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Whistler Reads: HOT FLAT AND CROWDED

abstract:You'd be forgiven if you thought Hot, Flat, and Crowded is a nightmare vacation experience instead of the title of Thomas Friedman's latest book published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and rated #16 of all books on Amazon and bestseller lists everywhere. But if we don't all read this book, we may be in for conditions like this world-wide, and sooner than we think. This coming January 4th, 2009 Whistler Read's pick will be discussed by a panel of local Whistlerites and you at the Whistler Public Library 1:30-2:30. We hope you join us in tackling a serious discussion on the material brought forward in Friedman's book. The Boston Globe writes, "A compelling manifesto that deserves a wide reading, especially by members of Congress and candidates for President." Still not convinced? View this compelling video of the author speaking to Charlie Rose. See details for speakers and other resources and how to JOIN WR.

article:

December 20, 2008
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About The Book

Thomas Friedman is a New York Times columnist and globalization exponent who pleads for Americans and Canadians to wake up to the perils and opportunities of an emerging resource-strapped world. We should stop defining our current era as "post-Cold War," he says, and see it as an "Energy-Climate Era" marked by five major problems: growing demand for scarcer supplies, massive transfer of wealth to petrodictators, disruptive climate change, poor have-nots falling behind, and an accelerating loss of bio-diversity. A green strategy is not simply about generating alternative power, it is a new way of generating national power.

Expanding his horizons beyond globalization, the subject of The World Is Flat (2005), the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner argues that a trio of powerful dynamics is shaping our future. The "hot" of the title refers to global warming, or "global weirding," as he calls it, referring to the bizarre climate effects we are encountering. "Flat" refers to globalization, enhanced here with a look at how trade growth fuels energy use and hurts the environment. "Crowded" refers to humanity's relentless expansion and its perilous effects on biodiversity and the planet's finite resources. The only solution to these ills, he forcefully asserts: innovation in the form of a green revolution.

How To Become a Whistler Reads Member

Members receive: A chance to win a free copies of our current title; 10% discount on books from Armchair Books; Discounts to any ticketed special events and courses; E-mail updates on latest events with discussion points and related research; The opportunity to partake in various programs.
  • Click on REGISTER on the home page
  • Select "Invited to join an existing book group"
  • Type in "Whistler Reads" in the field asking for the name of the group
  • Fill in the rest of your information - and - ta da You're IN!

    People We Have Engaged

  • You the community, politicians, businesses and students have expressed an interest
  • Ted Battiston, Manager of Sustainability Initiatives at the RMOW and one of the authors of the Whistler2020 vision will speak to this area of expertise. Ted is an emissions expert. He's been collecting data on exactly where Whistler stands on this hot button topic of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will be interesting to see the results.
  • Arthur DeJong from Intrawest will speak to the Whistler/Blackcomb sustainability plan and the status of the Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro project as well as tested wind power activity and what effects climate change has had on the glacier and snow pack to date. They even have a plan in place for where ski runs and lift lines will need to be if temperatures consistently rise 2 degrees.
  • AWARE President, Sara Jennings will speak to current initiatives and concerns of her group's work.
  • Innovative people like Will Edmondson of Squamish, BC who converts diesal car engines to burn waste canola veggie oil - his website www.transphat.ca
  • Dave Williamson, President of Cascade Environment Co. a local biologist will talk about the health of our rivers, forests and wildlife.
  • Marjo Vierros a visiting professor at the United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) who has developed, and now coordinates, the Global Marine Governance project, an oceans-related programme at UNU-IAS. This programme aims to help countries better manage their marine resources and biodiversity in a changing world, while providing United Nations agencies with timely information about oceans and the threats they face.
  • Rod Nadeau The concept of energy efficiency has become so ingrained that 89% of respondents believe that builders should build them as a basic standard. In fact, changes to the building code are coming. Here to talk about it is the head of the Canadian Home Builders Assoication and principal of Nadeau & Associates and Innovation Design. He has been an active participant in the Whistler building scene since his arrival from Montreal in 1977 and has built energy efficient homes as early as 20 years ago. We'll get an update on the projects that have been built to Leeds standards, R2000 and the methane gas reclamation project at the Athlete's Village in Function Junction.
  • Nadine White of the Whistler Public LIbrary is creating bookmarks with online and digital resource links to educate us in the "Green File" resource collection.

    Some Questions Facing Whistler

    The melting of our local glaciers. Irregular weather patterns and less snow on our mountains. Loss of biodiversity. What it really means to cap growth and put teeth into legislation that protects remaining natural resources: the wetlands, the watersheds, the close wilderness, the close protected farmland. Questions to consider on how "green" we can go:

