From the top, I’d like to say that I believe climate change is the greatest test facing mankind since the atomic bomb was invented. I believe we all have to tighten our belts and change our ways, and quickly, too. But there are economic realities that we have to take into account. The Kinder Morgan expansion is a good example. There is no sense in shooting ourselves in the economic foot in an attempt to bring a global disaster to a screeching halt singlehandedly. Any general will tell you that an orderly retreat is the only way to salvage a losing battle. Attempt anything quicker and you invite chaos, during which the situation will get worse, not better.
So when I hear the simplistic arguments on the Kinder Morgan protest line, I have to shake my head. If you’re really trying to persuade people whose lifestyle, occupation and sole source of income depends on the opposing argument, then coming across as naïve, insensitive and domineering may make you feel all warm inside, but it isn’t going to achieve the main objective, which is a unified, practical, and plausible solution to climate change.
A Lesson from Ancient History
You know, there’s an old technique for dealing with mobs of people intent on mischief, and I’d love to get the chance to try it out on one of the groups protesting the Kinder Morgan expansion. It goes like this:
“Okay, folks, I have some questions for you. You say your objective is to stop the use of fossil fuels and cure climate change. Very righteous. But are you achieving that? Try to answer honestly, now.
Who came here in your own personal vehicle? If you did, go home. You haven’t earned the right to voice an opinion on fossil fuel use. Carpooling doesn’t cut it, either.
Who came in public transport? If you did, go home. Many of the Translink buses run by diesel, and you know where that came from.
Check the labels on your clothes. Cotton? Wool? Leather? Welcome, brothers and sisters, although the cows that made the leather… Everyone in polyester, nylon, etc., take it off or go home.
Who knows how much extra danger the increase in tanker traffic is going to make to the Southern Resident Orcas? Don’t even bother to think about it. Just go home. Three hundred more ships a year make a drop in the bucket compared to the steadily increasing shipping in the Salish Sea. Ludditism is not going to solve that one.
Who thinks John Horgan and the NDP support you? Sorry to tell you, folks, but no matter what it looks like, Horgan is just going through all the motions with his legal hi-jinx. He knows it’s out of his jurisdiction, but this way he can basically do nothing and get all sorts of Greenleaners to vote for his party because it looks like he’s trying so hard. Go home and learn some politics.
And while we’re talking about politics, who thinks Justin Trudeau is going to listen to you because he’s afraid to lose seats in B. C.? Do you know what the whole rest of Canada thinks about your protest?
Here’s how this protest looks to everyone east of Medicine Hat. They think the Albertans are selfish twits because they don’t want to pay up for all the Canadian oil they’re lucky enough to be sitting on. And they think British Columbians are selfish twits because they’re holding up the process that would allow Canadians to make market prices on their oil and pay reasonable prices for gasoline. So by supporting the expansion, our dear Justin will make a whole lot more votes in the R of C than he’s going to lose in B. C. and Alberta because he’s tossed them away already.
Seven: and if there’s anybody still here and you think it’s democratic to let everyone have his or her say, but you’re the only ones that are really right…
There’s a fine line between democratic protest and fascism. People on both edges of the political spectrum are prone to I-know-betterism; take a look in the mirror.
Then keep on protesting. That’s right and good. But being all holier-than-thou about it isn’t persuading anyone. Did it ever occur to you that you might be just the tiniest bit overdoing it?