Saturday, December 24, 2011

Caring for the Planet

The letter below was written in response to a letter Mr. Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan, published in the Burnaby Newsleader. His letter has been published here. Below is a letter of response from E. Harrison, published online at the Burnaby Newsleader.

Dear Ian Anderson,

It is with deep sadness that I read of your intentions to expand the oil industry in Burnaby. My fear is that any increase in oil production translates into more pollution of our planet. My heart breaks when I think that my children and grandchildren may not live to see a clean earth.

Burnaby has ongoing issues with the oil industry. Indeed, I lump your companies all together, since I have seen very little accountability from any of you. For example, Chevron has leaking storage issues still unresolved. Also, I’d be curious to know how the neighbors feel who lost their homes when Kinder Morgan oil rained on their community a few short years ago. Recently, oil appeared in the water on the north shore for which no oil company has claimed responsibility. How come private homeowners must pay for removal of small oil storage tanks from their yards, yet big corporations like yours will not take responsibility for massive oil spillages? How many more warnings is Mother Earth going to give us before she gets too sick to sustain life anymore?

Is there anyone in the oil industry with a conscience or a desire to clean up our planet and reverse the global warming?  

Any one?

Common practices need to be reviewed. If the city is using tar/oil-based products that result in pollution problems, then we are not living right as a community and as a city. How do we change an entire grid system to eliminate harms to our environment when these are practiced and endorsed by our governments? I read about the billions (yes, billions) of dollars the oil industry budgets to lobby our politicians. Sadly, based on their comments, many of our politicians have already been “persuaded” to support the oil industry. Once corrupted by oil money, these “public” servants become servants of the oil industry, rather than their constituents. We cannot have a democracy or a clean planet if we allow the oil industry to own our politicians.

Yes, Mr. Anderson. Your letter made me feel extremely vulnerable. The only thing I could think to do was go for a nature walk. I cried when I visited the stream and saw a purple and turquoise film on the water. It was raining and the parking lot drained directly into a stream that feeds Burnaby Lake. No wonder the lake required dredging, courtesy of the taxpayers. No wonder the lake is sick. Seeing the condition of the water made me weep. Yet, your desire is to increase oil consumption and make the environment even more toxic.

I felt a sadness come over me that I have not felt for quite some time. I cried as I approached a walking bridge. The water appeared murky and in the distance, a mist hovered over Burnaby Lake. I pondered what Burnaby’s parks would become now that Kinder Morgan has set their sights on expanding their industry in our beloved community. On one side of the bridge my gaze followed several ducks paddling through the cloudy water. Already the waterways are suffering from pollution. A Tim Horton’s cup bobbed against a bridge support. It seems some people treat the planet as their personal garbage dump. The oil industry has its garbage dump too: Tailings Ponds.

Selfish attitudes toward care-taking of our planet must change.

On the other side of the bridge was a beautiful Great Blue Heron grooming himself. I wished I had brought my camera. How much longer would I get to enjoy these moments in nature? How much longer before these beloved birds become extinct because of pollution and toxicity?

I recalled Harper’s conservatives affirming they would like to see Canada become a large oil-producing nation. I have seen the “Ethical Oil” advertisements. I wonder if other people recognize as I do that there is no such thing as “ethical” oil.

Canada has not cut back on oil consumption. In fact they have increased their carbon count according to another news article I read last week. The Canadian government has no intention of preserving life on planet earth. The uses that the oil industry deem “safe” are actually harmful to our environment.

It has always been my dream to get off the oil consumption grid. I have no desire to add to the load of pollution already spewing into our water courses. I don’t think in terms of how rich I could become. I think in terms of “nature in balance” and “humans coming into balance with nature.” That clearly is not the direction you have intended for our beloved community, Mr. Anderson.

It is my wish that the oil be left in the ground. If politicians could walk away from the oil lobby money, new sources of energy would soon be discovered and implemented. Sources that support the environment, rather than destroy it. I embrace that concept and I trust it as “my truth.” I trust the answers will come if we really seek a solution to climate change. Let’s support our planet instead of raping it. Let’s be kind to the planet and to each other.

If we know what is good for the planet we will keep saying no thanks to your planned expansion.

E. Harrison
Burnaby, BC

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2012. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

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