I find it incredibly frustrating in how influenced the general population has become on the use of traditional sources of energy. If one was to take heed from the more prominent producers of traditional energy, it wouldn’t be totally out of context, to arrive at the conclusion that the very economic fiber of our country depends on the continued use and production of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas.
Though these natural resources are currently the backbone and driver of our resource economy, it is only because that we have structured ourselves that way, as a resource exporter, and have placed our manufacturing sectors on the back burner.
Unfortunately, this exportation of our resources, is just not limited to energy. We, as a Canadian society, have a tendency, to export everything. In fact, compared to our past, we rarely, do any of our manufacturing and processing ourselves, and in not doing so, export most of the technical aspects of these employment resources with them. We export mineral resources such as ore, raw logs, agricultural products, as well as energy. At one time in B.C., 70 cents out of every dollar came from forest products. Last year (2013) it was less than $800 million. It is this complicit and complacent attitude, that has driven us to become harvesters and merchants of all our natural resources, including the energy sector. It is just too easy to cut down our trees and throw them on a boat for Japan, as also it is, to stick a straw into the ground and suck out the oil and gas, and then ship it to Asia.
With our present rate of natural resource exportation, and our temptation to drastically increase it, we are leaving lessened amounts of resource for our future generations, not to mention, what this increase of resource extraction, is doing to our ecology and the environment.
Not only are we depleting our resources, we are doing it in a discount fashion. Currently, we are subsidizing the Alberta Tar Sands at a phenomenal rate of $1.8 billion per year, this is the amount of taxation subsidy that is excused some of the richest corporations in the world, this subsidy then allows these corporations to pay their employees exorbitant wages, which actually competitively strains other industries and jurisdictions.
Now, finally all this easy economy is about to bite us in the rear. Though scientists have been warning us for years, it is only in the last decade or so that the alarm bells have really started to ring. Global warming, climate change, rising sea levels, and the chronological prediction of mass extinction. Though these scientific facts may be quite real, how do you get Joe Average to believe, or even take one seriously, that we are sitting on the brink of the apocalypse. Especially, if it threatens your incredibly high paying job, your winter vacation, and your new four wheel drive SUV.
What really makes all these new predictions of imminent doom harder to swallow, it is usually orated by those people who don’t rely or have any immediate stake in resource employment. Scholastic types, environmentalists who understand science, academics, and not generally the type you find on an oil rig, or in a logging camp, and generally those more modernly known as nerds. The most common reference I receive is that, “the only thing you guys are going to accomplish is shutting down the whole damn country!” Though this analogy may seem a bit far fetched to the converted, it isn’t totally incomprehensible for those who are economically challenged.
The Green Party, and our ally’s in the environmental movement, honestly believe all this can be averted and the economy can survive as well. We believe that with a concerted effort toward renewables and clean energy, and moving in this direction, would develop it into the largest economic catalyst the world has ever seen. So not only would we clean and refurbish our environment, we could do so with great economic prosperity. Moving in this direction, including solar highways, wind farms, hydrogen fuel cells, and other new under developed technologies, we could produce ample amounts of energy, with comparably little hydro carbon pollution. All these technologies combined, could produce energy at a fraction of the cost of fossil fuels, and producing cheaper and more abundant energy, making us ultimately more productive in primary and secondary manufacturing.
Would we shut down current energy productions, such as the oil patch or the tar sands? Absolutely not! What we would do, is immediately stop expansion of these highly subsidized fossil fuel projects, and invest in the transformation to alternatives.
Instead of throwing good money after bad, we can start cleaning the planet while developing new systems of producing energy, then slowly start taking fossil fuel energy off line as its need diminishes, until we get to the point of no longer needing it for energy production, and save it, for what it’s needed most – manufacturing. If we want to survive as a species, if we care to create a future for our children and grand children, then we must stop emitting hydro carbons into atmosphere and into the seas. If we fail, our very existence, is at stake.