Curiosity is terminal

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Changing MInds

There was a link this morning in my Facebook feed to a BC Business article about how giving people the facts is not enough to change their minds.  In my mind this is connected to the moan I always hear from developers that they just have to package their plan the right way to get the public to buy in.

The trouble, I think, is that developers think the facts are all on their side. Pipelines built extra thick to last longer, world class spill response, double hulled tankers, extra tugboats to guide tankers (I don't think there are any plausible facts for Site C, are there?)

But the fact is that the Kalamazoo River is still filthy from Enbridge's spill in 2010.  The fact is that the Gulf of Mexico has not recovered from the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010.  The fact is that Prince William Sound is still not entirely recovered from the Exxon Valdez running aground in 1989.  The fact is that there is a catastrophic methane leak in California right now.  The fact is that there are earthquakes in places where there are no natural reasons for earthquakes that have been directly linked to hydraulic fracturing.  The fact is that human error actually accounts for much of this*, and before you tell me that automating and mechanizing things will prevent these events in the future, remember that in fact humans made the mistakes they made because they misread or over-relied on computerized systems.

The fact is that the people who are labelled opponents think this destruction is unnecessary.

We are not dealing with an inability to accept the facts. We are dealing with two fundamentally different worldviews.  I am perfectly able to grasp and even admire the technological advances and innovation that will purportedly make resource extraction faster and safer and hopefully cleaner. But I am completely unable to see it as anything but unmitigated greed and ecological rape.  Even if I back up from my inflammatory and contentious characterization, it is still single minded and short sighted destruction.  Developers either can't, or won't, recognize that.

I suppose it is possible that there might have been a time when some common ground might have been found here and that "development' could have taken place sustainably, but I suspect that time is long over.  We have befouled the earth, and the air and the water over so much of the globe that we are probably hurtling toward its uninhabitability.  Most days, taking the long view, I honestly think that our own extinction is the very best thing that can happen to the earth.  We have so much hubris as to think that we matter to the existence of our little blue planet, that we are of some consequence.  We are wrong.  We are a mere blip here.  Earth's tragedy is that we have left so much poison in our wake that we will very likely have rendered normal, healthy existence for other creatures impossible for several hundred years into the future.

But by all means, explain to me how cutting down the trees that hold eagles nests on an island in the Peace River and flooding a valley that is home to bears and deer and moose and foxes and could grow food for us while not hurting those homes is such a good idea.

* When I looked for articles to link here, using the words environmental disaster human error,  the results were 3 pages of mostly clickbait. There are some pretty heartbreaking lists there if you happen to want them.

1 comment:

  1. One of the thinkers I most respect said of fracking that it was a penetrative act involving instant gratification. It therefore qualifies, he said, as a suitable expletive: in fact, people who do such a thing to Mother Earth could and should be called 'motherfrackers'.
    I believe that we are nearing the end of the beginning of a very long, drawn out societal collapse. Which does not mean we'll go extinct, only that our lifestyle will. Not any time soon, but over the next three or four generations.You can see it starting to coalesce now. It used to be normal for one income to support a family quite well: now two people struggle to support a smaller family. House ownership is out of reach of the average person in the larger cities: car ownership is likewise starting to be a luxury many forego. All around us we see this being normalized (not many people talk about the one-income-was-sufficient any more, and when they do, they demonize its era).
    Things are going to get bumpy, karen. You're in a good spot, where you are, and with many, many useful skills...