Thursday, 2 August 2012

Day 23, The Story of Change, Recycled Enbridge Letter to Min of Nat Resources Joe Oliver

Do I expect the Enbridge pipeline to continue? Absolutely.

But there's always a small chance enough people will voice their opinions against it here, and stand behind a government committed to finding better ways to support our population.

Have you seen The Story of Change yet?  It's from the same people as The Story of Stuff. They pull out the big guns for this one in a large call for a generally positive but undetermined future. Excellent image:

One of its messages is that a better future can't be made by buying greener/more ethical products (though it's a part of it), but by exercising our "citizen muscle" to change the game.

Today's (well, yesterday's) Letter
The previous letter is being re-used quite a bit for this letter to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Minister of Natural Resources is a paradoxical position to be in - how to best use our resources to support the planet. When to use, when to conserve?  

The Enbridge pipeline may create many jobs, but it makes more sense to use the precautionary principle - Canada should encourage investment in renewable energy and green jobs. Here are some of the main reasons why the pipeline shouldn't be built:

1)    Expense. Building the pipeline is a significant amount of money, and making it to a high safety standard will be cost prohibitive. At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee that there will be no spills or accidents. It’s not worth the costs required to make the margin smaller.

It makes far more fiscal sense to invest the money by increasing renewable energy, increasing the efficiency with which we use our energy, and investing in better infrastructure so that people are more likely to live close to home and are able to walk or bike to work. These new skill requirements will create a huge amount of jobs.

2)    Spills happen from time to time. The pipeline is often in more remote areas, which means workers have to work at a very high level of safety which is difficult and expensive. Renewable energy and energy conservation (if done well) is much safer, both for workers and the environment.

3)    Comparative advantage and foreign currency. Countries such as China are using solar panels and wind power at an increasing rate. If we work hard and become experts at creating renewable energy and energy efficiency or smart grid systems, we can still sell our products and expertise and gain money there.

4)    Global reputation. Investing in the pipeline will not make us popular internationally.  Everyone can benefit from what we learn if we invest in renewables and efficiency instead, even those with which we could have traded oil.  A few friends and a world of unhappiness, or a world where everyone appreciates and respects our protectiveness. 

5) Natural Resources, Tourism, and Canada's Identity. Canada (particularly BC) is famous for its natural resources. Most Canadians are proud of their wilderness, even if the majority of their contact is going to a friend's cottage once a year. Tourism generates a large amount of revenue and jobs, which would be at risk if there was a spill of some sort.

Thank you!

Sent to (yay, free postage!):
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone: 613-992-6361

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