February 16, 2012
By Matt Palmer
One of my issues with Dr Suzuki is that he has built mission to push society to be more environmentally responsible and sensitive with a message filled with inflammatory rhetoric. At times self-righteous and angry, he doesn’t pull punches, and maybe that is understandable given the level of self-righteous anger often aimed at him. I’m sure being labeled a radical does not feel good, when in your heart, you feel you are fighting a just cause.
Dr Suzuki can be a very polarizing person, and many dismiss him outright. That is unfortunate, because if you strip away the rhetoric, he raises important issues and perspectives for discussion.
No matter where you sit on the energy debate, on the issue of oil sands or pipelines. take a moment to read Dr Suzuki’s post from the Huffington Post today, and consider the arguments he presents, free from the rhetoric. This may seem odd given that in the article he states that “part of the solution requires untangling the rhetoric”. Yet, his article is equally filled with rhetoric. Nevertheless, if we want to find solutions to the energy challenges we are facing, we need to step back and honestly evaluate all possibilities.
Critical thinking requires thinking outside your own box, letting go what you think is the right answer, and considering contrary ideas. In this case, both sides are convinced they are right, rather than considering it may not be about being right, but rather focusing on challenging all facets of society on being better with all our resources.
I don’t agree with all that Dr Suzuki says, but I have respect for his desire to see us become better stewards of the environment and resources. It’s hard to argue with his case for using fossil fuels more efficiently. That makes sense.
I don’t like it when he uses terms like “petro dollar” or “industry shills”. To me that is no better than the government calling environmentalists “radicals”. These are school yard antics, and we are all better than that.
All we’re saying is let’s step back and think of a sensible way to go about this. And by “we,” I mean most of us. I mean you and me. I mean the people our governments are supposed to represent. They can say we’re radical if it makes them sleep better at night, but we prefer the term “rational.”
Being rational and pragmatic will bring us to consensus. Rational also means understanding there are some realities to the system we live in, realities that are not easily reversed or changed. But as always, there is hope.