Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ultimately," she says, "I'm responsible for my own behavior."


Esquire has a long article about the Alberta Tar Sands which is a worthy weekend's reading.  As an introduction John Richardson, the author puts it rather plainly
In Canada, I learned that my entire approach to life is wrong. I tend to trust and believe in the responsible people who are fair-minded and try to see both sides of an issue. I disdain the Not-In-My-Backyard approach of people who only care about their own petty personal issues regardless of the larger good, and I harbored (from lots of reading and zero personal experience) a special secret disdain for Native Americans and First Canadians who try to stop oil trucks to defend some vanished Eden that ain't never coming back. I thought we should soberly consider all the facts — like the global need for oil to warm our houses, to drive to work — and find a reasonable balance.
I was wrong. Global warming turns all those assumptions on their heads. I thought about it throughout my reporting for "Keystone" — which I've been reflecting on all week here and which is now available online in full — from Fort McMurray in Alberta, where the pipeline begins and cannot be stopped, to Port Arthur, Texas, where the oilmen tell you the opposite of the scientists. And, turns out, the crazy people are the sane ones, and the sober, reasonable, responsible people are probably going to be the ones to destroy the world. If that's not the fking bitterest joke of all time, I don't know what is: The Great Destroyer isn't Hitler or Stalin or Mao; it's the Canadians — and all the sober little Canadians within us.
To save the world, we need to do a lot better than that. And get a lot crazier.

3 comments:

notjonathon said...

Eli, not only is this a depressing article, it's even more depressing that it doesn't even draw lengthy commentary.

Here we stand on the edge of the volcano, and, like Empedocles, think ourselves immortal--and to prove it, we're sure to jump.

Anonymous said...

The Keystone Mapping Project is an effort to provide more information for public review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. It documents efforts by TransCanada and the U.S. Dept. of State and Army Corps of Engineers to avoid public scrutiny of the route and its environmental and national security risks, in addition to the dire risks from the oil product that will be conveyed through the pipeline.

It's interesting that TransCanada and the State Dept. have said they can't reveal the exact pipeline route because of "national security" risks. The State Dept.'s approval of the project is supposed to be based on a determination that the pipeline's construction and operation would be in our nation's interest. Given the facts, it's difficult to construct a rationale that meets this standard--so why is the pipeline nearly a done deal?

Taylor B

JCH said...

Okay, it's just really hard to get past the part about the "sober" Canadians.