Lately, I’ve found myself frustrated with how Alberta’s oil industry is being treated. As an environmentally conscious person, I never thought I would be defending the oil industry, but here I am.
I believe there’s a higher probability of two missiles spontaneously transforming into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias; than our federal government doing anything useful or pragmatic in support of the environment or industry.
Since I have zero faith in government motives or environmental leadership, I have always tried to do my part to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Environmentally speaking, I believe our current choices boil down to getting comfortable with global apocalypse scenarios, or stepping up and taking action as individuals and small business owners.
Protests Are Good, But Panic Is Unconstructive
As a person of conscience, I’m encouraged to see the swell of interest in protecting our planet from human ignorance and mismanagement.
However, while I’m encouraged to see people demanding change, I’m concerned about the vilification of Canada’s oil industry. We’re getting emotional versus focusing on practical solutions. The attacks appear to be politically motivated destabilisation tactics, rather than legitimate environmental leadership.
Rather than vilify an industry that’s vital to our national security and our day to day lives, we need to focus on actionable change. What can people act upon now? There are so many practical things we can do to reduce our carbon and ecological footprint, without letting our politically motivated so-called leaders mess things up further.
Don’t Buy Over Seas Oil
Let’s be honest. Not producing oil in Canada does not mean we’re going to stop using it any time soon. All it means is we buy it from other countries. The resistance to pipelines is entirely political, hypocritical as hell and economic stupidity.
The last thing I want to do is buy oil from or send money to the most corrupt and socially repressive regimes on the planet. I’d much rather buy ethical Canadian petroleum products, preferably that we refine here in Canada. Then at least the money stays here and supports our environmental and social change initiatives. We also need to make sure the risks and impacts are mitigated.
We’ll Get Off Oil By Curbing Consumption
I would love to see us transition off oil. I already own a Prius, and I can’t wait to buy an ethically built electric vehicle. But we need viable alternatives to be widely available before we can realistically ween ourselves off of oil.
We’ve barely got a functional electric charging network in place and we’re still mired in the politics. Rather than vilify the only functional option, how about we champion innovation and regulatory reform? We need functional solutions that don’t make the problem worse before we have a hope of getting off oil. In the interim, buying oil from the most ethical suppliers (The Alberta Oil Industry) only makes sense.
How To Make A Real Difference
Protesting and voting with your conscience are great places to start. However, if you want to make a real difference, right now; look to your own behaviours and make changes there first.
Once you start, you’ll find there are dozens of ways you can make a difference. After you’ve educated yourself and learned a few practical lessons, you can be a role model for others to follow. With billions of individuals on this planet, it’s up to each of us to be the change we seek.
Here’s A List Of Things To Consider
Start with small changes. Then expand your efforts to see how far you can go. Try on some of these progressively challenging ideas.
Very Easy Habit Changes
- Take an interest in conservation, learn about the environment, and how to protect it.
- Use your recycling and compost bins daily.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Bring a reusable water bottle with you.
- Carry a reusable mug to fill at fast food stores.
- Use reusable or compostable bags at the grocery store.
- Buy recycled paper and avoid products from virgin forests.
- Use natural pesticides like diatomaceous earth, garlic and pepper sprays in your yard.
- Capture rainwater to use in your garden.
- Find opportunities to work from home or telecommute.
- Ride a bike or take the train when possible.
- Buy locally produced products and foods, when available.
- Eat more foods that are lower down the food chain.
- Try to buy products in paper and glass containers, rather than plastic ones.
- Buy products with minimal and recyclable packaging.
Time Investments – Activism & Ethical Consumption
- Lobby your provincial government to reform regulations that support green spaces, habitat protection and conservation.
- Lobby your city and provincial / state governments to sponsor incentive programs in support of energy efficiency, recycling and other green programs.
- Lobby for regional plastics recycling plants
- Get to know which brands are ethical producers and support them.
- Publically call out unethical brands online with negative reviews and posts.
- Stop buying products from countries with terrible social and environmental policies and encourage your social media followers to do the same.
- Voice your opposition to big pesticide companies before the birds and bees are gone.
- Stop spending your tourism dollars in countries with terrible environmental policies. Make sure to let them know why you’re boycotting them.
- Write posts and articles, exposing how your member of Parliament votes.
- Support environmental lobby groups and eco-trusts who buy and actually protect habitat.
- Lobby your government and favourite brands to abandon single-use plastics.
- Vilify Quebec for dumping raw sewage into their waterways.
- Vilify BC for cutting old-growth forests and mismanaging Salmon stocks.
- Learn about the scourge of Biomass Generation and lobby against it.
Longer-Term Financial Investments
- Install LED lights throughout your home.
- Switch to low flow toilets, showerheads and faucets.
- Install more or better insulation in your attic.
- Fix things, buy used and refurbished products vs always buying new.
- Plant a garden to support local pollinators.
- Plant trees and shrubs in your yard.
- Upgrade your old polluting lawnmower and yard equipment.
- Drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle or a hybrid / electric vehicle.
- Install high-efficiency windows with triple-pane glass.
- Install a high-efficiency furnace, hot water heater and major appliances.
While each of these incremental changes might seem small on its own, the cumulative effect can be significant. You’ll also save money on your gas and utility bills. If you inspire others to follow your lead, you can magnify your efforts further.
Don’t Be An Environmental Hypocrite
Remember, shifts in consumer demand and consumption patterns drive real change. Producers and manufacturers have little incentive to change their practices until consumers demand them to.
I’m not suggesting you stop voting and protesting. Just don’t be an uninformed sheeple or a hypocrite. Educate yourself. Make sure you’re voting and protesting intelligently. Don’t become an unwitting pawn in a foreign destabilisation agenda.
Keep in mind that change is available right now. You can be the change you want to see in the world. It starts with you choosing to increase your environmental awareness and then acting consciously. It’s all about your everyday choices. Personally, I find making conscious choices much more empowering than complaining about government incompetence and corruption.
I know I’ve been working on my list of choices since I took environmental science classes in university. I’ve still not made it all the way down my environmental to-do list, but I keep working at it. I invite you to create your own list. Then start by making one environmentally conscious choice and turn it into a habit. You might find the positive feeling addictive.
Many Small Changes Accrue Big Results
What I’ve found is consistent efforts to make thoughtful incremental changes over time, accrue big results. They can also save you money. This is as true for small business owners as it is for individuals.
You can make a difference with what may seem like insignificant changes like office recycling and composting, buying wooden stir sticks versus plastic ones, or compostable coffee pods versus non-biodegradable ones, and paper cups versus plastic ones.
Making a difference boils down to making a thousand little changes, versus getting bogged down on the seemingly impossible ones. We see the exact same thing with marketing performance optimisation. It’s a bunch of seemingly insignificant changes that make a large cumulative difference.
If you have some great ideas to share, post them. You can be part of the change that saves the planet, one choice at a time.