter know, I’ve been working with my friend Richard to help people get comfortable with heat pumps for the better part of a year. We installed a hybrid heat pump in my house as a pilot project so Richard and his team could gather data on pump usage and energy consumption. For me, the goal in getting a hybrid was to barely have to ever use our furnace to cover the days where the pump, which is undersized in a hybrid system, can’t heat the house to our desired warmth. Thanks to our scarily mild winters, I realized that goal. And our carbon emissions went down by 80%. Yes, my next heat pump will be a cold-climate, but Richard’s belief is that we can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good if we’re going to swap out the hundreds of thousands of heat pumps we need to in the coming decades. It’s my belief, too.
There’s also a very specific use case for hybrid heat pumps — for people looking to replace their A/C units who still have a new-ish furnace. Why? The cost of a hybrid is comparable to an A/C unit, and ALSO almost zeroes out household emissions. As the northern climes warm, we’re going to see a lot more people wanting this chill. There’s no reason to be installing a conventional A/C unit in 2022. A heat pump is a superior and competitively-priced product that “bonus” heats your house for the bulk of the year, bringing down your emissions bigly. Which brings me to the giveaway…
We are giving away TWO heat pumps!
There are no restrictions on brand.
It’s about replacing your A/C with a heat pump, approximate retail value $7,000.
You must live in the GTHA (Greater Toronto Hamilton Area).
You must be able to accommodate installation by December 15th (It only takes about half a day).
How to enter:
Sign up for a virtual consultation with Cut Your Home Carbon by Thursday, November 24th at 9 PM. (Winners will be chosen by raffle from this group.)
Be subscribed to Minimum Viable Planet.
It’s a lot to do on a tight timeline, but we cannot resist the opportunity to give away two free pumps! I am super happy with my system and happy to talk about it with you!
P.S. If you do win, I may need to feature you in a subsequent issue of MVP.
This week: How do you find action + grace?
Last week: PMA + I appreciate you.
Thank you for all the I appreciate youze. They really made my week.
Writes Steve in Cincinnati:
I'm a retiree who's a group leader for Citizens Climate Lobby, a volunteer with an urban agriculture project, and active in my church and other do-gooder campaigns. Sometimes, when people show nothing but apathy in the face of an ongoing calamity or fossil fuel interests come up with some new atrocity, I'm tempted to throw up my hands and retreat to eating chocolate and watching NBA basketball. Your newsletter provides a welcome reminder that others are walking the same path and working for a better future bolsters my morale more than withdrawing. Plus, your laconic humor and quirky artwork always boost my mood.
Speaking of heat pumps, Canada catching up…slowly. Still cool! Money to switch from oil fuel to a pump!
Not too late to apply to our Rewilding prize! A handful of climate-y art prizes worth $2,000 each! Apply here.
Don’t be a scope dope! My husband has a primer on 1, 2 and 3, and the biz implications of the latter.
Anand Giridharadas on Climate One is WORTH YOUR TIME!
The joy in this pic:
Matilda, but no dancing Danny Devito.
Thank you so much for reading. Always tell me how to improve MVP. Hope you are having a lovely week!
Thanks for the links, especially the ones to the Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature letter templates. Emails sent!
What does GTA mean? Is it a sustainability-related acronym? I Googled it and the only thing that came up was "Grand Theft Auto" (a video game)...