The world is coming to an end. Always has been, as a matter of fact. Well, really, we don’t know that for sure, but logic and common sense says that it will indeed cease to exist as we know it. But being humans with a very limited life span, we can see the finality of it all. Plants die, pets die, our ancestors die and so will we. Human beings are hardwired to see that there will be an end. That’s fair. It helps us to accomplish as much as we can while we are breathing air. So why then, if, as a species, we are so smart, we say, do and predict the most insane things? A very good friend of mine told me something a while back, while not surprising these days, deeply troubled me.

We were having a great conversation about work, the energy industry and family life. He told me that his eleven-year-old daughter came home from school and said to him, “Daddy, we need to talk about the industry you work in.”  She continued with, “Teacher said that if we don’t quit using fossil fuels, we will all be dead in ten years.” He was taken aback by this, especially since this is in Calgary. The same Calgary that is the center of the Alberta oil patch. Apparently, there is a portion of people living in Calgary that are intent on using scare tactics on young children to create a culture of fear and panic in school. My friend is a very successful engineer with a well-respected oil and gas company, as well as a great husband and parent. He is a thoughtful, intelligent young man who cares about everyone and everything around him.

 

As you can imagine, this was hard for him to take. It was for me as well, thinking about the day that one of my own beautiful grandchildren might say similar things to me. I have thought about this at length, and thinking back throughout my life, I remember the “end of the world” scenarios that have come and gone over the centuries. I remember when I was in grade school reading a “Popular Science” article describing how the planet was potentially cooling, and another ice age was on the way. We all thought, “Great!”  “We can ride our snowmobiles all year round!” (we didn’t understand geological time apparently)

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But really, this goes back to ancient times, with our ancestors performing ritual sacrifice to appease the gods and in so doing, saved the planet.  Mix that in with seers, prophets and Nostradamus, you have the beginning of a never-ending cycle of panic for the masses. As a species, we have been predicting (almost hopefully it seems) the end times. Even the Mayan Calendar foretold the end of the world was going to occur on December 12, 2012. (Clearly that didn’t happen.)

But nowadays we are sooooo smart. You would think that being as well-educated as we are these days, we would have the good sense not to panic. Oh no, not us. We go out of our way to create panic and mass hysteria in as many ways as we can think of. The threat of climate change certainly has taken front and centre over the past thirty years. We’ve had all the usual suspects doing their level best to scare the crap out of us. Al Gore, David Suzuki, John Kerry, a multitude of Hollywood actors and billionaire businessmen continue every day to whip the population into a frenzy of panic and fear. (Note: the people in that sentence have wealth beyond measure)

Why is this? They don’t ask us to change our lifestyles to save the climate, they all but order it. They terrify us all into submission while they turn around and get on private jets and fly off to work, play and oh yes, attend climate change summits. (70,000 people at COP28 in the UAE as I write this) It is at these summits the elite decide on who gets pays to save the world from climate disaster; spoiler alert, it’s not them, it’s us.

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But I digress, and if you are reading this, you already know about that. Back to my point, “Why must we continue to predict the end of the world?” As I noted earlier, we have been hearing about the end of the world throughout history. But now, we have another looming disaster. Climate change. Again, one on one, we are very intelligent. Sadly, as a population, we do love a good panic. In a very short time span, we have gone from newspapers, to radio, movies, television, then twenty-four-hour news cycles, and now the internet and social media. So, we are constantly bombarded with media, some useful, informative and entertaining, but the lion’s share is panic-inducing propaganda about how if we don’t change our ways will all be dead. (In ten years, according many, including some schoolteachers.) About that, on top of all the media hysteria, we have many schoolteachers scaring the living daylights out of our young ones. Turns out there aren’t any monsters under the bed, they are lurking in the skies above. And we wonder why young people have a higher and higher incidence of depression in recent years. (This comes from the CDC) We are so busy trying to frighten our kids, we are forgetting to just let them be kids.

It’s time to get back to my friend’s dilemma. Being the kind of person he is, he will present correct information in a way that makes sense and won’t instill panic in his daughter. She will come away from the experience feeling better about the future and more well-informed than her teacher. I am confident of that. As I’ve always said, we can always do better. And we will. But using fearmongering, scare tactics and outright panic will not give people hope for the future, nor will it instill calm in our young people. People, especially children are easily scared without making up highly unlikely horror stories about how we will all die soon. A friend of mine always says, “The main thing is to remain calm.” Let’s try being supportive of each other and make better use of the resources at hand to build a clean, worry-free future.  Maybe we can “teach” this to our future leaders. You know the ones, the eleven-year-old girls and boys in school today.

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at Independent Well Servicing based in Estevan. He is starting to think all the other doomsday scenarios are starting to feel left out. You know, super-volcanoes, nuclear war and of course the good-old-fashioned asteroid. But if Bruce Willis & Ben Affleck taught us anything in “Armageddon”, roughnecks can save the world. Damn right we can.

 

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Op-Ed: Deidra Garyk: The Impact of ESG on the Energy Sector, Part 1

Feds “focused on targeting the shutdown of a complete industry, regardless of whether they’re going to meet their emissions targets or not,” says Moe in Dubai

Guilbeault’s backgrounder on “Roadmap for the Decarbonization of Canada’s Oil and Gas Sector”