I got it.

In light of the amazing protest that went down in Washington over the weekend, where 12,000 people came from all over the country to link hands together in a giant circle of love and solidarity around the Whitehouse, urging President Obama to get serious about climate change by blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, I thought I would share some thoughts on the issue in Alberta, where I live.

Here in Alberta, at the very heart of the debate, the very place where that oil will be pulled from the sand if that pipeline gets built – news of these protests is stirring media and politicians into action. Here is what I saw and heard yesterday:


Walking to the bus stop in the morning, listening to CBC radio on my iPod.

A business panel is questioned on the impact to Alberta if Keystone XL is blocked.

The panel agrees – if it is blocked Alberta will push for the Northern Gateway pipeline, the one to the Pacific, the one that will put the oil on boats to Asia.

Conceding that there is also immense opposition to that pipeline, one of the panel guests states that only people who live along that pipeline should have a say.

A national pipeline that ships to international markets,  creating global harm through climate change, and only a small set of people should have a say?

I don’t get it.


Walking to the library at lunchtime, listening to CBC radio on my iPod.

They have a guest who has just been appointed as Alberta’s ambassador to Washington.

He is going there with the Premier on Monday to advocate for Alberta’s oil sands and Keystone XL.

He keeps calling it safe, secure and sustainable. He doesn’t mention climate change.

I don’t get it.


Sitting in a café at lunchtime, reading the paper. The headline reads:

World needs oil sands: report

The article describes how environmental worries are set to clash with growing global demand.  The International Energy Association predicts that using carbon intensive oil will lead to a 3.5 C rise in temperatures, which is above the maximum of 2 C that will stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Ironically, the next headline right below reads:

Snowless season drifts into record books

I guess it we have always had snow in Edmonton by this time of year, for over a hundred years, since they started keeping records, since Edmonton even existed.  Snow.  By now.

I guess the warmer temperatures are starting to catch up.

I don’t get it.


Out walking at lunchtime, I notice a cool little building called the Reuse Centre.

I walk inside. There are bins everywhere, filled with stuff.

Paper, ribbons, binders, picture frames.

Ice cream pails, maps, greeting cards, buttons.

Books, DVDs, pine cones. Scissors, seashells, carpet.

I walk up to the guy at the desk. “How does this work?” I ask.

“You pay $5 and then take as much as you want”, he answers.

“Is this run by the City?”

“Yes, it is part of the Waste Management Branch”.

So cool.

I get it.


So the debate rages on, and we are all left wondering what will happen. Will America hook up to Alberta’s oil, and put it into the sky? Will Asia?

How will we get out of this mess?

Well, never underestimate the power of people. People are making changes, people are going to places like the Reuse Centre, people are thinking about eating locally, people are Occupying their cities and questioning the wisdom of letting corporations influence so much government policy.  People are talking.  Issues are being brought to light. Some people are starting to scratch their heads. Why are we doing what we are doing?

As long as that continues, we will get out. We are on our way. We are starting to wake up. We need to keep talking about it so that others wake up too.

Okay.  I got it.

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7 thoughts on “I got it.

  1. Do you ever wonder if people (like those sitting on the business panel, and the ambassador to Washington) actually believe the BS they’re spouting, or know that it’s BS but just don’t care?

    Anyway, I’m tired, too, of waiting for those in power to change their ways. We can get more accomplished by raising awareness in our own communities so that our collective voice is stronger. Great post!

    • I do wonder that a lot. If they don’t believe the BS their spouting, how can they live with themselves? Maybe they honestly just don’t know. Or maybe they are in denial, as it is easier to pretend it is not happening than to do something about it. Or maybe they rationalize it to themselves in some way, like “China is worse than us” or whatever.

      Given that Obama sent it BACK to the US State department for an environmental review of both the Nebraska acquifer AND climate change, I think he gets it.

      He just needs to be reminded that he has a broad base of support for that decision, both in the US and in Canada.

  2. This is the first I’ve heard of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. It’s true, the world is getting more and more desperate to have that oil. The only way to mitigate this is to pursue alternative energy and reduce personal energy consumption.

    That Reuse Centre is so cool. I want my city to start one!

    I got it.

    • The Reuse Centre is very cool. I have decided to make some of my Christmas presents with recycled materials this year, so I will be stopping by soon for some stuff to reuse!

      Northern Gateway – big problem yes, as 1) we don’t have the US opposition to that one, as it is all within Canada and 2) it opens up more chance for oil spills off BC’s coast and 3) the no-brainer, climate change. Plus they are just destroying the land up there in northern Alberta and this will hasten the demise. Seriously.

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