It is interesting to study the oil and natural gas industry and its environmental impact on Canada. I haven’t studied it from an angle of environmental science, but I did work in the industry for a time.
I worked on drilling sites between Grande Prairie and Northwest Territories, so I can’t really comment on the oil sands. In my experience, I saw that this is one of the most regulated industries in Canada when it comes to safety, emissions, etc. The regulations in Canada are quite intense.
More recently we saw the Ford Government in Ontario scrap the e-test. This required that people with older cars scrap their cars if they could not have them pass an emissions test. This was harder on poor people than on the wealthy. It is a known fact that wealthier people have an easier time buying new cars. That being said, I wager that the e-test lowered pollution in Ontario (albeit on a very minor scale), even if the poor had to take the hit for it.
Many measures have been taken in recent year to reduce emissions.
And of course, the science changes with the environment. Ten years ago, the craze was global warming. Right now the scare is that extreme changes in climate are causing floods, famine, and hurricanes. The debate has shifted from global cooling to global warming to climate change. In light of this, I wonder as much as I really do believe that we are compelled to care for our environment, how much of this is a scam?
A couple years back, I pointed out to a friend that I was more environmentally friendly than most environmental activists since at that time I did not own a car and got everywhere on a bicycle. It was far more cost effective than other modes of travel.
Even so, Christians are called to be aware of how the curse in Genesis 1 has affected our environment and we are called to care for it in light of Genesis 1:27: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” We have been given this creation to care for as stewards in service of the Creator of heaven and earth. As stewards, we must remember that it is a gift from God, and so we should take care of it in service to Him.
In light of this, we should remember that He is in control. He is in control of the weather patterns, of life and death, etc. He cares even for the sparrow and the lillies of the field. As such, no matter what we do, we cannot remove the problem of sin, we cannot stop Him from hurling judgement in the form of a hurricane or a famine.
When I hear of protests across Canada and the world, I hear people protesting something that they can’t do anything about. They are not coming up with solutions, except to put an end to many forms of industry and to hinder people getting to work. Industries that are already loaded with regulations are being shut down. The protests in Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax, hindered the search for solutions, it did not help.
The left-wing struggle for the environment already overthrew their source of income for finding a solution when they brought down the oil industry in Canada.
That being said, I also don’t see much of this as being overly scientifically grounded. From a perspective of caring for the environment, I can appreciate initiatives to properly dispose of garbage, rotate crops, replenish nutrients in the soil, take care not to wipe out forests, encourage industries and car manufacturers to regulate emissions. You might call this micro-environmentalism.
But macro-environmentalism changes with the weather. It goes from fear about global cooling to global warming to climate change. And then the cycle starts all over again. And then I wonder if it is more about control and ideology, than about good science and good facts.