    TRANSPORTATION ISSUES

  • How can we increase passenger rail service and reduce fares to relieve vehicle traffic in the corridor? Currently the Whistler Mountaineer runs once a day from May 1st to Oct 12th (just six months) offering 114 seats per trip at a cost of $199 return. If two people are coming to Whistler, that amount far exceeds the cost of renting a gasoline car. And yet it adds up to 20,000 people who are not driving - or roughly 10,000 cars not driven on Hwy 99. How can we bring the cost down, and increase service capacity year-round to make this a viable commuter alternative like Europe?
  • The Hydrogen Highway controversy: proponents say the hydrogen fuel buses that use a fuel source trucked all the way from Quebec just in time for the Olympics is a good thing; opponents say development of the last natural wetland in the centre of Whistler village for the hydrogen bus depot is a travesty that was arranged through a backhand deal between government agency amidst community protest and the program will be scrapped post Olympics. What is the truth, and what is the cost-benefit?
  • Currently the municipality runs a fleet of vehicles operating on a mix of biodiesal or electric. It's 20% biodiesal mix in summer and a lower 5% in winter due to fuel gel issues at low temperatures. How available is that fuel to the public - currently Whistler has one gas station that runs out of fuel at peak times in summer. Should we insist that the next gas station provide alternative fuel?
  • Can we provide FREE village-wide bus service, not just within the town centre? Educating drivers (especially WAVE busdrivers!) to drive responsibly instead of the pedal-to-the-metal-acceleration norm
  • On the snow-clearing issue: Current municipal thinking is an aggressive stance on road clearing. With even a hint of snow forecast a fleet of heavy gas-guzzling snow removal vehicles is launched. What about a policy to allow a hard snow pack to form on our streets and changing the highway standard regulations to insist on snow tires on Hwy 99? Fatalities on the highway exist every winter with vehicles that come up unprepared with proper all terrain tires, let alone snow tires. How many tourist dollars will be lost if we insist on proper winter tires to get here?
  • They're paving the skier day lots in Whistler and plan to charge for parking, ostensibly to discourage village traffic and encourage use of mass transit. Is the community behind this? Funds raised from the project should be used toward further local municipal green policy initiatives, but instead the community has to first cover the costs to stabilize the Fitzsimmons slide area - an environmental issue that, it was debated, should have been picked up by the provincial government. Would you like to see the RMOW install electric hook-ups in the day skier parking lot in reserved front row spots in the future?
  • The term "service" in Whistler is an oxymoron. We each drive to dump and recycle our own garbage, we each schlep into the village to the single post office to pick up our mail packages. What's the status of the new municipal electric cars? Would it be better to use one to deliver our mail and packages directly to homes? What about a mail drop-off box at each of the community post box stations, and a few more in Creekside and other village locations?
  • ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOLUTIONS

  • What is the technology in progress at Callaghan Station that recycles waste-energy (methane gas) for other purposes?
  • There are greater than 50 proposal in progress on waterways in the corridor. Whistler Blackcomb, Ledcore Power Group and BC Hydro have begun work on the Fitzsimmons Creek project that will soon provide all the hydro electric power necessary to run the mountain energy needs including all the ski lifts, buildings and services, But controversy surrounds other proposals. Who should be harnessing power from mountain waterways for our local power needs? Should there be more?
  • Former oilman, T. Boon Pickens is spending billions of dollars on wind power units in the central US wind corridor. What about wind power in Squamish that can be connected to the existing hydroelectric grid?
  • CONSERVATION ISSUES

  • What is the energy efficiency requirements of public and private buildings? Should large new homes be required to use geothermal or solar energy? Are tax incentives enough to encourage smaller homes (and older homes) to be energy efficient or make conversions?
  • Increasing density in Whistler rather than encouraging sprawl is a priority. What are the tax incentives and public information programs in place?
  • Should we make our stores - not the consumers - responsible for recycling the packaging they use to to attract purchases, (as they do in Germany, successfully decreasing recycling by half) versus, or in tangent with, the celophane bag ban issue?
  • What more can we do to support local farmers and the 100 mile diet concept in homes, at the grocers, and in restaurants and hotels? Pemberton currently has 4 new zones for development and some of them are on flat, agricultural land. Richmond was the breadbasket for Vancouver and look at it now. Wildlife, wetlands - how are our local species holding up? AWARE conducts "species counts" every year and submits it to a world-wide web database. I'd like to hear more about this.
  • We buy books, we recycle books, we borrow from the library. Why not think of purchasing a Kindle: Amazon's Wireless Reading Device for the avid reader in your family: save trees and fuel used to make and ship books? A Kindle holds >100 novels. Amazon is selling 10,000 e-books a day. It takes 2 minutes to download a book.
  • Write down your ideas and bring them to the discussion!

    About the Author

    Thomas Friedman is a world-renowned author and journalist, joined The New York Times in 1981.A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles reporting the Middle East conflict, the end of the cold war, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics, and the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat. His foreign affairs column, which appears twice a week in the Times, is syndicated to one hundred other newspapers worldwide.Friedman's books have seen considerable commercial success. His book The World Is Flat, was on the New York Times Best Seller list from its publication in April 2005 until May 2007. Since July 2006, the book has sold more than two million copies.

    Friedman graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Mediterranean studies and received a master's degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford. He has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and has been awarded honorary degrees from several U.S. universities. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Ann, and their two daughters.

    A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Friedman is the recipient of the 2004 Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement, and has been named to the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

    Pre-Discussion Resources

  • Again, do pre-view this excellent interview of the author by Charlie Rose.
  • Frontline of PBS has an excellent documentary entitled HEAT that is available for viewing FREE entirely online, or for purchase via iTunes if you want to keep a copy.
  • An Inconvenient Truth If you haven't read or viewed Al Gore's treatise on global warming, which won him the Nobel Prize for Peace, nows your chance.
  • BC Hydro Green Power Applications: View the list
  • Innovative people like Will Edmondson of Squamish, BC who converts diesal car engines to burn waste canola veggie oil - his website www.transphat.ca Along with Will's site you might want to check out www.veggievan.org
  • And last but not least, check out Dr. David Suzuki's wish list for the planet. If I Had Four Trillion Dollars

     

     

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