As the sobering events in Japan unfold, I am wondering what lessons Canada could learn. The same attitudes of “man defying nature”, carelessness and greed from corporations, governments and consumers continue to be the driving forces of arrogant projects like the Northern Gateway pipeline by Enbridge.
Man defying nature is all too apparent in the nuclear industry. No need to emphasize the enormously dangerous lack of foresight of those who proposed and allowed to build nuclear reactors in an earthquake prone country, close to the ocean and near seismic fault lines.
The sheepish reply that no earthquake and no tsunami of that magnitude had ever been recorded is hardly a justification. The fact is that “man” badly underestimates the forces he/she imagines he can control.
The lesson here is not to think that the “new” technology is around the corner that will prevent this latest round of disaster because another event we cannot foresee will confound us again.
The lesson is humility; technology is not to be taken as a religion and human failure is a given for all projects.
When I think of Japan’s tragedy, I cannot help remembering the classic images of Tokyo with their day -and-night lights and billboards. What a waste for a country which was depending on nuclear energy for about 30 per cent for its needs!
Germany is now producing as much peak energy from its solar panels as the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Reducing consumption, decentralizing, and using alternative energy are far better choices than those dangerous nuclear or fossil fuel behemoths.
We presently waste oil energy as if the supply was endless. The Enbridge pipeline is a case in point, proposing to export the precious non renewable fossil-fuel without any consideration whatsoever for the supply to Canadians.
The shameful NAFTA has already locked us in guaranteeing the supply to the USA at the expense of our own if the reserves dwindle so low as to not be able to provide for both.
We need a national energy policy, not the one that Shell is calling for to allow it and fellow oil multinationals to gut us empty.
We need to ensure Canadians’ energy needs are met first, not only for ourselves but also, and foremost, for the future generations.
While in Japan nuclear power companies, government and media are the same, in Canada a similar complicity applies with oil companies dictating to government.
There is nothing “Canadian” in the powerful Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) whose affiliations range from China, USA, UK, France, Norway, Thailand etc…
I say affiliation because their real allegiance is to themselves and their shareholders. If in doubt, look at the recent announcement by Transocean Ltd, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which gave its top executives bonuses last week for achieving the “best year in safety performance in our company’s history’’.
Never mind the 11 workers who died in the explosion and the irreparable damage to thousands of people and the environment, the company contends it still had an “exemplary’’ safety record because it met or exceeded certain internal safety targets concerning the frequency and severity of its accidents.
Wait for Enbridge who is now promising us the moon to get approval for its pipeline, to change its tune after a spill and tell us they are not responsible because it falls back on the regulators who approved the pipeline. This is presently their defense in court with their Michigan spill last July.
It is time that Canadians stand up against those corporate oil bullies to not allow BC to be turned into the sacrificial place chosen to pay for their enormous profits.
There is no need for the Fukushima disaster and the accumulated mistakes that led to it to repeat themselves with the Enbridge pipeline.