An open letter

The way I see it, my friend, is that a whole lot of organizations spend a whole lot of money on various sides of the whole oil sands, pipeline, climate change, etc. issue.  I don’t have terribly deeply felt positions on either “side” of the “debate”.  I have some nagging doubts about the rosy claims of the pro-development side.  I have written about some nasty destruction in the forests of northern Alberta. But, I also wonder whether the doom predictions of the other side might not be a little over-wrought.  I’ve also written about the sense of wonder I’ve felt when driving along “Upgrader Alley” north east of Edmonton.  I see it all as a very complicated tangle of legalities, moralities, and — more emotionally powerful than usually acknowledged — modern conveniences.  I’ve seen disappointing rhetoric on both sides: those who oppose oilsands development are said to hate Canada and hate prosperity for Canadians.  And those who favour development, or, horror, work for companies in the oil patch, are demonized as haters of the Earth.  Such rhetoric is, of course, absurd and inflammatory to the point of rendering discussion pointless.  Such rhetoric must be ignored

But, a whole lot of very ordinary, rational, plain-spoken people have their own, honest, deeply felt reasons for falling into line with one bunch or another of those lobbying organizations I mentioned.

One large bunch seems to deeply desire to make sure that humanity’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a liveable world.

Maybe they’ve been mislead.  Maybe they’re idealists.  Maybe they’re wearing blinders.  Maybe they’re dupes of Greenpeace and the Tides Foundation, but if they’re dupes, they’re dupes with some pretty noble and selfless goals.

Another large group apparently wants to maintain a national, local, and personal standard of living, and, if possible, extend that standard of living to a larger part of the world while trying to maintain a certain degree of environmental responsibility, but if you want an omelette, you gotta crack some eggs.

Maybe they’ve been mislead.  Maybe their idealists.  Maybe they’re the dupes of “conservative” foundations and think tanks, but if they’re dupes, they’re dupes who REALLY would like to maintain their present, globally exceptional standard of living.

I don’t know who’s right.

Maybe I’m naive, but, I sure know who’s motivations seem more attractive.

And, no matter what, economic growth cannot be sustained forever on a finite planet.  Some generation is going to have to put the brakes on – or have the brakes put on them.  Maybe, just maybe, we could be the ones.

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