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Photo credit: huffingtonpost.ca

Photo credit: huffingtonpost.ca

RECENTLY MUSICIAN, NEIL YOUNG finished off his Honour the Treaties Concert Tour  in Calgary to support First Nations people in their legal fight with the Government.

Reactions in Alberta have ranged from how Young didn’t have the correct information to “he’s a musician and should just stick with what he knows.”

And don’t get me started on the comments about Young riding around on his tour bus. I’m sick of that being the go-to response  anytime somebody questions the affects of the oil and gas industry on our environment! What other alternative is there?

Various news media assure the world that most Canadians are in favour of the oil sands. What? Just because you report this, doesn’t make it true! Say it is so and it will be so?

Other messages inform us that the oil sands are only responsible for 1 part in (insert rather large number)  of toxic emissions in the world. It kinda sounds like an addict when he defends his addiction by saying, “I’m not as bad as that guy,” doesn’t it?

The point is, critics insinuated that Young should leave this subject to those who have been educated in this area and know what they’re doing.

Wait one fracking minute…

Does that mean Young’s opinion is null and void? So what if he got a few of the details wrong, anybody with eyes in their head can see that the oil sands are not good for the environment. Last time I looked, I was in Canada and I’m pretty sure that in Canada we are entitled to our opinions and have the right to express them.

If I’m to be honest, I’m nervous about the oil sands too. I’m scared about a pipeline in BC. I don’t know what that will mean to the environment, for migrating herds, for the food we eat. I can’t help but wonder if my great-grandchildren will ever see the glorious wonders I see today. And I’ll tell you something else – I bet I’m not the only one who is concerned!

I’m not totally naive though. I know we can’t just shut it all down. Can you imagine how that would affect our economy? The job loss would be horrendous; everyone from gas station employees to factory workers who manufacture gadgets made from oil byproducts would be affected.

But I do have some questions I think we should be asking ourselves. We know that there is a finite supply of oil in the world, right? One day we’ll have to look at alternatives, won’t we? Why aren’t we doing that in a more intentional way now? Why don’t we put at least as much  money as we pump into the oil sands into looking at alternative renewable energy sources? From a business perspective doesn’t doing this sooner rather than later make sense?

I say kudos to Neil for acting on his convictions and using his celebrity status to do so!

Let’s not pretend we are not damaging our environment. Let’s also agree it doesn’t make economic sense to shut it all down right now without a plan B. And concurrently, dear provincial and federal governments, put at least the same amount of effort into finding an alternative renewable energy source as you do with the oil and gas industry.

That’s what I think. If that puts me on the same tour bus as Neil, so be it.