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Hydro is not your water bill

I'm new to Canada, and the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. As someone who's become fairly adept at intercultural communication, I've noted many lessons right off the mark. For one thing: Canadians do not say "eh?" as they are parodied. No. My neighbors prefer the expression "hey", and not at the start of a sentence as in "hey, look out!" but rather at the end with a lilt, such as "that's a great restaurant, hey?"

There are other terms to get used to: poutine (a concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curds, on which I'll pass, since even saying "curds" makes me nautious, oh no . . .). Also, there's hydro. I always associated this term with water, so when my new landlady mentioned the "hydro bill", I thought she meant the water bill. We engaged in an Abbott and Costello-esque dialogue like this for an embarrassing length of time:

"So, the rent includes water, hey?"

"Yes, it includes everything except hydro."

"So, I do have to pay for water?"

"No, just the hydro."

"So, the water?"

"No . . . . You get the gist of it.

I eventually figured out that BC Hydro powers the Province mostly from "the power of moving or falling water". Good, cuz we have a lot of water here!

Whether commuting by ferry, paddling in a pond (with my old friend, Groucho), or walking in the rain, one cannot live in BC without having water as part of our awareness. Here on the Coast, this summer we're worried about high temperatures and another water shortage. In Gibsons, where I work and live, our drinking water comes from an underground aquifer, creating some of the best in the world (its true! Look it up!).

In my other job as Minister of Climate Justice for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, I've become very much an advocate for this source of green energy and am among those promoting an initiative to transition all of our churches to zero carbon emissions.

For now, I'll keep paddling along, paying my hydro bill, recycling my trash, and spending as much time near the water as possible (including at the baptismal font!). If you're needing inspiration to advocate for our environment, come visit us on the Sunshine Coast. One breath of the clean air and you'll be shopping for heat pumps in no time!

Yours in the wonder of Beauty,



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