Storms of Protest

We’re entering a new phase in the renovation and retrofit of Hammond Forever House.

If you would like to visit and learn more, send me an e-mail at [email protected] and we’ll try to arrange a time for me to show you around. There is lots of work still to be done and if you are willing to pitch in, we will not say no!

The tent.
The tent.

This past week was a difficult one. To make it possible to build the addition and upstairs dormer in the middle of winter, our contractor erected a huge plastic tent over the house. Smart, right?


Unfortunately, it leaks. Leanne and I have been mopping up the floor and setting containers under drips so that not too much water gets through. It’s not too much of a problem if water gets through to the new construction which will all dry out, but we have been noticing signs of water damage on the ceiling of the living and dining rooms which makes it hard to sleep on these rainy nights.

On Thursday evening, January 27th, Leanne and I contributed to a panel discussion after the screening of a film about environmental activism. The film was called “Disruption” and it was screened in Maple Ridge Council Chambers by Cinema Politica

Here’s what the movie synopsis says:

Disruption takes an unflinching look at the devastating consequences of our inaction. It lays bare the terrifying science, the shattered political process, the unrelenting industry special interests and the civic stasis that have brought us to this social, moral and ecological crossroads. We are living through an age of tipping points and rapid social and planetary change. We’re the first generation to feel the impacts of climate disruption, and the last generation that can do something about it. The film enlarges the issue beyond climate impacts and makes a compelling call for bold action that is strong enough to tip the balance to build a clean energy future. We still have much to do.

The film echoes my own belief that climate change is a crisis that demands immediate and radical action from all of us. The normal processes for changing the systems in our societies to respond to a threat are too slow and so mass protest is appropriate and reasonable to accelerate government response. It pointed out that many people are looking for a “silver bullet” to “solve” climate change, but that the problem is not so simple.

Just as we look to find a single solution, I think we also search for a single cause–a single group we can blame. However, consumers, governments and industries are all part of the system that needs to change. Our problem is the status quo. Our problem is inertia. One wheel can’t turn the car around, we have to work together.

It’s not going to be easy, but it could be exciting.DSC02997

I did my best to share what we’re doing with Hammond Forever House but we’re in the middle of perhaps the most challenging part of the whole process, so it was hard for me to say how wonderful it is and how everyone should do it because I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

Certainly I don’t want to simplify the challenge of reducing home energy use to something like, “homeowners should buy more insulation” because, as I’ve said before, homeowners are stretched in time and money. Only the rich among us can really “afford” to perform deep retrofits on their homes, but they are also able to afford paying high gas bills to heat their large houses, so few retrofits actually happen. People like Leanne and I with limited budgets and inefficient homes could make a big difference, but we don’t have the cash.

Do you see the opportunity there, Mr. Trudeau?TrudeauVan

I say we don’t have the cash, which is true, but, as you know, Leanne and I are doing it anyway. This is my personal form of protest. It’s only impossible until we do it, right?

I rambled a bit in the discussion, but that’s understandable. Leanne and I were both exhausted because the night before (Wednesday night) the plastic that was supposed to be covering the rear half of the house pretty much blew off, exposing it to the rain. For two hours we clambered all over the house in the middle of the night trying to secure the rain cover in a rain storm.

It’s hard to describe what happened, but Leanne did take a little video. In it you can see the top floor as it was last Tuesday and then what happened the following Wednesday night in the storm.

If the video is not playing for you here, you can watch it on youtube here:

The next day we found some more plastic and secured another layer over the top. Now that the dormer and addition have been framed and the roof has its plywood sheathing, the rain cover can sit right on the roof instead of above it like a tent. The wind can’t get under it so easily now and, so far, it looks like the insides are drying out.

Soon we’ll have a new roof put on and then we’ll sleep a little better.


Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

2 thoughts on “Storms of Protest”

  1. Wow. Glad you didn’t get big gusts like we had last week, or you’d be short a roof cover and a husband. Positive thoughts!

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