We Need to Stop Being Used as Pawns by Big Business

natural resource useIs there one type of natural resource use that’s better than the other? This is the kind of question that riles people up on social media and pits one person against another, but to what end?

If we step back just a minute from the disturbing image at the top of the composite image on the left, we’ll see what we’re talking about is natural resource use and that one industry is vying for your support for their natural resource exploitation over another industry. Bottom line is that all industries need to reevaluate their natural resource use figure out how to have less impact on the earth.

In Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything, she talks about industries, such as the tar sands in Alberta, being considered sacrifice zones – places where the environment is ruined – so that a product can be extracted, produced delivered, in this case oil.

Alberta tar sands

Alberta tar sands

Alberta Oil sands

Alberta Oil sands

The image on the bottom half of the composite is the most benign image of the tar sands I’ve ever seen. If you watch This Changes Everything the movie, you’ll see horrific images, more along the lines of the two on the right.

oilsand_sizeHow big is the area does the oil sands occupy you might ask? 140,000 square kilometers. Wow! Is the Alberta tar sands/oilsands/the energy industry trying to manipulate you? Yes. Clearly they’d like you to help them pick a fight with the electric car industry (they’re not innocent either, but we need to stop being used as pawns).

Companies make big profits by exploiting our natural resources, without paying for them and not being held responsible for cleaning up any pollution or obliterating ecosystems. The earth is one big ecosystem – it needs all its parts to work well. Our human idea of compartmentalizing sacrifice zones as if water doesn’t travel downhill, as if air doesn’t move as if the earth was neatly sectioned off into cubicles – we’re smarter than that. Even if we’ve forgotten all of our high school science, we can see that clouds move around, know that water moves in streams. And, if we really think about it, we’re polluting or removing the very things the earth uses to clean our air and water: clean, healthy soil, organic matter and trees.

The point is not to compare one destruction of the environment with another. It is to understand that all destruction of the natural world reduces us – it’s our most precious resource – not only is it beautiful but it’s our life support system.

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