The tar/oil sands—toil sands if you will—persist. But even a rabid Fraser Instituter will own, when lightly cuffed, that we must eventually relinquish our dependence on non-renewable energy—or we will be relinquished. And eventuality does seem to be crowding us. At the same time, even the most strident environmentalist, when shaken by his shoulders, will understand that due to the vast infrastructure and gross investments in the sands, they will persist beyond next week.
Acknowledging this, is there not an alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline that could penetrate and draw together the minds of both opponent and supporter? Say, a method of bitumen/crude oil transportation that recognizes the reality of the tar-oil sands, but one that is also agile and capable enough as to easily reduce the load as fossil fuel is incrementally replaced by renewable energy? Here’s transportation expert, Richard Schmeling, on, of all things, trains.
"Christians conventionally think they’ve done enough when they’ve gone to the store and shopped. But that isn’t an economic life. It isn’t an economic practice. If you take seriously those passages in the scripture that say that we live by God’s spirit and his breath, that we live, move, and have our being in God, the implications for the present economy are just devastating. Those passages call for an entirely generous and careful economic life.”
Wendell Berry would no doubt agree with this biting diagnosis of our looming energy and climate crisis: “All human toil is for the mouth, yet the appetite is not satisfied (Ecclesiastes 6).”