OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Tina Olivero

    Energy Addiction: One Reason for Climate Change

    Climate change is the result of the rising temperature of the planet. It’s happening because populations are rising, pollution is rising and we have an insatiable appetite for agriculture and energy.

    Greenhouse gases, like methane, are produced through agricultural practices, including livestock manure. Others, like CO2, come from natural processes like respiration and from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas; all of which contribute to climate change.

    Climate change is partially a human appetite issue. We are not settling for a life of moderation. We don’t want to be normal, average or mediocre; we want two cars, ten trips, and who cares how many cows we eat and how much fuel we use.

    It’s convenient to blame the oil companies for global warming, but as everybody knows, blame is usually what happens when we refuse to look at ourselves. The reality is that most everyone on the planet is contributing to climate change by virtue of our unwillingness to live minimally and moderate consumption.

    OIL AND GAS

    The consideration of oil and gas as a valuable commodity has many angles of debate. Some believe oil and gas will be the primary source of energy for another 50 years and nothing will be more effective at meeting world energy demand. Others believe we should eliminate oil and gas for other cleaner sustainable fuel sources. Some think that the smartest thing we can do with oil and gas is to use it to bridge us to a new energy future.

    The thing about differing perspectives is that they all have merit, and rather than wasting time-fighting over disagreements, how about coming together and merging commonalities in the interest of a solid plan for the planet. What if we turned concerns into opportunities? Use opposition as a path to solutions. Create differences as a place to build new structures of unity. Sound a little too altruistic?

    Merging perspectives will most probably be the fastest, most economical way to create a new energy sustainable world. Think about it, we are globalizing. We need to think global. What affects one affects all. Now that’s a conversation worth having.

    It’s the oil and gas industry that has catapulted us into the industrial era and modernized our world. The industrial era gave way to the new digital economy we now have. All come with progress and with a price.

    It’s easy to see that with every advance of humankind, there is an opposing negative impact as well. While cars are one of our most significant advances in human history there are still impacts and failures with cars. People die in car accidents every day, and the environmental impact of vehicles is unprecedented. But we don’t stop driving our cars; we progress and mitigate risk. That’s also true of the oil and gas industry. We don’t stop oil and gas production; we continue while we mitigate risks and utilize it to bring in new energy like wind, solar, geothermal and more.

    Oil is the foundation of our world. It’s the most sought-after commodity on the planet because it is in everything we have and do. From the phone in your hand to the gas in your car, to the clothes on your back. The petroleum industry saturates it all.

    As an energy nation, our focus has to be on a safe environment and people. The oil and gas industry in Canada is already extremely good at that. Canadian oil companies and their subcontractors in the offshore oil industry are among the top environmental and safety stewards in the world. That is a fact.

    We have insurance to protect us from car accidents knowing there will be accidents. We need to have that same level of knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of the oil and gas industry and its operations and limitations. Otherwise, we are working against ourselves, trying to eliminate oil and gas; that which sustains us and our current way of life.

    Canada’s the world’s 4th largest producer of oil. Because of oil and gas, we have enjoyed prosperous economic conditions and oil and gas has been the foundation of Canada’s economy.

    What happens to our entire economic system if we take that down? Have we thought it all through? The world won’t work without oil and gas. Canada won’t work without oil and gas.

    You only have to look at the last 32 months in Canada to see the results of the oil price collapse. 40,000 + job layoffs meant a socioeconomic impact that was unprecedented and staggering. People need purpose and focus in life, and the oil and gas industry, directly and indirectly, has been a strong foundation for many Canadians in this regard.

    We don’t want to lose the strong foundation that oil and gas provides, and end up with extreme societal problems that affect each of us right here at home. Impacts like cuts in education, health, and other social programs. Socioeconomic impacts like a rise in addiction, spousal abuse, suicide, and mental illness, all of which we have seen on the rise in the last few years across Canada, especially in oil and gas regions. Is that a coincidence?

    What’s Canada worth without oil? How can we even think about getting to new energy without oil? The reality is, there is no new energy without the support of oil and gas. We need to be educated, share information, elevate our youth and utilize current media as a channel for progress and unified growth. The answers begin there…

    Like it or not, life’s comforts always come with some setbacks. Sometimes environmental and in extreme cases, just like car accidents, sadly the loss of life. That will also occur in the new energy regimes as well. There will be an environmental impact with clean energy as there is with other industrial sectors.

    Let’s drop the finger pointing and be pro-active with an all-inclusive new energy mix, one that unites differing perspectives and solves the challenges of the day – those most pressing like climate change. It starts with listening to each other and being open to many views. It’s an inclusive model.

    What we know for sure is that oil and gas companies will be world leaders in building a new energy future. They have the funds to do so. They are in the energy business and will continue by adapting new innovation and technology with the times. Collaboration, information sharing, digitalization and advances in technology will all play a part in creating the future of energy so let us elevate each other in the name of progress.

    Nature didn’t make geographical boundaries, mankind did that! So let’s take down those boundaries and think on behalf of the planet. Think without; walls, separation, country boundaries and without judgement of differing nations.

    All the answers are in nature, look to her to find our way.

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