Charge of the Oil-literate – December 10, 2013

slide_224827_946621_freeWe live in a bountiful province. We have lots of space with a broad range of ecosystems. We have fresh rivers, lakes and glaciers. We have islands and an ocean, and plenty of wildlife. I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty sweet. So why risk losing it to the mining, oil and gas industries? How badly do we need to drive? Sitting here at the onset of winter, I’d definitely give up having a car over giving up the gas hot water heater and furnace. It’s a matter of priorities.

Ten years ago, I was reading about multinational industries moving into developing countries to do their business. Truthfully, it’s not much different from letting the dog out to ‘do its business’. They went there for the cheap labor and lax environmental standards. They came; they exhumed; they departed; leaving the cleanup duty to the citizens. They left scars that will affect generations. It’s cold-hearted, but it’s business.

Skip back to the present, and I’m witnessing the same practices being done in our own backyard. It started out with having the environmental standards being taken out at the knees. Then came the tar sands explosion, leading to total disruption and theft of our water supply to support the disinterring. Then, the scientists were muzzled from speaking to the public about their economy-threatening truths. Soon, those foreign multinationals came knocking on our door, and one of the world’s greatest scarrings began.

Okay, so that was bad, but then the ever-envious BC government got giddy when word had it that we had gas. The liquid natural gas sector has become the backbone of our Premier’s job plan. This proposal requires refrigeration, which in turn requires a lot of power. So, even though BC has more than enough electricity, we now must erect a Site C Dam and destroy the habitat along the Peace River. Are we willing to destroy even more of our backyard for foreign interests to come in and scoop up all of our precious resources, using infrastructure built on the taxpayer’s dollar? Are we really that desperate or are we willing to try the untested waters of sustainable technology?

While on the topic of sustainability, for a constant supply of heat, we could go the biofuel way and harvest it from hemp. It burns cleaner, while, in its growth phase, it breathes at twice the exchange rate of oxygen for CO2 that trees do. Its oil can be processed for heating or for our transportation. Its fibers produce fabric stronger than denim. Its seeds provide a multitude of health benefits. Those are just a few industries that can provide long-term employment, and we wouldn’t have to flood a valley to do it.

I don’t believe we live in a Third World country, nor that we need to rely on foreign dollars to stabilize our economy. I will be the one to live out the consequences of their carelessness, which is especially annoying when we have plenty of other options to sustainably allow the industries to do their business in my home without putting my wellbeing at risk. I love BC. Let’s work to keep it beautiful.

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