The Blame Game
I always struggle to understand why the natural resource sector seems to take the blame in any environmental debate. The most obvious is blaming the oil & gas industry for global warming but it is becoming a common tactic by special interest groups in so many other industries and issues as well. A never-ending stream of negativity trying to blame someone else seems to have become the norm. It’s a problem I call the “Blame Game”.
I try to look issues with an open mind but just can’t connect the dots when these opponents link unrelated issues to an industry or natural resource development. For example, several BC Municipalities have tried to blame oil sands producers for apparent financial costs linked to climate change1. It is the epitome of hypocrisy and a knee jerk reaction to find someone to blame for a very complex global challenge. It is only one example of many where people are failing to self reflect on who is creating the demand and why the demand is there. It is simply an attempt to blame someone other than themselves and does the little to address the root cause of the problems. It is a common theme in any opposition to natural resources development and more akin to a two year old kicking and screaming until they get their way than it is legitimate opposition, a practical solution, or a reasonable negotiation.
The blame game isn’t specifically about the complex, challenging, and ongoing debate about climate change though. It is about a troubling theme that is spreading. There has been a more recent example in the BC community of Prince George. West Coast Olefin’s is proposing a petro-chemical plant to increase the value of a fossil fuel resource. The commodity is currently being burned as a fuel source but by turning these products into a solid material product for use in plastics and other industries they have a net negative CO2 emissions2. This information kills the common idea of protesting such a development because of climate change concerns. Opposition has instead tried to use the challenges faced with single use plastics. Que the blame game.
A local proponent manufacturing a commodity for a free market, with no control over its use, or final disposal is blamed for a global problem? No reasonable person thinks that plastics in our natural environment is good, but can we really blame a single supplier for this problem? Would it not be more reasonable to look at the ways this commodity is used, who is using it, where in the world its is being used, and how different jurisdictions in the world are disposing of plastic waste? Plastic is an incredible important material used in every facet of life that we simply can’t stop using.
The blame game is founded on the principle that the worlds problems only seem to be created by the biggest corporate suppliers of all the worlds needs. In the same way I don’t think that restaurants have any control over my diet, I have never understood why the natural resource industry should be to blame for environmental challenges our society faces due to consumption. Natural resources are supplied due to a demand from society. You, me and each and every other friend, family member, and fellow citizen creates this demand yet we refuse to look in the mirror and reflect on how we can change. I guess it’s just much easier to blame. Let’s try and stop the blame game!