The Sodom and Gomorrah of the Great White North
by Captain Paul Watson - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scolded Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May for suggesting that the tragic fires in Alberta were connected to climate change.
It appears that the Prime Minister likes to speak about climate change in the abstract but does not want to address the reality of the actual consequences of climate change.
Prime Minister Trudeau suggested that Elizabeth May’s statements were “inappropriate.”
Well he sure as hell is going to view my position as very inappropriate but there are some things about Fort McMurray and Alberta that simply need to be said.
Fort McMurray is a town that was established by the fur trade and built upon the bloody corpses of millions of wild animals. The name comes from a Hudson’s Bay fur trader named William McMurray. The place has been a blight on the landscape in the boreal forest ever since the fur traders forced the native Cree people to pack up and move along.
Calgary, is Canada’s petro-capital, hosts the cruel annual Stampede and is the home of the blue eyed Arabs in their white cowboy hats.
Alberta, a Province where oil is so revered that Edmonton named their hockey team – the Oilers.
Fort McMurray is the home base of the workers and company offices of those who devastated the natural environment with their obscenely destructive tar sands development projects.
Fort McMurray is a city of 80,000 that has been known as the “beating heart” of the Canadian oil industry.
The wealthiest per capita city in Canada with an average household income of $181,000 Canadians dollars.
A town with a birthrate above the national average.
A town with the largest number per capita of imported luxury cars.
A town of climate change deniers who have long held environmentalists in contempt and who laughed at the warnings that the planet is heating up and the ever-growing signs that consequences were fast appearing on the horizon.
Fort McMurray and Calgary, the two communities most responsible for the worst destruction of eco-systems in Canada – the scorched earth economic policies that ripped open the bowels of the land, destroyed rivers, lakes, forests and wetlands and caused the deaths of millions of animals.
Fort McMurray, a town that contributed so much to creating and spewing great volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and as fate has unveiled, the very town that is suffering the fire storm consequences of the seeds that it has sown.
In 2013 Calgary was hit with its worst flooding disasters in memory.
Yet the Prime Minister says there is no connection between these disasters and climate change.
Fort McMurray is now experiencing the highest temperatures and the lowest precipitation in its entire history. Temperatures this week were 31 degrees F. higher than average for the month of May.
To say there is no relationship to climate change is a delusional denial. Of course there is a connection and that connection is blazing forth dramatically in Fort McMurray where the entire population has been evacuated and over 1200 homes have been razed to the ground.
Of course we should feel compassion for the losses of the people who live there but it is insane to not discuss why this is happening and why it will continue to happen.
When humanity spits into the face of mother nature we should not be surprised to see the consequences of our collective arrogance and ecological ignorance spat back at us.
This horrendous fire, just like the flood that hit Calgary and the super storms, floods and tornadoes ravaging through communities around the globe are the consequences of the hundreds of millions of tons of carbon that we annually inject into the atmosphere and the irreparable damage we are doing to the natural mechanisms that absorb carbon, like the forests, wetlands and the ocean.
This fire is nature’s punishment for the sins of human avarice. Not in a theological sense, there is no divine plan here, just the natural chemical reaction caused by humanity’s activities.
In nature there is always an equal reaction to an action. The tar sands development was a huge action and the reaction is and will be equally huge as a consequence.
The disaster in Fort McMurray is man-made and the people suffering the most are some of the very people who participated in creating the circumstances that they are now experiencing.
Prime Minister Trudeau says that now is not the time to discuss this, but when is it time to discuss cause and effect. They did not want to discuss it in the past. They don’t want to discuss it now and they have no intention of discussing this in the future.
They can dismiss it as an act of God, a natural disaster or whatever they may choose to call it, but the writing is on the wall. Big oil, government, both Federal and Provincial, big banks, and jobs are the underlying cause of this disaster and that is a truth now written in the sky with broad brushstrokes of flame and smoke.