The word "radical" is being thrown out a lot lately, particularly from the mouths of certain federal ministers. Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver garnered a great deal of attention when he published a rant about opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline in The Globe and Mail. He has backed off a bit since then, saying he was referring not to all environmentalist but only to those who wanted to kill tar sands development entirely.
Extracting resources from the planet faster than it can replenish them—that's radical. Polluting the planet faster than it can absorb the pollution—that's radical. And we are doing both of these things. It would appear that our whole damn species is radical. And in the wrong way.
If Messrs. Harper and Oliver are opposed to radical behaviour they should, as our elected leaders, be leading us away from this folly, toward a sustainable, no-growth economy. Instead they passionately support what is perhaps the world's most savage assault on Mother Earth while denouncing those who oppose it. The Prime Minister has
called the tar sands “an enterprise of epic proportions akin to the
building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall, only bigger.” And, he failed to add, much, much dirtier.
Rather than enterprises of epic proportions, we might limit ourselves to enterprises of more modest proportions that respect the planet. A radical idea too, perhaps, but in the right way.