In this episode we talk about cars. Environmentalists rail against them but we sometimes need them. Striking the balance can be tricky.

A boy from the ‘burbs talks about adjusting to life without the ride in the driveway.  he settles on a car sharing service, an amazing new feature of life. I've been a memeber of two of them. Makes you a very fast shopper!

There are a variety of car sharing services from co-ops to much bigger models. In fact it’s set to be a global industry with consultants jumping into the mix, a sure sign of a growing industry. A Wall Street Journal blog compared car-sharing apps for NY’s Eve use.

If you don’t drive – or don’t want to -   some cities offer bike rental service for just an hour or two. 

Some people think environmentalists should just walk everywhere rather than wag a finger at any driver. James Turner (communications guy with Greenpeace) argues that, it’s not environmentalists who are making people feel guilty about climate change, it’s the oil industry. Read his op-ed on this in The LA Times here.

The many, many cars we are told we need, or at least want, are one of the rationalizations for the creation of the tar sands. It provides us gasoline. True, but it’s a very complicated, complex route from the tar sands to the pump.

I won’t go through it all (I’d be gone for hours figuring it out), but one ingredient needed to make gasoline from the tar sands even possible, is: dilbit. And that is our environmental word of the month, simply explained by our Climate and Energy Coordinator, Keith Stewart.Keith Stewart

Happily, you don’t have to have a PHD like Keith Stewart does to use dilbit in conversation, or to even understand the what the tar sands are all about.

Lisa Geier teaches Grade 5 in Mississuaga Ontario and as she had to teach a course on an environmental issue in Canada and how we dealt with it, as part of her curriculum. She chose the tar sands.  The kids researched, debated and discussed. They are adorable and you can hear them at the end of the podcast but here is some of their art work (the landscape before and after) about the tar sands. And as Lisa said in her blog about the experience; “One person can make a difference and it helps if they have twenty-five grade 5’s behind them.”

Grade 5 art on the before/after of the tar sands