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May 18, 2013

SNOOK’S NOOK BLOG: Oil sands and consumption

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal

A Michigan-related story in Friday’s (May 17) edition of The New York Times makes for interesting reading and leaves me wondering about the viability and sustainability of our economy and way of life.  And the issues involved extend beyond our country; they are worldwide in scope.

A lead-in to the story says, “Refining Canada’s petroleum-soaked oil sands produces petroleum coke, and the question of what to do with it has found at least one answer in Detroit, where a large coke pile covers an entire city block.”

To check out the story, written by Ian Austen, click on the following link:  A Black Mound of Canadian Oil Waste Is Rising Over Detroit.

The NYT story also brought to mind a book I just finished reading:  Green Washed – Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet by Kendra Pierre-Louis.  In the final chapter, entitled ‘The Happiness Economy’, the author refers to Gross National Happiness (GNH), a measure “grounded in the recognition that wealth does not always lead to contentment” and says that “economic growth by itself does not lead to human well-being.  Instead of focusing exclusively on economic growth, GNH suggests that we focus instead on four pillars:  economic self-reliance, a pristine environment, the preservation and promotion of culture, and good governance.”

Pierre-Louis writes, “While our economic system depends on us consuming more, the environment demands that we use less.  This creates an uncomfortable tension between people and planet, of our short term well-being against our long term survival.  If we continue our current pace of consumption, we will get to keep our creature comforts – for awhile.  In the very near future, however, those comforts will be lost as we run out of resources.  It’s that simple.”

For additional insights regarding Green Washed – Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet, click on the following links to access two reviews of the book:

Any thoughts you might like share regarding this topic would certainly be welcome.  Simply use the ‘Leave a Reply’ comment form you’ll find at the bottom of the page.

Bruce Snook
River Country Journal


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