Tanker dependence

Page A9 of The NEWS, July 24 had a  headline ‘Tanker on the beach’. I wondered if an oil tanker had dramatically run aground, but it turned out to be another submitted article from Communities to Protect Our Coast (CPOC).

Sherri Plummer reported that on July 1 their members decided to hold up a piece of rope depicting the length and beam of a supertanker, a protest against such vessels loading in B.C. waters. Everyone has a right to celebrate Canada Day how they see fit; hopefully, these Anti-Tankerista-Brigadeers (ATBs) didn’t spoil the enjoyment of others on Parksville Beach marking our country’s 147th birthday.

I’m sure that Plummer’s group, along with other ATBs, are well-meaning folks; though many blindly follow those politicians and activists who spread around exaggerated words of panic, doom and gloom whenever tanker safety is mentioned. The world’s economies revolve around the use of oil as a major source of energy, and while there have been slow but sure advances to find alternative power sources, we are still many decades away from having oil replaced.

Let’s reflect the huge part oil played in this year’s Canada Day celebrations; chances are, most folks made their way to Parksville beach in gasoline-powered vehicles, the interiors of which contained many plastic parts derived from oil. Those who came by bicycle had many plastic parts on their bikes, and tires of all vehicles contain derivatives of oil. The plastic in shoes they wore, bags they carried, their polyester or nylon clothes and swimsuits, plastic lunch boxes, plastic spoons and forks, plastic soft drink bottles, plastic cups they drank from, even the plastic bags sandwiches were wrapped in, all started life as a form of oil; as did some of the hand and body lotions used on the beach. Simply put, we are so dependent on oil to engage in this foolhardy game of shunning the vessels that play such an important part in our everyday existence, and will do for many years to come. Ironically, the rope that was held aloft depicting the tanker was probably made of polypropylene, a derivative of oil.

I certainly will never see alternative energy overtake oil in my lifetime, although some of the very young children in the protest may witness that in their very senior years. I’m pretty sure Plummer will not outlive dependence on oil, being carried safely around the world by the tankers she chooses to defame.

Bernie Smith



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