The View From Here – According to environmentalist activist Tzeporah Berman “oil is passé.”

Tom Henihan

For those unfamiliar with Tzeporah Berman she is an adjunct professor at York University, was at one time appointed by Premier Notley as an environmentalist to an oil sands advisory group and is the program director of Stand.Earth.

On its website, Stand.Earth says that it “designs and implements strategies that make protecting our planet everyone’s business. Our current campaigns focus on shifting corporate behavior, breaking the human addiction to fossil fuels, and developing the leadership required to catalyze long-term change.”

Humans are not addicted to fossil fuels we are reliant on them, which is a very different moral, social and economic reality.

In straight terms, Stand.Earth’s mission is to bully the oil industry and sabotage pipeline expansion.

Recently, at a teachers convention in Edmonton, Berman and Premier Rachel Notley delivered speeches at a teachers convention, addressing teachers of social, environmental and Indigenous studies.

Berman and Notley offered opposing views on the development of the oil industry and the merits of projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion and further development of the Oilsands.

Berman painted a picture of an industry diminishing in importance and decried any idea of pipeline expansion or further Oilsands development.

Premier Notley defended the pipeline expansion and oil and gas industry development, seeing development as essential to keeping people working and as a means of paying for the gradual but inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

In typical environmentalist form, Berman is intransigent on oil patch and pipeline expansion, saying we don’t have to go backwards in order to progress.

Premier Notley’s reasoning is that Alberta needs more oil revenue to invest in projects that will employ those displaced by the ultimate decline in demand for oil and gas and other fossil fuels, which in the more immediate future would be people working in the coal industry.

However, behaving petulantly, environmentalists want everything their way and they want it today. Their only vision for the future is “the end is nigh,” scenario without offering any feasible alternatives to fossil fuel.

Organizations such as Stand.Earth offer alternatives that are, for the moment at least, completely unrealistic. Solar and wind energy are not going to replace fossil fuels in any significant way for a long time to come. A fact the environmental movement refuses to accept.

If Berman was unable to put gas in her car, book a flight or take the train, she would quickly learn that oil is anything but passé.

Moving away from fossil fuels is necessary but it takes a reasoned, responsible and forward looking approach and, as Premier Notley rightly suggests, the oil industry has a pivotal role to play in that transition.

In her speech, Berman said the time had come to act on climate change as temperatures are rising and people around the world are being displaced by storms, flooding and other natural disasters.

But individuals and industry are already acting to protect the environment, but not as quickly and recklessly as the eco warriors would like.

So, the environmental movement resorts to pointlessly sabotaging Alberta’s oil industry, putting people out of work and deems this negative campaign progressive.

As Notley pointed out: “Maybe on Salt Spring Island you can build an economy on condos and coffee shops, but not in Edmonton and not anywhere in Alberta…” and later added the very quotable phrase, ““Here in Alberta, we ride horses, not unicorns. I invite pipeline opponents to saddle up on something real.”


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