Editorial: Converting industries to greener energies

Social media exploded on Monday. Every post featured the face of a young 16-year-old girl, with braids in her hair, speaking words of wisdom to a room filled with the United Nations’ most important people.

Greta Thunberg is a household name by this point. She has the entire world watching and listening.

As tears came to her eyes, she says “how dare you.”

The question isn’t rhetorical. Her question is real and true, and it is something that everyone should consider. I remember being a young child, swimming in the pool, and having my mother explain to me that I need to wear sunscreen because there was a hole in the ozone. It scared me then, and it scares me now.

Science has stated for more than 30 years that our ecosystem is failing. We’re facing pollution rates, clean water is becoming a hot commodity, and forests are on fire, even the “lungs of the world” are being destroyed.

Some have said that the world has a natural cycle, where it heats up and cools off. This may be true, but there’s no chance we aren’t pushing that cycle along at an astronomical rate.

While our governments look to reduce carbon emissions and tax environmentally unfriendly companies, we aren’t doing enough quick enough.

What we need to focus on is moving away from fossil fuels, and creating environmentally sustainable jobs.

This means coming up with a plan to train those who are currently employed by oil and gas companies.

It can be done.

We have engineers who spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to attend school to become specialized in fracking and the oil industry. Those people are not going to leave their careers for something that will pay them less, or will cost even more money to obtain.

While free education sounds great, maybe we should focus on providing free or very affordable education for these people, and then work toward making environmentally sustainable education free and available for everyone else.

People who are very close to me work in the fracking industry. Even they have expressed interest in a plan that could convert them from their current roles into a greener future.

The federal election is upon us, and I hope to see a campaign promise that reflects this attitude.

I have been very happy to see that electric vehicles are becoming more affordable, and programs like Connect Kootenays are installing charging stations along routes. I only hope that this will be the new norm.

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