Melissa Auf der Maur Leads Solar Powered Life
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Melissa Auf der Maur’s short film, a bewitching time-traveling Viking-themed fantasy entitled Out Of Our Minds and part of a multi-media project that includes an album of the same name out in March, was shot by New York filmmaker Tony Stone using HD solar powered cameras. The solo artist and former bassist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins has become increasingly interested in reducing her carbon footprint.
“Tony, he’s also my boyfriend, is incredibly well-read on the practicality of energy, the simple fact of energy and the little things we can do,” Auf der Maur tells Samaritanmag. “We shot the film on his family’s land [in Vermont] and it’s off the grid. He’s been spending his entire life at this place and it’s really given him this incredible perspective of just how easy it is to actually live without all of this stuff. He spent every summer of his youth pumping water out of a wells and had no electricity.”
Auf de Maur, on the other hand, is a city girl, born and raised in Montreal, but she has nevertheless had a long-standing admiration for Canadian David Suzuki. The environmental educator was her pick when CBC took its nationwide poll in 2004 for the top 10 Greatest Canadians (he ended up at No. 5 out of 140,000 nominations) and she made her case for him on a CBC Television special. “The only one I could stand behind was the one who wants to save the planet,” she says.
But it’s Stone who has had the biggest impact on how she lives day-to-day. “He’s been a leader of it for me. I’ve learned so much,” she says. “It was in my instincts already and then it was really emphasized by him.”
The couple lives together in a solar-fuelled home in Montreal. “The fact that we don’t suck energy from the grid is pretty amazing. The incentives to use these green companies are there. It’s not properly publicized, but it’s so easy. The government subsidies are there and then there are green, one percent loans. Literally, there’s no excuse,” Auf der Maur says.
“You have to do research but someone like Tony — which is why I admire him so much — he will actually go online for hours and find out how easy it actually is. The philosophy that’s been really inspiring for me from him is that it’s worth paying the extra 10 percent to support an industry. So we did have to put $3000 down and we have this one percent loan, but the initial money you put down is worth it because you are supporting the big cause.
“Also, the omnipresent little things each of us can do,” she adds. “Even though it might not feel like something in the big picture, it really is, like buying locally, paying the couple of extra cents or dollars to be able to avoid the energy that it took for transportation. It’s simple but daily things that really will help balance the actual industry.”
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* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.