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The conversation was about pipelines and tankers and the Alberta Oil Sands and such, and the apparent change of heart of Christie Clark, premier of British Columbia, on the construction of a pipeline through her province to carry heavy oil sands bitumen to be loaded onto tankers on her pristine coastline and shipped to Asia so a great deal of money could be made, etc., etc.
It was actually a refreshing change from the endless talk of Rob Ford.
A British Columbian colleague was not surprised by Clark's apparent about-face on the subject. She opined that there is no better choice than the pipeline to transport the oil; a slam dunk compared with rail or road tankers. I said that there is a real choice: leave the oil in the sands where it is, fix up the mess and go on to some cleaner enterprise.
That's not the way the world works, I was informed. Selling oil sands energy to Asia will happen; we're better off just making sure we choose the least dangerous way to move it.
It's inevitable. Like death and taxes, puberty and menopause, earthquakes and typhoons, there's not a damn thing you can do about it, so get used to it.
It's true of course. Many, many happenings are inevitable. They will happen, like it or not. But wait, shipping oil sands bitumen to Asia IS NOT ONE OF THEM. There are choices possible here, different routes to take, debates and decisions to be had that are different from the status quo.
Much that we have resigned ourselves to is NOT inevitable.
There's a seductiveness about resignation, though; if nothing can be done, then nothing is required of us.
We can rest calmly in the arms of the creator, who promises a better world when the final, inevitable chapter has been written. This world, in that case, is not my home anyway.
Truth is, we waste more energy than we use; we travel far more than is necessary, for instance. Way too much light, way too much wasted heat, way too many five-passenger-vehicles-with-one-occupant driving.
“I have a dream,” Martin Luther King might have said if he was presently a living Canadian. “I have a dream of the tar sands covered up and the area restored to be bird, fish and people-friendly again. I have a dream of many, many men and women employed making solar panels, wind generators, tidal generators. I dream of roofs made entirely of solar panels, of wind generators in every town, of cities where only electric golf carts, bicycles, pedestrians and public transportation are allowed on the streets.”
I have a dream. A dream of clean air, clean water, clean land.