We live in an era of ‘take’, staking claim to what is mine and not yours. This mentality begins in our interpersonal relationships and extends to the biosphere supporting us. Society promotes a whole lotta take with very little to return. Mother Nature seems a little peeved about this exchange and is shutting down the tills. Continue reading An Industrial Evolution – July 26, 2016
We all know the story of Weed, AKA cannabis, marijuana, pot, the assassin of youth. In truth, that assassin is adulthood and definitely not to be confused as maturity. Her story is woven with lies, deception and conspiracy. Weed, unbeknownst to most, is the victim. Continue reading The Story of Weed – March 29, 2016
We 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.
So Premier Clark is on the oil-baron bandwagon, touting liquefied natural gas (LNG) as Western Canada’s great hope to fuel our economy. Let’s run it by China and see if they’re interested. If we’re lucky, they might even sell some back to us. The idea of selling and shipping our natural resources just reeks of ‘intelligence’.
What are we missing here? That we could be creating more jobs on this side of the ocean by retaining ownership of our natural resources? If we piped this processed product into our own gross domestic product, we’d see a booming profit margin compared to what we sell overseas. Under the defence of conservation, if we held on to these resources then, as demand increases and supplies dwindle, the value of what remains will have a much higher value if we keep it in the ground for just a wee bit longer.
In terms of utility, how we use these resources can no longer continue with business-as-usual. Our siphoning of nature’s hydrocarbons has peaked and what remains requires some pretty intensive (and polluting) extraction methods. Perhaps we should step away until some cleaner methods are developed. Anyway, we’ll need to retain some fuel to maintain our sense of Canadian well-being. We can sell it all now, but it’s foolish to think that we won’t need it later on. (This seems to be beyond the scope, and lifetime, of those currently in power.)
What happens when our petroleum runs out? No fuel, transportation, or trade. We can’t make the plastics necessary for our day-to-day products. Our paints, lubricants and coatings will no longer be a water-tight guarantee. For obvious reasons we must start to seriously conserve what is left. If Canada doesn’t kick-start its manufacturing capabilities, all we’ll have left for trade will be the virgin resources. These will drain away to other countries that have more factories than we do.
So, for Clark to peddle LNG as our great opportunity, her tunnel vision may simply be another nail in the coffin of our long-term well-being. Beyond the pipeline and gas possibilities, what other cards are there to put on the table? Where do agriculture and forestry fit in? I see a whole lot of eggs in one basket and very few barriers to prevent a province-wide (and country-wide, but that’s another story) crash.
Perhaps we should looking into petroleum’s greatest threat: Hemp. In the 1930s, Du Pont lobbied heavily to outlaw hemp and cannabis. At the time, the Ford Motor Company was devising ways to create every product made from petroleum, but from hemp instead. As it turns out, everything petroleum could do, hemp plant carbohydrates could do cheaper. This game-changer had to be kept off the playing field.
This plant is a miraculous gift, and it is currently villainized by lobbyist propaganda and disproven gateway theories. Cannabis’s medical abilities are beyond incredible, the plant’s fiber can be used for textiles, rope, paper, concrete and bio-hydrocarbons. The economic possibilities are immense. As well, two harvests of hemp will replenish a field overrun by thistles and weeds. We can recover more farming land. The information is out there, look it up. It’s the 21st Century, folks. It’s time grow up, do away with bad habits, and work towards a prosperous and greener future.
Published October 10, 2013, Kelowna Daily Courier