I had an interesting opportunity this past weekend to set up a table at the St. John’s Earth Day Fair hosted at the Fluvarium. I hung up my RETHINK MUSKRAT FALLS sign, and laid on the table the NL government flyers that came out this past fall, a recent press release from the NDP and one of my blog entries.
I wasn’t able to stand at the booth all day, so taped a sheet to the table top that asked the question “What do you think.”
It was anonymous.
I thought I would share some of the thoughts:
“Small run of the river projects could create job where people are and be much better for the planet!”
“There are better ways! Government should rethink the profit margin!”
“This project is great in theory, but it has tied up money and intention and has side lined alternatives.”
“There are better solutions! Wave, tidal, small hydro …”
“Where is the environmental scan to identify a range of energy solutions?”
“what about respect for Aboriginal rights? Especially Nunatukavut’s?”
AND MY FAVOURITE …. “This is old technology that was withered and passed us by. Sad to say we are beset with an albatross of monumental catastrophic consequence.” Not to mince words, right?
The conversations at the table included one woman who shared with me that in all the fuss about the College of the North Atlantic cuts, something that might not get headline news, is that funding was cut for the Wave Energy Research Centre on Lord’s Cove! (Looking for confirmation on this if you know of anything.)
On the RETHINK Facebook page I am soon after informed that the EPA is reporting that only about 40% of rivers and 45% of lakes (#6) in the US are unfit for fishing or swimming in. WHAT!? Folks, we are not much different from them, and surely we are on a similar path.
Yet there is always someone else who is reluctant and unsure about the project, and states “but we need the power.”
Great, we need the power, so we push ahead with a program that includes devastating the local communities, disrespecting the aboriginal rights in the area, disregarding the fact that there is no way to tell what the environmental implications will be. We hide our heads in the sand by cutting the funds for research into other ways of getting this energy we need and assuming that the last of river ways that can support life in North America is not our concern.
I have not been blogging and posting and sharing as much as I would like to be since Christmas. With many personal issues, other volunteer work, a busy time of year at my day job and very little personal time left for family and friends it has been hard to stay on top of it.
Fortunately for the government and Nalcor, they have people on staff whose full time job is to keep the people of Newfoundland and Labrador thinking that this project is exactly what we need. That isn’t the same for everyone. People can be shut up with all sorts of lines: We need the energy, we are wasting money by consulting and dealing with objections, this is a sure thing, we have federal support, the alternatives are not appropriate for our climate, the alternatives are still in research stages, we need the energy now.
Oh right, the government and Nalcor also has the money to quiet people. This looks like short term jobs for locals, jobs for people who are coming home from away and the spin off hush of the people who may not agree with the project, yet their best friend, their aunt or their cousin has work because of the project … and how can you speak out loudly with that looking you in the face. Of course this also looks like throwing protesters in jail for completely unprecedented reasons.
What I find interesting is that despite the fact that the government and Nalcor have individuals who are taking cause of this business on pay role. Still the prevailing sentiment is that people of Newfoundland and Labrador continue to be unsure or unsupportive of this project. It is getting harder to assume it is stoppable, so the next best thing becomes compensation.
I would hope that our current government sees the reality here. There is a difference between support and exhaustion. Premier Dunderdale, do not mistake the fact that I have to go to work in the morning and help my Girl Guides sell cookies in the evening as a support for your project.
Now, I must get ready to go to work.