Today the journey to the tar sands comes to an end. I spent this day asking a new question: what can we do about the tar sands? I wanted to get past the usual answer for this: 'education and get involved.' As important as these are, we've all heard this a million times and quite frankly, the world hasn't changed enough with this advice.
So what's next? To answer this question, I met with Randall Benson who is a former tar sands worker. Randall left working for the tar sands that he found destructive to create his own solar and wind power company. It's a small business in Alberta, but he invited me to help install some solar panels on a huge building in the outskirts of Edmonton.
I really felt like right there, on a burning hot roof of a random building in Alberta, that I was part of the green revolution -- even just for a moment. Because this is where the future lies -- this is what is next!
A lot of people talk about stopping the tar sands, fighting climate change and saving the world. But that all is just talk if we are not creating a new path for ourselves right now. Benson is part of creating that path.
To end oil and start a sustainability pathway, we need to create jobs and transitions for our way of life. It can't just begin and end with David Suzuki and Greenpeace campaigns. Instead in continuous jobs in sustainable technologies, local farming, low-impact transportation industries (rail and electric cars for example), geo-engineering adaptations to the climate change that is coming, as well as the many new ideas to come from minds that have not conceived them yet that will keep propelling a green economy into the future.
There is the beginning of this new economy and path right now with people like Benson and so many others in Canada, as well as across the world. For that I think it's an exciting time. I didn't think I was going to say that after seeing the tar sands, but it is. I believe we are at a crossroads with the tar sands and climate change. As we stand now, we have an opportunity to create something better.
Emily Hunter's Journey to the Tar Sands airs this fall on MTV News Canada.
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