Crises -- Can They Be Resolved?
Our Way At Looking At Things Must Changed
As mentioned before, we are heading towards a ‘triple crisis” which could mean the end of our fossil fuel hungry civilization. The triple crisis is when climate chaos meets “head-on” with peak oil and the depletion of our natural resources – especially water.
How can we protect ourselves from the triple threat? The change in our climate is already here and we cannot reverse the damage which will be leveraged upon us in the future. Presently our climate woes are the result of carbon dioxide emissions from fourty years ago and we have emitted a lot more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere in just the last two decades. Within the other two “crisis areas” we can help reduce the consequences of “the end of cheap fuel and the scarcity of water by changing the way we think and the way we live.
Here are some suggestions we should pursue immediately to reduce the impact of the coming crisis: Firstly, we need to phase out the use of coal-powered plants (in Alberta, seventy percent of our electricity comes from this) and the development of the tar sands. Both are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. We need to pursue alternate energy sources (wind, solar). /Secondly, we, as consumers, need to reduce our consumption of resources, especially consumer products that require extensive use of energy to be produced, distributed and packaged. We need to purchase products that are produced locally.
Our society could choose to change its resource development and consumption patterns rather than face collapse. Either by consciously deciding not to use critical resources unsustainably or by finding alternatives – especially ones that are more friendly towards the environment and the health needs of our citizens.
A choice has been made (mainly by multinational corporations in cahoots with our provincial government) to develop, on a massive scale, dirty crude oil from the tar sands as a replacement for conventional oil production. But tar sands crude is a comparatively inferior fuel product because it has less energy output than conventional oil and it requires more energy input to produce. As a result, the choice to develop the tar sands turns out to be unsustainable and thus is a false solution to the peak oil crisis and will eventually lead to a societal collapse.
We, as Albertans, have not developed conservation measures in response to our dwindling natural gas and conventional oil reserves. We are also ignoring the possible water scarcity problem in our province. The tar sands production requires large volumes of water and with the increase concern of drought conditions in Alberta due to climate change, we should earnestly try to conserve water for both drinking and for growing crops,
One possibility is; if the rate of consumption were to decline faster than or equal to the rate of depletion, then the use of the resource would be sustainable. If consumers could change their life style considerably – drive smaller cars, use more fuel efficient vehicles, make their homes more energy efficient by providing net zero energy standard then we would be doing a service for future generations. By conserving our natural gas and oil by using less and forcing a reduction in production, we would be more encourage to switch to alternative methods.
Let me give you an excellent example of a potential production, which will provide for all our basic needs but is very environmentally friendly. It is called hemp. Yeh, the plant which has for its cousin the infamous marijuana plant. They’re related, but not the same. You will be happy to know that growing hemp is legal in Canada and has been since 1998.
What makes this crop so valuable? Well, according to Popular Science edition of 1937, hemp has more than 25,000 uses! Most of the products hemp can be used in can replace the wood and lumber we use AND the use of petroleum! Hemp can be a valuable crop –
It can be used to replace plastics, as a biofuel in vehicles, used in cosmetics, has many medicial purposes, as a building insulation material, used to replace paints and varnishes, use to produce paper, ropes, clothes, and many, many more!
The properties of a hemp are amazing. It can stand very cold temperatures, It is very resistant to pests (no need for pesticides or herbicides), provides necessary nutrients to the soil and it has viable microorganisms. It is drought resistant and needs very little water (perfect for Alberta growing conditions), The trees mature within 100 days! Thus, one can get three crops off in one year!
There is more about hemp I would love to write on but space is running out. It just shows what one can do if we need a solution(s) for the many problems facing our society. Remember, we need a balance between a healthy economy, a healthy environment and a healthy citizen.