Lessons learned from the Ice Storm: Peter Tabuns speaks to the 2014 PCA AGM

In his remarks at the AGM, MPP Peter Tabuns provided some thoughtful advice to the Pocket based on time spent visiting parts of Riverdale and East York during the ice storm, and his years of experience as an environmentalist.

According to Peter, it is increasingly apparent that we'll be facing more such extreme weather events and it's best that we be prepared.  We should seize the time.

Now is the time to take action to reduce our contribution to climate change and adapt to the changes in summer and winter, while the topic is fresh in people’s minds.  Here are some of Peter’s ideas, along with some points raised during discussion with PCA members.

1. Weatherize your homes by insulating, improving windows, and planting trees.

    • Take advantage of the City of Toronto’s new Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). Upgrading your insulation and replacing an old furnace are examples of cost-effective improvements - also called retrofits - that can cut your energy bills, improve home comfort and reduce harmful emissions to the environment. The City is offering low interest loans which you can repay over time through installments on your property tax bill. The Pocket is eligible for the first phase of this pilot project.
    • For more ideas see Green Your Home
2. Address communications breakdowns. Reliance on cell phones makes us vulnerable during crises.
    • Buy small solar cell phone chargers – perhaps we could organize to make a bulk purchase of chargers.
    • Develop systems for keeping in touch with vulnerable individuals and households
3. Don’t wait for the provincial government to deal with the problems. They know that extreme weather could knock out our power but have not planned for it.
    • You can start with small improvements at home to be better prepared, eg. maintain supplies of food and water.
    • Hire an electrician to install solar power to run your gas furnace so it doesn’t require electricity.

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