What “Radical Environmentalists” Really Look Like

Thanks to an Open letter penned by Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver there seems to be an awful lot of talk lately about “Radical Environmentalists”.

According to Minister Oliver, those who are challenging and fighting against the proposed Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline development, which would send raw Alberta Tar Sands bitumen to northern British Columbia and then onto China via massive super tankers “..threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”  Minister Oliver suggests that these radical environmentalists consists of foreigners, who recruit “jet-setting celebrities” and “use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”  It would appear that Minister Oliver believes that these foreign special interests are meddling in Canada’s national and economic best interests and that they should stay away since Canadians support the economic benefits that these pipelines will bring.

Well…it seems that Minister Oliver hasn’t been paying much attention lately to the loud, and growing louder by the day domestic voices who are also calling for a stop to the development of the Northern Gateway pipeline.  In fact it would appear that Minister Oliver has opted to paint everyone who opposes the pipeline with the same brush stroke and feels that the term “Radical Environmentalists” is a fitting one-size-fits-all moniker.

As a courtesy then I feel it is appropriate to share with Minister Oliver as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper a photographic illustration of what their definition of “Radical Environmentalists” would also include:

As you can plainly see, we are not jet setters.  Rather we are a family of proud Canadians.  We receive no funding from any special interest group and we support the notion of a Canada that is strong, prosperous and self reliant.

However where Minister Oliver gets it wrong is that we don’t feel that the potential consequences surrounding the development of the pipeline and the SHORT TERM economic gain that building it will bring, is worth the risk.  We question why we are being attacked by our own government who would rather sell our own resources to other countries while we still need to bring in oil from foreign countries who’s ethics our government questions.

The “Junior Radical Environmentalists” want to know that when they grow up, they will exist in a world where the environment has not become hazardous to their well being due to the greed and manipulation placed upon society by those who define prosperity differently than they do.  The adult radicals in this picture want to see our government invest in sustainable energy with the money that they send as subsidies to the already enormously profitable oil companies who rape and pillage our northern Alberta landscape.  We want our government to recognize that we haven’t inherited this planet from our ancestors but only borrowing it from the children we are pictured with.

To us, we don’t see ourselves as “Radical Environmentalists” but rather as “Environmental Activists” or better yet simply “Environmental Stewards”.  We recognize that the Conservative government’s myopic policies ultimately do more harm than good and we take offence when our own government would choose to indirectly identify us as enemies or our own national best interests.

However, if Minister Oliver insists on publicly attacking us and millions of others who feel the same as we do, then I suppose we’ll just have to get used to be identified as radical.  It’s seems weird that Conseratives would identify those who simply wish to be minimalist with our desecration of our environment for our own personal gain as “Radical” since it’s a minimalist philosophy that conservatives typically identify with.  One might argue it’s Minister Oliver’s position that is the radical one and ours is the conservative, but no matter.

If others reading this feel as we do and are now surprised at being labelled as a “Radical Environmentalist” perhaps you’d like to take a similar photo and  Tweet it to him.

While I’m not used to being viewed as a radical, I guess since it’s something I’ll just need to get used to…and become proud of the fact.  So thank you Minister Oliver for making me realize just how radical I really am!

Eric Novak

About Eric Novak

Eric Novak is a father of 4 who also thinks that environmental stewardship is a requisite of parenting. He's not a professional Dad nor is he an environmental scientist, but he's someone who gives a damn and is trying to make the right decisions as he lives his life as a father, environmentalist and business owner. Eric and his wife Karen have 4 children and reside in Ajax, Ontario.