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BLOG: With the Liberals still up, it’s not time to sit down

Mary Woodbury
By Mary Woodbury
May 16th, 2013

If there’s one thing to take away from the recent election’s loss of a voice for the rainforest, it’s that protecting the largest temperate rainforest in the world is still possible–with or without politics and money being pushed into the controversial oil sands expansion that would potentially devastate this rare and critical ecosystem–one of the last of its kind. To lay dual pipelines through part of our forest, and to have supertankers transporting oil along its coastline, is an illogical move, which, with one bad spill or leak, would ruin habitat our world relies on for keeping healthy.

To say that the pipeline project is economically needed is wrong. There are already industries existing in the rainforest that could be devastated as well, such as fisheries and tourism. This oil, from well to wheel, will pollute (oil sands emits more carbon dioxide than other oil types and uses a lot more natural resources) and contribute more to our already heavy CO2 emissions–to the point that economy will suffer anyway. Anyone who knows that healthy ecosystems contribute more to healthy economies, not just in Canada but globally (due to climate change), understands this simple concept.

I think those of us who know (from climate scientists pointing out the increased carbon emissions from oil sands to First Nations living in the area to green groups around the world wanting to protect the land and its people) that the Northern Gateway is a Bad Idea–we need to develop a very strong plan to educate others about the tragedy of expanded oil routes and continue speaking up against it and creating public awareness of the negative points about the pipelines. What’s more, the oil sands investment is huge and not sustainable for very long. Shouldn’t we be wiser and invest into renewable and cleaner energy? If our political leaders insist on something good for Canada, they should not be deforesting great carbon sinks such as the Boreal forests in Alberta, nor abusing the Athabasca and other rivers for oil sands. Our leaders should invest in cleaner and renewable energy.

Can we do the right thing, despite the oil industry’s propaganda and deep pockets? I think so, though at times it feels like David and Goliath. The greatest challenge is here now: we must work diligently to preserve our current tourism and fisheries, and the vital healthy water, forests, and people in our rainforest.

To find out more about the riches of the rainforests and the dire threats of the proposed Northern Gateway project, click here for BCrainforest’s Great Bear Rainforest series.

— originally published at BC Rainforest

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