Alberta at a Crossroads
Conference meant to address the flood, debts and the pipeline, but actually proved to be a “pro-business collaborative”
An evening discussion in the EA building on Oct. 22 — which was advertised to be on the topics of: floods, debts, and pipelines — proved to be more of a pro-business collaborative with many mentions of taxation improvements.
Alberta at a Crossroads featured panel discussions on toll roads, consumption taxes, better Albertan fiscal planning and improved trade relations with an interested Asian energy market.
Yet, little was mentioned of the Alberta floods from last June, and the potential long-term effects on Alberta.
The pipeline subject was only touched upon with a general sense of pro-industry, pro-profit and pro-development in the air.
One of the panelists captured the essence of the evenings with the saying, “dance with the girl who brought you here”, in reference to tar sands development.
I guess it is not a surprise that the powers that be will not lead the revolution any time soon.
At least Deborah Yedlin did express her dissatisfaction with the recent budget cuts to education in some detail clearly stating that education is a priority and that 50 kids in a high school classroom is too many.
She added the seven per cent post-secondary cuts was a blunder by our current regime.
Each panelist saw education as the key to the future of a successful Alberta, however little direction was offered upon which direction(s) to take going forward.
While our energy sector was realized to not be infinite, the only clear idea to educational opportunity was to enhance our energy literacy…or develop our language to develop industrially.
Now, I’m not completely naive. Clearly, Alberta has become what we are today, thanks to the energy sector — including high emission energy.
Combined with the current world economic situation, it is difficult to possibly reject further development.
The question that I am curious to have answered is: is there a point in time when it is simply unethical to continue this high footprint energy development?
The world’s scientific community: the group of the most educated people on earth who happen agree that climate change is a product of greenhouse gases and that this weather alteration has the potential to unleash devastating effects on crop predictability, forest fire frequency and intensity, uncharacteristically large weather anomalies, jet stream alteration (Alberta flooding), and rising sea levels (where a great percentage of earthlings subside).
But, does there come a point in time when we cannot justify this development at any cost?
Again, I’m no saint. Rather than eating green beans, and rollerblading through the winter to my meditations I eat meat, own a car (which I drive to hockey) and was raised on Alberta oil money.
This issue is not an us versus them issue. It is an us needing all of us issue requiring a different lifestyle than that which we have been accustomed to.
Would you give up a few of your current behaviors to avert a global climate disaster?
I certainly would and do pursue such changes daily. Some believe it is the responsibility of developing nations to lead the way on renewable energy sources and modified consumption behaviors; I believe that leadership should come from all sources.
We have the opportunity to cultivate cutting edge (green) technology, develop education strategies for the future and discover new societal practices and behaviors that are healthy and require less energy inputs.
Only by committing to these ideals mentally and fiscally, will we be able to lead the world into a new and dynamic lifestyle and economy.