We cannot ignore reality forever

Dear editor,

I experienced an unpleasant surprise reading about “Companies lining up with more coal mine proposals.”

Dear editor,

I experienced an unpleasant surprise reading Scott Stanfield’s June 12 article about “Companies lining up with more coal mine proposals in Comox Valley Region.”

As a climate change activist and retired environmental consultant, I expected some reference in the article to the recognize science that clearly shows the need to phase out all coal mining to avoid catastrophic breakdown of our climate (www.stopcoal.ca).

But no, these companies want to ignore the impacts of greenhouse gases on destroying our climate to make short-term money.

Dr. Andrew Weaver, professor at the University of Victoria and a Nobel Prize winner as member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns us that: “If we burn the world’s accessible coal reserves we will destroy the benign and hospitable climate that has allowed human civilization to flourish.”

So we all need to act on climate change. But the power of money is a formidable obstacle to creating a sustainable future for our kids. I have had many unpleasant discussions about this ever since I retired from environmental consulting to become a carbon-buster and climate change activist.

Why unpleasant?

Well, the coming breakdown of our climate demands that we examine every aspect of our lives, so it’s real easy to offend people — like telling them that flying to Hawaii for a vacation is an act of theft — stealing our children’s future quality of life for short-term pleasure.

Hey, did that sentence get you riled up? See what I mean — it’s not easy asking people to change their behaviour and act on climate change.

Telling people to stop burning fossil fuels is like putting a dead rat in front of a nest of maggots — it starts an automatic feeding frenzy of self-entitlement.

If they were really honest, I feel that many would like to say, “I have the right to burn as much fuel as I want: for my own pleasure, for my gas-guzzling cars, for taking huge planes for my vacation and for as many ocean cruises as I damn well want — and bye the bye, to hell with sustaining our climate for the next generation.”

Yup, people have had really strong reactions to my climate change message; in this case, that we should not increase coal exports even though carbon emissions from India go into our common atmosphere to destroy this planet’s climate.

But in the past, most people have being ignoring this reality — so much so that sometimes I feel as tired as that dead rat. And corporations are no different than most people — always looking at their own interests first.

The alternative to exporting more coal of course is to create more jobs by switching to renewable energy sources — that would allow the next generation to have a good sustainable life.

What a concept.

Peter Nix,

Maple Bay

Editor’s note: A spokesman for Compliance Coal stated last week that the company’s application had been filed in 2007 and held in abeyance by government since then. He said Compliance has no intention to pursue the licence.

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