Changes to the Hamilton game plan

Hi folks — just an update about me. Last Thursday was my last day as a full-time reporter at the Toronto Star. I will continue to write my weekly Clean Break column for the paper, but I decided to leave my day-to-day duties to pursue a number of personal projects, including writing a book on energy innovation. The Star has been good to me. It allowed me to focus on clean technology and green energy coverage years before it grabbed mainstream attention, and it let me launch a column five years ago that was dedicated to the cleantech/green energy space. In fact, the Cleantech Group recognized my column as the first mainstream newspaper column in North America dedicated to clean technology coverage.

That column, as I said, will continue. This blog will continue — in fact, I plan to post here more frequently. The only difference is that I now have more flexibility to pursue other projects and to become a more effective champion for clean technology innovation, demonstration and adoption. There’s a structural transition going on right now in the global economy — a move toward low-carbon energy sources, energy efficiency, waste and pollution reduction, and electrification of transportation. I want to do more to help influence public policy and corporate decision making, with an aim to speeding up this transition; I want to encourage and cheerlead for the innovators out there looking for solutions to our energy and environmental crises.

We’re already facing intense resistance to this change. In Canada, the federal government is failing us by refusing to act with urgency. In fact, what clean technology/energy programs we have are now being dismantled at a time when they should be strengthened and expanded. Now more than ever there is a need to champion the cause.

I leave you with this quote from U.S. President Barack Obama when he spoke last October at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

… I think it’s important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we’ll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we’re engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy — when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim — make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary.

So we’re going to have to work on those folks. But understand there’s also another myth that we have to dispel, and this one is far more dangerous because we’re all somewhat complicit in it. It’s far more dangerous than any attack made by those who wish to stand in the way progress — and that’s the idea that there is nothing or little that we can do. It’s pessimism. It’s the pessimistic notion that our politics are too broken and our people too unwilling to make hard choices for us to actually deal with this energy issue that we’re facing. And implicit in this argument is the sense that somehow we’ve lost something important — that fighting American spirit, that willingness to tackle hard challenges, that determination to see those challenges to the end, that we can solve problems, that we can act collectively, that somehow that is something of the past.

I reject that argument.

I reject it, too.

9 thoughts on “Changes to the Hamilton game plan”

  1. Good for you. Longtime reader and dead-tree journalist here, who’s also expanding, freelancing out to the blogging world. There’s a lot of opportunity in this space. You’re a great link to Canada for a Michigan guy like myself.

  2. Tyler:

    It is great news that you will be able to apply even more of your pragmatism and knowledge in clean energy to encouraging growth in this sector in Canada. It is unfortunate that the current federal government is making huge mistakes in not embracing the clean tech sector, and I think as the rest of the world moves on towards lower CO2 emissions, the political cost of our government’s lack of strong initiative in the clean tech sector will hit home. Other than federal government policy, I see evidence everyday that higher energy efficiency and renewables are the future.

    As we come up to our third cohort of graduates from our Energy Systems Engineering Technology program at St. Lawrence College, and despite some federal efficiency programs being droped, we see a market place hungry for graduates who have knowledge useful to the clean tech sector.


  3. The Star will miss you day-to-day but they must be relieved (as our your readers) that the weekly column will continue. Good luck the new game plan!!

  4. 🙂 Luck with your new endeavors, and glad to see that this blog will continue unabated. We need more like you to champion our collective move to a cleaner environment on all fronts.

  5. Kudos on you Tyler for helping change the energy landscape. You quote Obama, unfortunately the U.S. has decided to pull all funding for fuel cell research, both stationary and mobile. The U.S. walked away from Copenhagen and adopted the laggardly Canadian targets while China and India are about to hand us our asses.

    This is bad Tyler. We still dont get it. Our own PM is heading in the opposite direction at light speed and Obama is seemingly tacitly following even though we believe he isnt; but he is in many ways. Ontario, Quebec, B.C, and Manitoba are all good with the east coast following but Alberta and Sask. are different beasts altogether because of an obvious conflict of interests; shall we say.

    All I have to say is; how are we going to solve this problem? How do we bring these dinosaur energy superpowers into the fold? So we can move a national energy policy forward that serves all the citizens of Canada equally?

  6. I’m going to miss your columns in the Star big time, but kudos to you for moving to something new. It was scary enough when I quit work and went back to school for meteorology so I admire your courage.

    Still, it’s kind of unfortunate that we won’t have your columns and words to fight back against what feels like a tidal wave of denialism these days. I’m actually stunned at the degree to which basic science is being misunderstood or simply ignored. I have lots of fun arguing against the deniers who inevitably flocked to any one of your columns.

    I’m going to stick around on your blog for sure so keep up the good work!

  7. Hey Mark,

    I’ll still be writing my weekly Clean Break column for the newspaper, so don’t worry. Plus, by not having daily news duties I can sharpen my voice in the column. It’s all good…

  8. Good luck! And glad to hear the column will continue… I am a Star subscriber and it is good to read a column from a dedicated cleantech reporter, rather than someone who just tries cleantech reporting once in awhile.

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