Jim and Chris Carlson know what money can buy, and what it can’t. If you don’t know these men, you are probably not alone. Many people know about Trans Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline project, and all the potential risks that it creates.
But fewer people are going out of their way to resist its construction. The Carlsons are two Nebraska farmers who turned down nearly a third of a million dollars, and they did it for the best possible reasons.
These men know the value of money.
A Filthy Proposition
The Keystone XL project is a nightmare in every imaginable aspect. The oil that it will transport from Canada’s tar sands is one of the nastiest forms of oil production there is, and moving it overland creates risks that simply don’t justify its existence.
When TransCanada came to Jim and Chris Carlson with a pile of cash, and an offer to buy their land, they told them “no.”
The Carlsons knew that if they let the Keystone XL pipeline run near their land, it could be a major problem for them, and everyone in their area.
The bare facts are thus:
We use a lot of energy everyday, and it is getting harder to produce oil in the quantities that we need. While shale drilling has given us a quick burst of new energy supplies, the rate at which we are depleting our reserves is astounding.
This is happening against a backdrop of a rising Asian consumer, whose numbers are measured in the billions. While there are trillions of barrels of nonconventional oil in North America, extracting and transporting them creates environmental havoc on a scale never before seen in human history.
The Carlsons get it.
We Have Options
The Solar XL initiative seeks to purchase land in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline, and jam huge solar power farms right in the way of the pipeline. This is a smashing idea, and shows the world just how misguided projects like the Keystone XL pipeline are.
Oil is fine, and we will never replace it. But using oil for every goddamn thing is one of the worst ideas there ever was.
It didn’t take Elon Musk very long to show the world how sexy electric cars can be, and we have to remember that we are barely a decade into the Tesla revolution. If you want to support the Solar XL program, you can find ways to do it here.
But I have another idea.
Why don’t you go to the mirror, stare yourself in the eyes, and ask: “What have I done today to make a difference?”
Because I will tell you; The people who want to make projects like the Keystone XL pipeline a reality are f***ing well organized, well funded and know how to get things done.
If we want to see technologies like wind and solar take hold, there is a lot of work to do. They work economically, and easily create value (read as profit).
But there are a lot of people who care only for a myopic view of money, and don’t understand the long-term consequences of ignoring evolving technologies like solar power generation.
The Chinese understand how stupid it is to rely on fossil fuels, that is probably why they are the world’s largest producer of solar panels.
That is what they are doing.
Today, I wrote this, and I will continue to do whatever I can to support the development of sustainable infrastructure.
I have no idea what you are in a position to do, but I would strongly suggest that you find something to do, and not dawdle about.
The Keystone XL pipeline is on the cusp of becoming a reality, and it isn’t an isolated phenomena.