Ideas and thoughts flowed freely as the most recent Philosophers Cafe at Red Deer College touched on the pertinent issue of the energy sector, economics and the environment.
A group of about 10 people expressed their point of view at the session on Tuesday. The cafes are held six times a year and the discussion on the topic of the day is meant to be open, meaningful and respectful.
Leading the discussion, nestled into the north nook of the Red Deer College Library, was Kevin Henry, who worked in the energy sector and blogs about the topic.
He started the discussion by focusing on the Keystone XL Pipeline that is awaiting federal approval in the U.S.
He was certain the pipeline would be approved and spoke about the economic impact it could have, as well as the socio-environmental repercussions.
“I think what needs to happen more is more transparency and more truths that most of us don’t want to accept,” said Henry.
“What actually goes on to make the oil and give us the lifestyle.”
The idea of long-term decisions and foresight was a hot topic. As the proliferation of Alberta oil to U.S. refineries continues the question of sustainability, both economic and social, is raised.
“When you have that change of volume it affects everything,” said Guillermo Barron, a RDC philosophy instructor.
The Keystone pipeline will, if approved connect Alberta’s oil sands with large refineries in the U.S. so they can be processed.
Henry pointed to the development of the eco-industrial business park in Edmonton, which focuses on oil and gas related processes, petrochemical manufacturing and transloading facilities and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, which just opened up a $400-million trades and technology complex, with significant support from oil companies.
Henry said, by 2020, Canada and Alberta will be positioned among the top tier of international oil producers in terms of production and volume.
“We have a real chance of being number three or number two within the next six to eight years,” said Henry. “Once people get to that stage, they shoot for number one.”