Opinion

EDITORIAL: Better energy?

Hey Santa, got any good energy solutions in that bag of yours?

How long have humans been burning coal and oil? Too long, we figure. We were burning coal and oil before there were rotary phones, for crying out loud.

Surely, we’re better, smarter, aren’t we?

This is the first thing we thought about when we saw Thursday the National Energy Board gave its approval — with a long list of conditions — to the contentious Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

We think it’s important to note we’re not certain oil will flow any time soon from Alberta to B.C. North Coast to be loaded on tankers. The list of conditions from the NEB is long, and both First Nations and the courts have not had their final say.

We are not going to work this keyboard made from some kind of oil byproduct and pontificate about the evils of oil production. One can’t look very far from one’s immediate surroundings without seeing something useful that makes use of oil.

And right now, we cannot power all of our vehicles — the ones that deliver both us and supplies — with the power of the sun or the wind. We need oil. A large supply of it, every day. And that’s why we should be ashamed.

No one who protests everything related to oil can say they are free of oil. We have seen supposed environmentalists climb out of their SUVs with their anti-everything signs on the way to one protest or another, use a cell phone made with oil, wear clothes made with oil.

It’s possible our society will not spend the billions needed to develop alternative energy sources (to an affordable level) until we are told one day there’s less than 18 months of fossil fuels left inside our planet. We are told that day will come, but no one has a fix on the date, no one has a gauge that says we only have this many millions of barrels remaining.

Sure, we don’t like the idea of more oil and coal tankers cruising the beautiful and environmentally-sensitive B.C. coast. Not one bit.

Instead of yelling at each other and putting on the airs of superiority channeled by both oil producers and supposed environmentalists, why not work together so we’re buying less potentially-harmful, energy-producing products from companies like Enbridge for the same price or less that we are paying for oil. Profit and environmental responsibility need not be mutually exclusive terms.

— Editorial by John Harding

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