Happy New Year, and yes, I am still alive. Now that I have passed my 85th birthday, does this mean that I have joined my elders, who possess much wisdom? CBC TV reported that our prime minister, Stephen Harper, is going to China. Will he assure them that the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will be approved? That dirty tar sands oil from Fort McMurray, which China has invested in, will be coming down the pipe?
Two considerations: Why would anyone want to have anything to do with dirty tar sands oil? High-paying jobs? Yes. But, at what price and to whom? The environment? Four barrels of clean water from the Athabasca river, many cubic feet of natural gas, and two tons of tar sands, to produce one barrel of oil? Why even consider this, when 20 long-term jobs can be created by sustainable energy technology, as compared to four short-term jobs using the tar sands? Besides, it could be accomplished at no additional cost to taxpayers. Simply transfer the federal subsidies which are now given to the oil companies, to entrepreneurs, dedicated to designing and building environmentally friendly energy. It is happening in Germany and other European countries. And they are generating far more jobs than those tied to fossil fuels. The real tragedy is, much of nature’s precious water is lost forever, to say nothing about what is happening to the land, the rivers and the people who depend on those rivers for their livelihood.
Why add insult to injury? Who in their right mind would consider moving dirty oil through pristine wilderness? In a pipeline? And oil tankers? It is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Sooner or later people are going to wake up to the fact, that pipe lines leak, tankers run aground, the environment pays the price. To say nothing of what it is going to cost our children and grandchildren to clean up our mess. Yet, we still have hope; this could be the year that governments, at all levels, listen to our elders? Anyway, nature has the last bat.