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I would call myself a pragmatic environmentalist. Meaning I view the economy and the environment as somewhat of a symbiotic relationship. Although I have spent the majority of of my scientific career in medical and agricultural research I can read other scientific publications. What I find repugnant about the activists in this country (I live in Canada, Alberta more specifically) is that they think the transition to renewable can happen overnight. That they seem to not take into consideration the people that live in rural communities, that farm, that make their living off of resource development. I have gone to some of these “events” and what I find is a lot of people that live in cities (where light rail and public transportation could be used), don’t work with their “hands”, seem to have no concept of where their food comes from, how their clothes are made, how they can have all their electronic gadgets, heck most have no idea where the electricity comes from. Fossil-fuel development is not the problem, it is the combustion of fossil-fuels. Over 40% of the GHG emissions globally come from transportation fuels. Meanwhile countries like China and India are adding millions of cars to this equation. I’m not saying that is wrong, they too want to have the lifestyle we in the Canada and the US has. Both countries continue to build coal fired electrical plants. Again this isn’t wrong, 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity, they live in energy poverty. Instead they use burning biomass to cooking, heating etc. which is also unsustainable. When you have countries like Indonesia chopping down the equatorial rainforest to provide farm land (mostly to plant palm for palm oil) they set fire to clear this land also adding to the particulate matter into the atmosphere. I could go on for pages about energy poverty and burning biomass but you too can do the research.

What is sadly lacking from this discussion of the environment is a balanced approach. If we get the world to decrease burning coal (or at the very least use current technologies that decrease emissions) and in the interim use natural gas which produces half the GHGs until we can produce fuel without GHG emission that would be a start. What about nuclear, it is GHG free, it is also not without is peril from radioactive waste. In this country we have environmentalists protesting hydroelectricity dams because they will flood 1000’s of hectares of land, some of which may be on First Nations ancestral lands. They protest run-of-river hydro which harnesses the power of rivers flowing down mountains. Oil and gas is used in the petrochemical industry which have given us so much of our modern conveniences, medicines, etc. Environmentalists argue that these can all come from harvesting and processing plants like hemp. Really!%$@? Give your head a shake, you have any idea what that would do to the biodiversity of world and global food production. Humans are inherently greedy, they will make as much money as possible at what ever expense that it costs them. We do not live in a Utopia world where everyone cares about the well being of everyone else. This is the reality.

I am tired of the environmental movement using Canada like a punching bag as the destroyers of the planet. This country does everything possible to protect the environment. Your argument that this is because of the environmental movement is partially true. It regulates how resource development is done, how the land is reclaimed after it is used and seeks consultation with stakeholders, I doubt this happens in places like China when it is considering mining rare earth elements. We allow people to come from all over the world to see how we do things, we are rewarded for our transparency with protests. If you tried this in many other countries you would be arrested (if you were allowed in). This country spends a great deal to innovate to reduce the impact of resource development on the environment. Yet the environmental movement give us no credit for our efforts. If Canada were to stop producing the oil sands do you really think that the 0.02% of GHGs it produces would have any impact globally? We are responsible for about 1.6% of the global GHG emissions, would that have any impact globally if that were to cease. And in the doing this our economy would be devastated, our world leading lifestyle would not exist. Instead we share our technology to help other countries. We would not be able to give freely this foreign aid because we would not have the resources to support ourselves. Instead of crapping on Canada, the oil sands and other resource development, you need to focus your efforts in your own country, you are responsible 15% of the global GHGs.

As far as the mainstream media not cover you that is certainly not true here in Canada. 20 show up to protest some environmental issue and you have more media than you have protestors. They do not cover the good that the resource industry does. As an example few people know anything about the co-generation facilities in the oil sands for SAGD operations that are being expanded so that the excess power can be dumped into the grid (since the current government here is going to close the coal-fired electrical plants), nor do they know about all the environmental work that these “evil fossil-fuel” companies do. The coverage Standing Rock has gotten is not insignificant. However, the mess the protestors left behind surely does not help your cause. It is not enough to protest, look at you own carbon foot-print (lots of on line calculators out there) one airline flight can almost double your footprint. Celebrities jet around, live in houses that are thousands of sq. ft, often have more than one home.

Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.

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