Nothing is more sacred than that which provides life and health: clean air, safe water, healthy soil, photosynthesis. Yet damaging natural systems on which those conditions depend is seen as irrelevant, external to economic considerations. Thoughtful, sensitive corporate executives can't let their love of children or nature affect their decisions because consequences like pollution and habitat degradation are simply the "costs of doing business."
British Columbians have made extraordinary adjustments in their outlook in the last several decades. When I was a boy and a young man there was always another valley to log, another run of fish, more farmland around the corner, more rivers to dam or even reverse. This was considered our birthright. But though it took us a long time to realize it, we saw that we no longer had those luxuries.
Unable to pinpoint a specific cause for the deaths of their last two remaining belugas, the Vancouver Aquarium was left to speculate. And speculate they did, deftly pointing their finger at the critics of whale captivity that have been an ever-present thorn in their side. Ask yourself: Are these the actions one expects from a world-class science-based conservation charity? Or are they the public relations tactics more typical of people with something to hide?
The most fruitful way forward for resource development in B.C. appears to be through true co-management. Co-management moves beyond mere consent, to full and meaningful partnerships -- which require building a tremendous amount of trust through good-faith government-to-government negotiations and bringing in mature private sector partners.
For several decades, the urgency to fight climate change has been systematically paralyzed by the climate deniers. In order to deliberately create confusion in public opinion and block all concerted political action which might attempt to remedy the situation, the fossil fuel magnates have spent millions on pressure groups or bogus foundations.
By not acting on climate change, not engaging with the world, our national interests were undermined. Under the Conservatives' watch we came within a single vote of having our energy products barred from sale in the EU. In contrast we are reacting to the needs of Albertans and the opportunities arising in the global economy. Alberta now has a true partner in the federal government.
We're being left behind by other countries and economies while we chase an elusive ideal under some imaginary rainbow. It's time for our leaders to stand up and draw a line in the sand and stop enabling these fanatics, lest they achieve their ultimate goal of completely shutting down our economic engine.
Most national governments have committed to the 2015 Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global warming to 2 C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational goal of 1.5 C. We're already nearing the latter, with growing consequences, including increasing extreme weather events, water and food shortages, migration crises and extinctions. We must conserve energy, quickly phase out coal power and continue to develop renewable resources.
I have come to the conclusion that this decision is too important to leave in the hands of short-sighted federal, provincial and municipal politicians. Nor do I want to leave it to the oil industry or other lobbyist or environmental groups to decide. I want the ultimate decision to be made by the people of Canada, all the people, every single one.
Let's be frank, climate change is real. We, as a country, have to do more to fight climate change. That being said climate change is a red herring in this discussion. Why? Because up to 80 per cent of the emissions associated with fossil fuels are generated in their combustion. Pipelines represent a negligible part of that equation.