Is it really clean energy?

I had never really understood what global warming meant. Of course I had heard of it, just like everyone else.

I had never really understood what global warming meant. Of course I had heard of it, just like everyone else. We were taught about it in school; we heard about it on the news; people have always talked about it. But still, I had never really understood it.

I remember my teachers talking about how the temperature of the Earth would rise, and how the glaciers would eventually melt, rising the ocean levels. I also remember experts discussing on newspapers how unpredictable the weather would become. Deadly even. Every time a natural disaster takes place, people are quick to point their fingers at global warming.

Even with all that information available, somehow I still didn’t feel the urgency to fix it. I guess I (ignorantly) always thought that, ultimately, our technology would be able to protect us against radical climate changes.

It wasn’t until I watched a documentary called Disruption by Kelly Nyks and Jared Scott that my perception was changed. After watching the documentary, I finally understood what all these experts have been saying all this time.

Global warming does not simply mean that the temperature of the Earth will rise two or three degrees, that the ocean levels will rise and that we will have to deal with more frequent natural disasters. What it means, and what they have been trying to tell us all along, is that our survival as a human species is in danger.

Simple concept, right? Yet, I struggled for so long to understand it.

It made me realize (and this is not a brilliant insight that I am proud of) that If we don’t make radical changes to our way of producing energy, if we keep polluting the planet like we have, we will cease to exist.

Since I watched that documentary, I have been wondering if our leaders are making the same mistake I did – not seeing the urgency of the matter.

You must be wondering why I chose to talk about global warming this week. Nothing significant happened on that front, except that I watched TransCanada’s presentation about liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Burns Lake.

An expert performed a live demonstration of what natural gas looks like when it reacts to different scenarios such as being in contact with water. The purpose of the presentation was to prove how safe natural gas can be, and answer any questions the public might have on the subject. They were also talking about the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, a 650-kilometre pipeline from the Dawson Creek area to the west coast of B.C., passing south of Burns Lake.

I was there as an observer. When the time came to ask questions, I didn’t. I didn’t have enough data or confidence to ask the big guys a question. And maybe they are right – transporting natural gas may not pose a huge threat to the environment. But what about extracting natural gas?  That’s the question I really wanted to ask TransCanada. But I guess the extraction of natural gas wasn’t in question at that time. After all, the presentation was about how safe the transportation of LNG is, and how we shouldn’t worry.

However, I took the liberty of doing a quick google search to find out how people in British Columbia feel about the subject. What I found was a great collection of videos, websites and research done by people against natural gas in the province. Skepticism is definitely out there.

I think it’s important to ask questions. Is our government only concerned about short-term investments? Or are they thinking about our long-term wellbeing? Are we doing enough to protect the next generation (and maybe our own)? Is this really “clean energy” as they are selling it to be?