Replacing fossil fuels requires planning

As I looked out our library window the other day, at the playground across the street, a city employee was cutting the grass.

That evening on the news, I heard Green Party Leader Elizabeth May tell Canadians that in a few short years, as existing oil supplies die out, there will be no more drilling, fracking, coal mining or any other form of fossil fuel extraction.

They make a battery big enough to run the mowers for a city our size, but I would hate to be in an airplane when the battery power runs out.

Although much has to be done to help the environment recover from more than 100 years of unbridled abuse, to hear a politician tell me that all greenhouse gas emissions will be stopped totally by the year 2050, makes me step back and wonder if someone’s elevator doesn’t quite make it to the top floor.

I can just see us going to visit our grandchildren on Vancouver Island by bicycle and rowboat. If we were truly to listen to such rhetoric, we would see every cow and every animal with an overabundance of flatulence killed because they are still one of the main contributors of these so-called harmful gases. Not to mention the verbal flatulence we are bombarded with every day.

Setting goals to change wasteful habits is a must, but a lot of issues have to be dealt with before we make such changes. Such as, what form of energy can we use to run our world that does not leave an enormous footprint?

Has anyone ever fully recognized the footprint left to make all the batteries we would need if we went totally electric? How do we environmentally dispose of many thousands of tons of used batteries?

What effect does pumping trillions of liters of unrecoverable fresh water into the ground to extract the last traces of oil have on our environment, especially when building a better pumping system would work as well?

There are more questions we need to tackle, and changes to be made, before we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

One of the issues that a lot of us were taught, and a lot of people ignored, was that before you quit one job, make sure you have one to replace it. Otherwise, you might face the prospect of not having a new job for a while; nor even the means to go and find one.

More than once folks that would come into the kitchen would lament having ignored that advice. That decision making is not restricted to just those on the street. I believe the same reasoning should apply to the changes we are facing in our energy sources.

At what point do we start thinking outside the box? Or do we continue to take all of our eggs out of one basket and force them into another?

Vote collecting should never be the reason for rigidly focusing on one idea over another. Doing so closes our mind to other, possibly better, options.

What if a political party made the following pitch: “We know that fossil fuels were the engine that drove Canada’s economy for many years, but the evidence points to the fact that we need to stop using them. In the interest of keeping our economy growing, let’s continue to generate and use oil revenues to diligently seek alternative options for energy.

“We ignored the warnings from 40 or 50 years ago, so let’s do our best not to do so again. If we do that, maybe, just maybe, we can eliminate fossil fuels by 2050, but only if we do not spend the revenues to generate more votes.”

There are solutions out there, but we need leadership to put Canada’s future ahead of political gains.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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