Skip to content

Students’ green protest not best use of time

“The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus (circa 500 BC)

A few weeks back, there was a student protest where many students around the world skipped school for the day as a protest for the lack of action by global leaders on the issue of climate change. The issue was apparently initiated three months ago by a Swedish teenager by the name of Greta Thunberg. The protest appears to have caught on in the United States and also resulted in a demonstration at the Alberta Legislature on March 14.

I find it somewhat ironic firstly that it was initiated in Sweden on Dec. 14, Sweden being a leader on action against climate change.

I also find it ironic that it happened at the Alberta Legislature during the tenure of our current government that has taken more action on the issue than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

It also remains questionable whether the actions being taken here in Alberta and other jurisdictions have actually had any effect on the reduction of greenhouse gases. This raises the question as to whether climate change is really the result of anthropogenic action or whether it is a natural phenomenon.

Since the initial report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1990, any opposition to the IPCC proposal has continuously and viciously been squelched. Despite the hostility to the deniers of global warming, there continue to be many learned scientists coming forth with logical explanations of our continually changing climate.

While I salute the concerns of these young people in taking action on an issue that will most definitely affect them more than us older folks, I would like to suggest that rather than taking a day off from school to protest, they would be better advised to take the day to research both sides of the issue and pose a debate between the opposite viewpoints and learn more about the issue. They might also consider what imprudent spending into deficit territory means for their future economic outlook, which is relevant to current spending on climate change initiatives.

It is unfortunate that in our day and age there is so much information out there much of which is unscientific and is pure propaganda. We are in an age of perception management where various groups have deliberately been engaged to modify public opinion. This is particularly true with the current outrage against the U.S. Trust Funds, like Tides International and the Rockefeller Foundation, that have been funding environmental and Indigenous groups to oppose Canadian pipelines in a stated effort to sway investment capital away from Canada and tarnish the appeal of Alberta oil by generating a “highly negative media profile” and a “steady drumbeat of bad press” in order to brand Alberta oil as the “poster child” of dirty fuel.

St. Albert students wisely spent their time focused on building “hope” for a bright future. I’m sure that will bring more results than skipping school for a climate change rally.

Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.