The environmental debate these days can be a frustrating thing. I for the most part side with environmentalists, and think that the perfect city is one in which you can walk or bike anywhere worth going and shop at the farmers market. I was in D.C. during the rally against Keystone but just couldn’t motivate myself to go. Not because I think Keystone is a good idea, but because I hate the way a lot of talk about Keystone and the oil sands.
Today I stumbled upon a quote about minister of natural resource Joe Oliver that I think makes a very good point:
Oliver countered that when a source of energy represents 1/1000th of global emissions, “to say it’s the end of the planet if that’s developed is nonsense.”
He added that “crying wolf all the time” does not advance the serious debate.
This is not to say that the oil sands are fantastic just that it is a little ridiculous when people are incredulous about the oil sands but not coal powered plants or any of the things that contribute to the other 999/1000 of emissions. Call it what it is and then maybe you can have a real conversation. Besides that is only if you develop the entire oil sands, which to everyone’s surprise have been in production since the ’70s.
Or as Kelly McParland put it after the Arkansas spill:
Keystone XL fans, it was nice while it lasted. Making fun of the C-list celebrities who chained themselves to the White House gates; chortling at the inflated numbers claimed by anti-oilsands protest organizers (“The entire population of United States — except a few from Texas — marched on Washington Saturday in a united protest against Canada’s stinkin’ pipeline,” claimed 350.org founder Bill McKibben Thursday); marvelling at the number of pejoratives “activists” could cram into a single reference to Alberta (“We don’t need Alberta’s dirty foreigner tarsands fish-killing high-pollution oil!”).
There has got to be a better way to talk about these issues. We should be realistic, and honest. We should avoid calling other do-do heads. Then maybe we will be able to start having a hard look at our society, the energy we rely on and what changes need to be made.