Monday, November 21, 2011

Focus on your own backyard Mr Redford!

And I mean Literally focus on your own back yard Mr Redford. You know - your 6000 acre eco-ranch. Eco is it? I've been looking at your website for Sundance Resort and having a quiet chuckle to myself. You have a ski resort and 'wide groomed trails' for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. How are those trails groomed? A team of non-flatulent horses pulling downed trees to groom the trails? Oh please.

Guess what else? You can see the ranch from space!!!! Just like you can see the oil sands but when they are finished reclaiming the land, you won't even be able to tell it was even there - like some areas the media likes to pretend don't exist are already reclaimed. A little note on the reclamation process as an aside - I've seen multiple mentions in the news that the oil sands projects have yet to reclaim ANY land. But if you take the time to look up the criteria for a full announcement of reclamation, you will discover that the area has to be free and clear growing on it's own for 25 years before a certificate can be issued. There are large swaths of land already half way through the process but they are forced to wait. So it's not like 'nothing' has been done up there, it's just going to take awhile to receive full official approval of it being a reclaimed area. And there are many in the works - the media just doesn't want you to know that yet.

But I digress. Back to dear Mr Redford who has decided to go full steam ahead at bashing the oil sands projects. I seem to recall him filming a movie with Jennifer Lopez right here in Alberta about 6-7 years ago and gee well - how did he get there? How did the large team of cast and crew get there? How did they travel to and from the filming sites? What kind of fuel filled their buses, trucks, and cars? What was in JLo's gas tank when she stopped at Tim Horton's in Redcliff, Alberta one morning? How did they do some of their work in Medicine Hat, an hour from their main location in Burdett? Was it all run on solar panels and potato juice?

Why is it that these big green celebrities can jet all over the world to spout off about greenhouse gases and the dreaded reliance on fossil fuels, when they themselves use FAR FAR FAR more than all of us regular folks put together? It is really starting to p*ss me off.

I guess my little tiny house is less energy-efficient than the endless list of places to stay at Redford's Sundance Resort. Perhaps one of these several beauties that are 'scattered about the mountain above the resort' were built by elves. Surely no heavy equipment was trundled up the mountain-side to build them. No way! And I would imagine the people must land on top of their luxury rentals after a hang-gliding lesson because there most certainly cannot be roads built to the homes! That would mean trees would be cut down. And the stone fireplaces the site boasts about must be for show. You cannot tell me they are burning wood in there! Well maybe when the rich buddies of ole Bob come and stay, they don't mind a pile of mountain-pine-beetle-riddled wood stacked up against the fireplace. Yup, that must be it.

Speaking of wood, all of these rooms in the resort hotel must have been built using completely dead trees only. Of course there is no mention of that in their green policies but that's okay, I'm sure Bob thought of everything. If you want to get in on his project you can buy some prime housing spots at a cool $1.5 million. I'm sorry but I had to laugh my head off at one particular part in the link about buying a housing lot. It says to 'join us in preserving and enhancing the legacy of this remarkable place'..... by BUILDING on it? Ummm okay. Preserve = chop down trees, stake out lots, build roads, and then build homes. Ya! That makes sense! So it's okay to take out natural areas of a mountain and preserve the area by building homes so no tree will ever grow on that spot again, but it's not okay to extract oil from near the surface of the land and then replant trees and brush that WILL grow in that exact spot. That makes so much sense. Why didn't I think of that?

Another interesting thing I noted on the site was several mentions of wishing for people to carpool or use the bus service to get to the resort, as a way to help with the environment. They offer ski lift ticket discounts for people carpooling with 4 or more people, etc - for example. But when I clicked on the link for How To Get Here and then transportation, I was faced with this perplexing page stating that their preferred transportation service is Medallion Limousine, which is an 'exclusive black car service'. Where is the bus info? I am still looking. It mentions preferring to use 'mass transit' on other pages of the site... but then links you to the exclusive limo service. Oh. Okay.

