There was no Earth Day speech. No urgent call to action. No outlining of the threats we face or the way in which we were going to work together to meet them. There wasn't even an Earth Day tweet -- just silence. It was a very stark reminder of his priorities. U.S. President Barack Obama's speech noted that we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. The fact that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded, that droughts, storms, and wildfires are increasing all over the planet in both frequency and intensity, and how climate change is already adversely affecting the air our children breathe.
Alberta has the best solar and wind potential in all of Canada more than enough to power the entire province yet utilizes less than 1per cent of it. Alberta also has a highly skilled, trained workforce. Alberta has the welders, it has the electricians, it has the engineers, the machinists, it has all the people power it needs to make the solar powered leap.
The Alberta government is so fixated on extracting the destructive tar sands that it's missing out on Alberta's real potential. Rather that causing rising greenhouse gas emissions, countless treaty rights violations, incredible disturbances to land, air and water, the government could be a leader in clean energy solutions.
"First Nation communities, especially ones that are isolated and reliant on diesel for power, stand to benefit the most from a transition. These panels are an example of the type of solutions our communities should be implementing -- ones that create jobs, lower energy costs and don't hurt the environment to do it."
For 43 years, we have been stuck with the same, outdated, right wing status quo. Right wing policies have failed us in nearly every way imaginable: on education, on health care, and on the environment. Most of all, right wing policies have failed to ensure all Albertans get the most from our oil and gas resources. I am ready to work hard to change our province's politics and I know that many of you are, too.
Harper and Abbott have to understand that we can no longer have economies that exist outside of the ecological limits of our planet. Our reliance and exploitation of fossil fuels is endangering our future as well as our present and it needs to end. We need to transition to green energy and we need to keep more fossil fuels, especially high-carbon fuels like the tar sands, in the ground.
It makes you wonder how many other voices that complain about tar sands impacts are being ignored? Fort Chipewyan's calls for independent health inquiry, the cancer concerns in Fort Saskatchewan are just two, both recently echoed by the Edmonton Journal's editorial board; the fact that some doctors may not comfortable treating oil-symptom patients is another.
I can't imagine how it would feel after I've seen my cattle die, my daughter almost fall down the stairs because of chronic headaches and dizziness, and my family get sick to the point we had to leave our farm and move into our parents basement. And then to be told that it's not the constant tar sands emissions that are the problem, but my attitude to the oil and gas industry.
To say that rock legend Neil Young has been making waves on his ACFN 'Honour the Treaties' tour would be an understatement. His comments about the horrors of the tar sands have made front-page headlines, set social media ablaze, and have brought out more than a few attacks mostly from stalwarts of the oil industry.