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dying from oil…

May 5, 2016

So the Global TV newsman got upset with Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, last night when she connected the Fort McMurray wildfire disaster with climate change, global warming, and our on-going obsession with consuming oil.

“Not everything is related to climate change” he tried to point out to her.

Sure, in one sense that is true. Today’s morning rain here in rural eastern Ontario may not be directly associated with global climate change.

But when you have a forest fire in a part of the planet that does not normally have forest fires, especially in Spring! (lets not forget that it’s not even the dry season yet) – when the temperature is in the 30’s in May in northern Alberta – in May! – what they hell else could it be but the result of climate change?

Maybe there is a God, and s/he thought, now where is this oil-burning cancerous mess all coming from, took a look, and said “I will burn this oil town to the ground!”

Do I dismiss the tragedy that is playing out on the ground? To that I say “shut the fuck up!” Of course not! I have friends and family working in and around Fort McMurray. They are living with this tragedy in real time and space.

But as metaphors go, I cannot ignore the fact that for the last 25 years our economy has been intentionally directed to the extraction and burning of oil.

Our shiny new Prime Minister just last week told us why he is endorsing a new shiny 5,000km pipeline that will dissect our country from Alberta to the Atlantic coast in New Brunswick.

I cannot ignore that as the planet heats up – every year hotter than the last – every year now for the last 25 – that the temperature in our northern communities would climb to unprecedented levels. (And will still go higher.)

I cannot ignore that it is already so dry in the northern forests that it burns up like long columns of match sticks.

I cannot ignore that it is happening in the heart of oil country.

My partner says that if nothing else, God has a sense for the ironic.


An oil town of 100,000 people burns to the ground from our addiction to oil.

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