Today I got involved in a “political” discussion that centred around the oil and gas industry – about keeping the tar sands heavy oil in the ground in Canada or going ahead and building pipelines and getting the product to market.
There were the two predictable sides: we have to keep growing our economy and creating jobs and money and and and.
And the other side – we can’t keep doing this. We are in a climate crisis.
Pretty easy to guess which side I’m on.
The saddest of the arguments that I heard went along the lines of, “But all these other countries aren’t slowing down so we shouldn’t either! Our contribution to carbon is so small, it won’t make any difference if we stop so we should keep going.”
This is crazy sad. I thought of arguments – presented them. And then went away for a walk with Simon and the pups and, as usual, a walk out there in beauty, brought the right answer to me.
There is such a thing as “Doing the right thing.”
Most of us know what that is in our daily lives. Most of us humans (no – I’m not talking about psychopaths and narcissists) have a wonderful inner guidepost. We know when we are doing what is right. It is especially admirable, in my mind, that people do the right thing even when no one is watching – even if no one never knows. People who risk their lives to save children from the gas chambers. People who jump to the front lines of a fire to save people and animals. We have examples around us every day. And people do these “right” things because they know, deep down in a big place in their souls, that doing the right thing is its own reward.
In the end, this is my argument: we keep heavy oil in the ground because it’t the right thing to do. We give up conveniences because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing for the planet, for our children and grandchildren, for the wild things, for the forests and waters – for life.
It’s the right thing for life.
People have sacrificed their lives because it was the right thing to do.
At heart, I believe we are that noble – that we will do the right thing.
Today I spoke lengthily with the local CEO of the Green Party. I will meet with her in person early next week. And this I will bear in mind as I get involved in politics. No matter what, whatever I do or say to help, it will be based on doing the right thing, even when it seems futile, even when the “money interests” say it’s not realistic.