Environment

Reflections on pipelines and energy: World needs power but focusing on fossil fuel is folly

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David Suzuki

The Canadian government has given conditional approval to the Northern Gateway pipeline project, which would see oil from Alberta’s oil sands piped to Kitimat, B.C. for export to world markets. While the project promises economic growth for B.C. and all of Canada, many worry about the potential environmental damage of an oil spill. Don’t forget, adds David Suzuki, about the climate change caused by continued reliance on fossil fuels, which the pipeline encourages. For Suzuki part of the answer is learning to see value in non-economic terms, and so foregoing profits from oil exploitation, choosing instead to promote renewable energy.

Suzuki is right to challenge us to rethink our values. For Christians called to love our neighbours as ourselves and to steward God’s good creation, the bottom line must never be our highest value. However, in another article Deborah Yedlin argues that the Northern Gateway project, with the 209 conditions it must meet to go ahead, would establish “a new standard of environmental stewardship” for Canada and the world. Christians need to wrestle with the challenges of energy consumption and offer a coherent message that reflects the good news of the gospel.

In seeking to care well for God’s creation in our role as stewards, should Christians advocate greater abstinence from fossil fuel use that Suzuki calls for, or should they advocate continued exploitation of fossil fuels, albeit with higher environmental standards?

If climate change is the bigger-picture environmental problem, how can Christians successfully challenge the ideology which raises economic growth to the highest value in society, neglecting environmental considerations, among others?

Source: The Vancouver Sun

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