Our house is on fire. Shouldn’t we put it out?


Dear Editor

In Brian Zinchuk’s Editorial in the Regional News-Optimist of June 13, 2019, he quotes Rex Murphy as saying “I cannot figure out. I do not know what processes are going on, in what strange minds, that has turned almost the entire energy of the country, especially at government level, and especially at various NGOs and self-appointed monitors of the earth’s doom, that has made the oil industry the number one villain of the entire world.”

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I will take a shot at what it is … fear. And I wish I could say that it is fear of the unknown. No, it is fear of the very well known.

Before I go on, if the reader of this letter is a climate change denier, then stop reading now. I don’t know, perhaps Rex Murphy is a climate change denier as well.

Greta Thundberg, 15-yr-old Swedish activist, is the voice of her generation and the conscience of the world. From a recent post of hers: “Our house is on fire. According to the IPCC, we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes.” Mr. Murphy may call her a “self-appointed monitor of the earth’s doom” and he would be profoundly correct, and thank goodness she is.

Who else has the most to fear as catastrophes throughout the world are predicted as a result of climate change? Rex Murphy? In 12 years he will be in his mid-eighties, in the final 5-10 per cent of his life on this planet. Greta and her fellow teenagers will be in their twenties, in the prime of their lives, living in a world that threatens their very existence and that of millions of others.

What is difficult for me to “figure out. What processes are going on, in what strange minds”.... is that intelligent, passionate and concerned citizens such as Rex Murphy,

knowing full well that our house is on fire, do nothing to help put it out. No acknowledgement whatsoever of the dire circumstances that lay ahead. We know we are doomed if we continue. At this point, I don’t give two hoots about who saved Newfoundland ... boy! There is now an entire planet in need of saving.

And he says especially governments are against oil? From Trump to Trudeau to Notley to Ford to even our humble Scott Moe, governments are lining up to tow the oil company line. It’s for jobs, I understand that. It’s for profits, and revenue streams and our desire to continue to live in the manner to which we have become accustomed. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t like this situation any better than Brian Zinchuk.

And, of course, we need to have jobs, and of course when jobs disappear our communities suffer and our families suffer and we long for our old jobs back. But we dare not turn to sentimentality and fable-telling. Harkening the move by Newfoundlanders to the western oil boom as “one of the great moments of confederation” as they were able to regain their dignity and “intermingle” with westerners, “all working together on the same projects.” You will have to forgive me if I don’t run for my box of tissues.

Jobs are very important and there is no doubt that our dignity is tied to jobs that pay well, are important, and are contributing to the overall good of society. But not jobs that will continue to contribute to a situation that threatens the existence of our planet.

Clearly a transition must be made away from oil, away from CO2 emissions and towards a “cooler” future. And there is all kinds of evidence that this transition can create a plethora of jobs surpassing that of the past oil booms.

So what do we do? Continue on with our reliance on oil, keep our heads buried in the sand hoping that it is all a hoax as Rex Murphy and Fox News would have us believe? I will allow Greta to sum it up and have provided the url for the quoted video below ...

“Some say that the climate crises is the most complex crises that Homo Sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it ... we have to stop the emissions of greenhouse gasses. And either we do that or we don’t. You say nothing in life is black or white, but that is a lie, a very dangerous lie, either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t. That is as black and white as it gets. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival.”


Laird Brittin

North Battleford

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