Regina - Rick Morrell, organic farmer, grocery store owner and executive director of the Saskatchewan Eco Network wants to see less reliance on oil due to climate change impacts. He’s concerned about potential “worldwide famine and wars about food. It’s not an acceptable scenario. Canada and pretty much every country in the world has agreed we need to stop the temperature from going up. The scientific community is very clear the amount of carbon in the air already is at a dangerous level, and if we keep on adding more carbon to the air, it’s going to get even more dangerous.
“We need to make a transition to an economy that isn’t run on fossil fuels fairly quickly, and fracking isn’t part of that picture. Whether it’s a fracked well or not a fracked well, most of it has to stay in the ground. What I would encourage your readership to do is start investing in other industries that are going to be part of the future. I think that’s the biggest consensus message that came out of the meeting. If you’re going to pump oil, pump the easy stuff. If you’ve got to try any harder, or spend more money to get at it, it makes no sense in terms of the future.”
When asked if the farmers present planned on parking their diesel-burning tractors in favour of oxen, he replied, “We’re not actually advocating 100 per cent loss of fossil fuels. Eventually we can get there. The tractor can be run on biodiesel if it’s done with the right feedstock, if you’re not using a bunch of fossil fuels to create it. Most of the cars and stuff are going to have to run on electricity generated by renewables. I’m sure there’s ways we can run tractors without fossil fuels, but in the meantime, tractors would damned near be the last things run on fossil fuels.
“There may be certain other uses, industrial applications where it’s not efficient to use electricity, even from a renewable source. You may need a number of BTUs where you still need to use natural gas for that function.
“It’s not a religious thing. It’s just we need to get down to the place where we’re not adding carbon.”
To mitigate impacts like rising ocean levels, he said, “We need to change to other sources of energy.
“The oilpatch made some good money, and they should invest it in things that are useful.”
We noted how people in the oilpatch find it galling when those protesting fossil fuels may have gotten to the protest in their SUV, and they didn’t walk there. Morrell responded, “Some of them (didn’t walk). Lots road their bikes. But I know what you’re saying. Hypocrisy is something that upsets people. But it also doesn’t make it not true. Once we have the infrastructure for electric cars, that’s what they’re going to drive.
“Something else we realized a while ago is that people are not going to give up their cars. That’s just how it is. It’s not the existence of cars, or even SUVs. That’s not the issue. The issue is what’s happening to the atmosphere and what’s going to happen to the food supply. It’s not a religious thing about ‘fossil fuels are the devil.’ That’s not the case at all. It’s quite possible there will always be a role for fossil fuels, we’ve just got to stop putting so much up there we’re going to ruin our future.”