Another interesting page to read is the Wind Power section under Conserve. If you read carefully, you will notice that it does not say anywhere that the resort USES renewable wind energy to power itself. It says that it purchases Renewable Energy Credits from Renewable Choice. Now some of you might say 'it's the same thing'. But no, it's not. What it means is, the resort uses whatever energy is available for that area (ie perhaps from a coal-fired plant, I havent looked that up yet), and then buys these invisible credits from Renewable Choice which then helps that wind turbine farm keep running. I would imagine that the energy those turbines run gets put into the grid wherever it is hooked up to - but that energy is NOT in fact going to the resort. No where on there does it say anything about USING wind power directly. It just buys credits. So someone else is getting that wind energy, but NOT, in fact, the resort. Oh - that's what passes for 'green' these days, is it?

I checked out the Renewable Choice website to try to find more info for you but it is chalk-full of double-talking mumbo jumbo. Here is a page that is supposed to explain to you what these RECs that Redford's resort buys are for. Yes it explains that the credits you purchase are then added to 'the grid' but that's as far as it goes. What grid? I looked at their map of programs and there were none showing for the whole state of Utah, where Redford's resort is. So where is the energy going? Where did they buy the credits from? How does this all work? And what I have always wondered is this - let's say Mr John Doe lives near a Renewable Choice wind farm. If Robert Redford's resort purchases a whole whack of RECs, does Mr John Doe then NOT have to pay for the energy he gets at his home, and anyone in the surrounding area for that matter, until Redford's credits run out for the year? Or what? Is it free to those who are 'on the grid'? I never seem to be able to find that information whenever I try to look this up. It is baffling.

But here is another way to look at the amount of energy this Sundance Resort gobbles up each year - whether from the wind, the sun, coal, natural gas etc - and it comes from his own website.... It states that each year, the resort uses enough energy to match:
- Planting12,502 mature trees or
     - Not driving more than over 3,068,581 miles in an average   
       passenger car or
     - Taking 263 cars off the road for a year

Thanks so much for giving us a fully detailed view of your carbon emissions Mr Redford and team!! You use enough to match running 263 cars for a year, or driving 3 MILLION miles, or planting over 12000 MATURE trees. That's some fine green-livin right there! WOoooieee! Don't forget to use the preferred limo service when you visit the resort.

Seriously, it just boggles my brain time and time again how some of these people can pretend that they are anywhere near as environmentally savvy as they claim. I looked up some of Redford's former homes (google it yourself, there are too many to list here!) and one in particular was a huge estate that is now owned by Neil Simon. Yes I am sure that Redford tries to live green, but he is NOT 'green',,, he might just be 'greenER' than some of his hollywood cohorts. But he also has the money to put into this while trying to take money away from others by trashing the thousands upon thousands of men women and children who rely on the oil sands to keep a meager roof over their heads.
And to top it all off, you can read about Robert Redford opposing the building of an eco-friendly housing area, using the increased traffic as one reason for not building Affordable Housing or Assisted Living and Retirement units within that facility. Oh so it's not okay for people to drive to and from their homes, but it IS okay for them to use a limousine service to go to and from his SKI LODGE. What a total crock of crap this is. He even has listed on the website that a limodriver will meet people at the Salt Lake City airport (you know, after they take such an environmentally friendly flight) and take them straight to the resort, which is about an hour's drive. So he does not want people driving too and from work at this little proposed housing project, but he does want them driving to and from the airport to his resort. 

Seriously - if anyone reading this was concerned about what Redford had to say about the Alberta Oil Sands, so soon after his protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline, perhaps you should do a little reading on Redford himself and see if he has any business whatsoever slamming down the people who are actually providing him and his clients/visitors with the very fuel they use to get to and from his resort - not to mention the staff, supplies, maintenance, building equipment, etc that zip up and down his roads each and every day. 

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These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).