Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Environmental Issues: We Need A Paradigm Shift

This Is Not My Work But It Is My Belief

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger

A response to pro-industry First Nations

February 2, 2012 at 8:10am
First off, I want to acknowledge that many of our people are employed by industry and their families depend on the oil & gas sector for employment.  I respect and acknowledge that in many cases it truly is the only real employer.  In Fort McMurray for instance you cannot support a family on wages outside the oil and gas industry.  The cost of living has ballooned out of control just as much as the tar sands. However, one must recognize that before the oil and gas sector arrived in the area the diversity of employment was greater and communities farther north continued subsistence lifestyles that sustained them for centuries.  That is becoming more and more a story of the past.  Not by choice, but by force.  Many people have turned to jobs with the oil and gas sector after loss of land, scarcity of animals for sustenance and the disappearance of other employment sectors.

I have felt a growing need to respond to those that believe that the tar sands industry is good for our people and that Alberta is leading the way in sustainable energy.  First off, we need to drop this notion and government propaganda that Alberta is a world leader in sustainable energy. It's simply not true, if anyone is it's Germany (http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/04/germany-the-worlds-first-major-renewable-energy-economy.) Germany has made the transition away from coal and other fossil fuels through a multi-prong approach that involves exploration of different renewable energy sectors. Germany has far less sun and far less wind then Alberta and yet these energy methods represent a large energy market. They are proof that we (Alberta and Canada alike) are actually falling farther and father behind globally in sustainable energy.

Alberta has been touting SAGD or in-situ as its crown jewel of sustainable tar sands technology. SAGD, or in-situ may be less expensive and appear to be cleaner, but it has more devastating impacts on ground water systems. In-Situ projects consume about twice as much natural gas and water than the open pit tar sands mining operations. In some cases, In-Situ operates on much more dubious forms of energy-- such as burning "asphaltene" (a bitumen waste) and emitting far more greenhouse gases than natural gas. Basically, it's a misnomer that SAGD is greener or cleaner.

Although wind and solar energy would never meet the needs of millions of the cars currently on the road, we are seeing a trend by auto makers to introduce more and more hybrid and electric vehicles. This will equal less need for oil and gas for vehicles in the future. I am fully aware that there will always be a need for oil & gas in some capacity, however, it is the rate in which we are mining and utilizing it that is the issue. We have run away infrastructure in the tar sands that hasn't even taken the time to do baseline studies on the environment, the people and the rights of first nations. That is neither sustainable or acceptable.  What we need is to curb our energy consumption levels.  This isn't some ideallistic request, but a reality that we are now realizing we all have to face.  It's completely necessary for humans to move in this direction.  As we adjust our consumption levels we can be building the infrastructure (AKA Jobs) needed to transition to a renewable energy sector.

I agree that massive wind and solar farms are not the answer and in some cases bring forward troubling consequences. I believe the answer is creating regional small scale renewable energy infrastructures that meet the needs of communities. We shouldn't be building massive renewable energy projects hundreds of miles away to power massive cities.  What we need as a society is going to take some serious ingenuity on our part.  Doing it this way would create more localized economies, jobs and create more independence for communities. Currently, Fort Chipewyan members are looking at this option. What it would do is create local jobs, local control of their energy and reduce the cost of living for people in the North. I really don't see a negative impact of this.

We should be pushing for more subsidies for the renewable energy sector and First Nation's have a real opportunity to lead the way in creating the businesses, infrastructure and jobs for our people and our country. First Nation communities should not be waiting for big multi-national corporations to come into our territory, destroying our lands and offering us piece meal contracts and low level employment. It's time our people take our land, our power and control of our economies back. We have a real opportunity to pick up the slack and meet the needs of an energy sector that will be rising in the future. Now is the time for us to be leading the way, not taking what we can get from tar sands. We have the ability to create the road map for our future and create energy models that respect our rights, our land and our culture.

Only time will tell, but I truly hope that our First Nation leaders take the time to really think about the future of our people and start paving the way for a sustainable future for mother earth.

Dolphin Hunting Does Not Become Moral Because Of Your Ancestory

Saturday, 8 March 2014


One of the things that has stopped me from healing has been my fear. I have been afraid to go into the Kingdom of the Dragons. I knew that there were horrors there. I knew they had the power to destroy me. But now I find the Dragons have invaded my land and that I either heal myself by facing the horrors in their land or allow them to destroy me in mine. 


Friday, 7 March 2014

Healing: Focusing On The Beautiful Rather Than The Ugly

Somehow, and I am unsure just how, I became more and more focused upon the ugly in our world. There may be those who can focus on the ugly and remain positive. Most assuredly I am not one of them. My need now is to concentrate upon the beautiful. My camera is a great help. 

I Lost My Mindfulness And Intentionality But I Am Working At Getting Them Back

For about the last eight months I have been finding myself less and less well. Physically, spiritually and emotionally things were just going downhill.

My wife suggested that I needed to re-read and think upon the spiritual masters that have made a difference in my life. 

I took her suggestion and in the last week things have started to improve. Taoist Tai Chi is beginning to return health to my body. Walking and sitting meditations are allowing me to focus my mind where it needs to be. I had stopped being mindful and intentional about my journey and I have paid the price. 

Recovery will take a while but it is happening. The beautiful flowers that grace this blog were found in the deep shadows and undergrowth of our garden/temple.

As hard as it sometimes is for me to remember...

I have faith that in the darkest deepest shadows of your or my spirit such beauty is also to be found!