Saturday, October 01, 2011

Just Say No

When I was in Colorado for the Presbyterians for Earth Care conference all the talk was about the protests in Washington against the Keystone pipeline. This pipeline will take Alberta oil sludge to Texas for refining. It was strange to be the lone Canadian in the group. I actually feel that the oil sands project is an environment mess and that we are "selling our birthright for a mess of potage" to use an old expression. But you know what its like -- we can diss our own family members but we get annoyed when someone outside the clan does! After all, Americans love their cheap gasoline and big vehicles, so why dump the blame on us? In truth we all love our fossil fuels along with the other stuff made from oil. There is hardly a product out there these days that isn't made from plastic or wrapped in it.

But I digress. This past week protests moved to Parliament Hill, although the turnout wasn't anything like what happened in Washington. There was an open letter to Prime Minister Harper written by eight Nobel Peace Prize winners including former archbishop Desmond Tutu, asking that the Tar/Oil Sands project be curtailed.

What do you think about this letter? Are they overstepping their bounds? After all, these individuals were celebrated for other accomplishments, not their expertise on extracting oil. Or do we need recognizable leaders using their credibility to challenge what they believe is a less than peaceful relationship with the planet? Different denominations, including the United Church have raised concerns about the Oil Sands but sprightly Desmond Tutu will always get better media coverage.


IanD said...

Opposition to these kinds of projects need to start from a groundswell of popular discontent. Until the public pressures government in sustained, cohesive ways, these kinds of issues will be shrugged aside.

I admire peaceful protest and the people who give their time to co-ordinate and participate in them; the long term impact, however, is negligible. Once the sound bite is over, the issue fades.

Laurie said...

Just got back from out west. Spent time in B.C. and Alberta visiting friends and family. The pipeline issue is a big part of conversation out in Edmonton. There is a camp out in front of the Edmonton government building. We spent an evening visiting friends and discussing the topic. Some of them have been there for weeks. The people come and go but they are making their opinions known.It is a small but committed group. There is plans for a large protest in the future.