Posts tagged “canada”

British Columbia's Carbon Footprint: An Interactive Map

British Columbia is a net carbon sink, owing largely to huge swaths of forest and eelgrass and partly to a relatively low population density and footprint.

Tyee Solutions Society recently published an interactive carbon map showing the impacts of a number of sources on the net carbon footprint of BC. They include forest, eel grass & salt marsh, communities, highways, and industrial facilities. Each contributor/sink can be toggled; a Google Map updates in realtime. Pretty neat.

Click here to see the map.

A rough approximation, of course — we’re not going to “turn off” communities, highways, or the forest — but an interesting one, nonetheless. To create their map, Tyee Society sought out

the most credible data available to quantify the most important currents in B.C.’s carbon “flux” — the scientific term for the net difference between carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from all sources, and carbon dioxide removed from the air and sequestered in stable carbon stocks (typically in plants or organic matter). The goal and, with some important qualifiers, the result is a rough carbon balance sheet revealing the interplay of emissions and ecosystems at scales from the provincial to the local.

They found a number of interesting, though unsurprising, facts while doing their research. First,

According to the latest 2010 provincial data, B.C. emitted 62 million tonnes of “CO2 equivalent” (a metric measure used to aggregate emissions from various greenhouse gases with different global warming potentials). But if [they] include emissions generated by the coal and natural gas we export, that number nearly quadruples, to as much as 240 million tonnes.

Second, as a result of warming, some of the net-sinks may be “switching” to net-emitters. Their explanation is a little unsatisfactory, but acknowledging this shift is important.

B.C.’s share of the northern boreal forest, considered in isolation, continues to soak up enormous quantities of CO2. But the broad swath of light gray that appears along the B.C. coast in the map, indicating ambiguity and uncertainty in the data, is a startling reminder that our historic forest carbon “sink” may be switching to a net emitter of greenhouse gases — a testament to wide-ranging changes in everything from forest decay rates to insect plagues unleashed by warmer winters.

Cheers to the Tyee society for citing their sources and explaining where their data came from. Good stuff, and rare.

James Nizam: The Lighthouse

A few weeks ago, The Morning News featured photographs from James Nizam of Vancouver. They referred to an article in Canadian Art that described Nizam’s process in more detail.

The large black and white photographs depict the transformation of darkened rooms into uncanny light sculptures that intersect elegant geometry with math-class daydreaming. Bridling sunlight into streamlined rays via perforated and sliced walls, and with the aid of artificial fog to intensify the slants of light, Nizam creates imagery that might bend our perception of photography.

The majority of works in the exhibition were created in a darkened studio space where small mirrors were fastened to ball joints for easy pivoting, perfect for manipulating the light streaming through holes in the walls. The logistics were no small feat; Nizam sometimes had as little as five minutes of perfect sunlight in which to create his images. And the process of waiting for those brief periods no doubt felt like déjà vu for a photographer who has spent plenty of time in dim rooms watching dust dancing in sunlight.

The effect is striking. Highly recommend checking out more of his work at Nizam’s website and at TMN. More on the specific process used to create these images is available here.

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