Reflection: On Pipelines and Drinking Water

On day 4 of his presidency*, Trump signed a presidential memorandum (which is different from an executive order) to expedite the construction of two oil pipelines: the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL.

This didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. In fact the Trudeau government applauded the move, just days after 200,000 liters of oil leaked into the lands of Ocean Man First Nation and only seven months after a Husky Energy pipeline spill into the North Saskatchewan River.

Shame on you, Prime Minister Trudeau.

What does a pipeline spill mean for a community?

  • Piping in drinking water from alternative sources indefinitely at a huge cost
  • Decades of oil hanging around, even after clean-up efforts
  • Death of plant and animal life, loss of biodiversity
  • Decreased air quality leading to a multitude of health problems
  • Loss of economy (fishing, tourism, the cost of containment and clean-up, etc.)

It goes without saying that there are advocates on both sides of this issue: First Nations communities for and against pipelines, environmentalists against the pipelines, oil companies who say they’re doing everything to make their pipelines environmentally safe.

Petrochemical products produced from refined petroleum permeate so much of our life: nylon, polyester, rayon, plastic, the gas that gets us and the products we consume around the world.

We know it’s better for our little planet if we end our reliance on fossil fuels and thus end the need for pipelines. There are smart people working on alternative or renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal.

What can we do in our every day lives

(a) to convince the leadership not to move forward with pipelines and (b) to reduce our own reliance on fossil fuels?

Let’s get the conversation going. I’d love to hear your ideas for reducing our day-to-day reliance on oil and how we can fight the pipeline projects.

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Photo credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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