The proof of effort

April 20, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Earth Day is this weekend, and I hope a large number of people in every town and city will be calling on Doug Ford and like-minded leaders to abandon their antiquated ideas of churning up irreplaceable and fertile conservation lands and wetlands to build houses for the rich, of building unnecessary highways, of depleting our supply of democracy.

Canada, Sweden, and other northern nations are also antiquated in giving licenses to oil companies and deep-sea mining companies to explore the ocean depths for oil and minerals for cell phones.

It’s over, all over. Technology is making oil and gas and other noxious fuels and harmful enterprises obsolete. The new world is more and more run on wind and solar. The charm and economic good sense of warming houses by geothermal – warmth from the earth itself. Harmless to the earth unless we are digging up farmlands and vulnerable wild lands for it, Mr. Ford, caverns under cities in much of the world, usually as a result of mining or other human activity, are being converted to sources of warmth for the homes above them.

This year will see the tipping point of renewable energy over fossil fuels. All those stinking, nightmarish tailing ponds killing off the birds who mistakenly land in them, poisoning the land in which they lay – damn it – the whole critical mess. Police must quit putting people in jail for protesting and trying to stop more pipelines being dug in to run more bitumen from the horrors of the tar sands. Those proposed pipelines running under and across the sovereign lands of Wet’suwet’en are a waste of money, of indignity, of illegitimate punishment.

They are ancient history in the story of humanity trying to heal the planet of that ancient history while others are crazily trying to retain it.

It is over! Long since time to shut it all down and begin the heavy work of repair and whatever healing can take place over the next century or two.

This is no longer a fairy tale told at night by a wistful parent to the child who suffers from a terrible lung disease caused by a polluted world. No, the time is now, here and now, 2023.

Because we are in the throes of the coming new world, the Star Trek world of clean energy, clean air, and efficient modes of clean transport. (No signs of universal peace in those otherwise wonderful films – war is still the economy’s main engine – hate and racism can still dominate the concourse – sad pessimism for our long-term future).

Okay, okay, here is my source: back to the BBC but this information is undoubtedly repeated in other media:

Simon Sharpe, author of Five Times Faster, Rethinking the Science, Economics, and Diplomacy of Climate Change, compares this transition to the transition from horse-drawn vehicles to automobiles. How the latter were slower, unreliable, noisier, a toy for silly people until one day when more people wanted cars as they became efficient and faster than single or dual horsepower.

The fact is that solar and wind are less expensive than the dreadful fossil fuels. They still create plenty of jobs but in much less dangerous employment, better for the workers, better, cheaper, cleaner for everyone – check all the boxes. In fact, all renewable, truly organic, sustainable – all of it is worth trillions (no kidding) of dollars in savings.

The old ways, now all the evidence shows they are the worst ways, are dodos – they are completed outmoded – part of a dwindling industry that is clinging to the last vestiges of life while so much proof is against it. It is beyond reason that a government would support this dying trade at all with billions of our taxpayers’ money when every penny of that money could go into the future, which is now.

The only thing the oil companies should be doing now is packing it in, not laying pipelines, cleaning up the unimaginable filth, not adding to it.

Begging our forgiveness for allowing the harm to continue long after they knew exactly how bad it was. Will we forgive them? That depends on the intensity of their regret and how hard they will work in the effort to repair the damage, how much of their considerable wealth they will spend on the effort without looking to us to pay for it.

The walks this weekend must emphasize the damage Doug Ford is determined to do, of course, but the news of the tipping point toward sustainable energy that is the here and now ought to hear a hurray as well and give more power to protesting because now we can see it is possible.

Please walk this weekend, tomorrow, April 21, starting at the parking lot near 229 Broadway across from the Shell Station at 2:00 p.m. Or meet the march at the constituency office of Sylvia Jones, 180 Broadway or the final gathering outside the Orangeville Town Hall. 

Our leaders on every level always need to remember that our voices matter in the moment, in many ways as much as our votes do on election day.

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