Will the Next Generation Hate us?


How can anyone seeing what is happening in Ukraine not realize that all of the countries currently addicted to fossil fuels are on a dangerous path? Is it not obvious that we would all be better off getting off this addiction to fossil fuel?  Does the war in Ukraine not make this absolutely clear?


Fossils fuel is concentrated in a few places around the world. As Bill McKibben said in his recent interview by CBC radio,

“That means that the people who live on top of those places, end up with more power than they deserve. Vladimir Putin, the King of Saudi Arabia. It is not as if he is an interesting dude, he executed 81 people with a sword this week, but because he has a lot of oil everyone has to pretend he has something interesting to say. In my country the Koch brothers (one of whom has passed on to his rewards in heaven which he has paid for) our biggest oil and gas barons, biggest land holders in in Alberta’s tar sands in different periods, use up their winnings to buy up a political party to warp America’s political system.”


In Alberta they claim their oil is ethical, but sadly, such claims are dubious. Oil and gas money has for decades in Canada and elsewhere funded campaigns to convince us that climate change is not real so that we failed for those decades to do anything about the wolf at our door—i.e. climate change. In time, even those millions from that not so ethical source has proved ineffective at hiding the truth from us of what they have been doing. But in the meantime, those decades of delay have increased the costs of climate change mitigation immeasurably. Oil sector companies have spent a lot of money  to delay political change, while they have earned enormous extra profits as a result, and are leaving us holding the bag to pay for the consequences. I have a hard time agreeing to call that “ethical” activity.


Some of us old timers may escape paying the price of that delay by dying, but sadly, our grandchildren will not be so lucky and they will no doubt wonder why our generation could have been so stupid to buy the lies sold to us by unethical oil. Of course, those grandchildren of ours might not be convinced we were stupid. They might come to the conclusion that we were unjust in not bearing the price ourselves even though we got the benefits of cheap oil for those decades. Instead we made the innocent generation pay for our profligacy.

Let’s hope that when the time comes, we are in a place where we don’t hear what they say about us when they learn the truth!

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