So, I (finally) signed up for Bullfrog Power. Contrary to advertising, it’s not an alternative electrical company.
It’s more like a subscription service.
I’m officially now paying ~$45/month to help increase green-energy infrastructure (wind and water power) in Ontario. And, like, yes I know. Hydro Ottawa is called Hydro for a reason (Portage Power is a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa that specifically handles green energy generation). But still. For now, this is my latest “next step” in cleaning up, or making amends for, my household energy footprint. This is very much like the whole thing where I “plant” (sponsor the planting of) trees to offset my household carbon footprint. I’m essentially throwing money at a problem – because I have enough money now to actually do so – in order to “cancel out” said problem, rather than doing something to actually solve the problem itself.
I was having a conversation with my relatives… I guess about a week ago. And I always feel really out of place when I’m talking to them. My household is still pretty low-income, whereas they’ve all got money in the form of pensions, investments, and job security. My household is queer, polyamourous and child-free, and theirs are… none of the above. We’re renters, and they all own their own houses. We are definitely the “them” to everyone else’s “us” in those conversations. That said, we’re all various degrees of Lefties, so it’s not a disaster. Anyway. We were having this conversation about how to get people off oil. And some of what I was thinking was “I’m a renter. Even if I had the $100K it would take to install geothermal heating (if that’s even an option around here) and solar electricity directly in my house… I don’t own my house, and so that’s not an option for me”. I can’t Get Off Oil until there’s another option available for heating my house that doesn’t first require me to own said house. Even a lateral move like switching from fossil natural gas to, like, landfill gas (which is still pretty-much all methane, it’s just more renewable) isn’t really an option at this time.
So, sure. One reason I take steps to “cancel out” my carbon footprint is convenience: It’s way less exhausting and painful to fly to visit my girlfriend than it is to take a 22-hour, two-transfers train trip that starts at 6am, so I fly, and do carbon off-setting. But the other reasons is because, in a lot of cases, I literally can’t take steps to not cause the problem in the first place. I figure – I hope – that, by signing up for Bullfrog, I’m also managing to contribute in some small way to shifting the local infrastructure – when that infrastructure is my only option – to something more sustainable and less greenhouse-gas-producing, to something that’s more respectful of, and more in concert with, the rest of this whole wild world.