On the Promise of Wealth and Selling our Environmental Riches

By Thomas Trappenberg, PhD, Leader, Green Party of Nova Scotia

I listened to Premier Rachel Notley’s strong words yesterday on the radio, and I agree with her that we need a strong leadership. I also understand that the oil industry is currently a strong component of Alberta’s (and hence Canada’s) industry. Where I don’t agree is that this should be the status quo. I do believe it is now time to turn to our future industry in which our kids will thrive; I do believe we should stop making a quick buck on the future of our planet; I do believe that we should listen to the wisdom of our native elders; and I do believe that it is time to give our young entrepreneurs a chance instead of feeding the rich.

In Nova Scotia there is now a new campaign to imply the potential for carbon riches. The federal government approved new drilling off our coast, and we are told that there is lots of potential for fracking here. I do understand how people get excited by this dream of wealth; also, it is easy to be taken by the scare that losing this industry would kill our economy. It is difficult to argue against the powerful lobbies in our society. However, I believe that a government is there to watch out for all of us. I know know the other parties believe that they do their best by helping the big industry. However, and quite frankly, I question their abilities to see the bigger picture.

I believe we should not just think about the current jobs of a dying industry; instead, we need to think about the new jobs they prevent and the opportunities for people outside the lucky 1%. Other economies, specifically in the north of Europe which have climates and population densities similar to Canada, have been turning around their fortunes by moving away from the carbon economy and embracing a vision of a healthy society. Selling out our environmental riches for a bargain price to the pulp industry while poisoning our citizens is wrong. I came to Nova Scotia because I believe it is one of the best places to live, and I will not give up the fight for this to continue to be true for all.

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