Breaking the Cycle: Changing Alberta in the Present to Save the Future
Keywords:communication, education, environmental studies
Alberta’s resource power lies within the energy sector; in particular, the oil and gas industry. However, this same energy sector is contributing heavily to the destruction of the landscape and is contaminating the environment. This destructive pattern may seem unrelated to the province’s economy, but a closer look shows that they are, in fact, closely connected. This is largely due to a failure by both the industry and political leaders to have a vision for the economic future. Although oil and gas royalties, paid to the province for the right to use crown land for capital gain, provide considerable financing to support Alberta’s infrastructure, redirecting a large portion of those royalties back into the energy sector has contributed to the provincial budget surplus plummeting into a budget deficit. Couple this with a consistent failure to impose environmental accountability on heavily polluting energy companies and limited support for sustainable energy practices and innovations. Continuing on this path is a short sighted plan that puts both the Alberta and Canadian economies at risk as they fail to diversify and move forward with the rest of the world as it makes changes toward reducing emissions and increasingly supports ecological practices. Instead, Alberta must shift their focus away from the tradition of investing in the oil industry and, as many other regions worldwide have done, invest in renewable resources, sustainable practices, and increase support for local energy innovations to ensure the province’s energy sector, environment, and economy move towards a strong future.