Sunday, January 19, 2014

Neil Young Bluster and Godfried Rant


I currently work in the oil industry and so, by Eastern Canadian definition my opinion is suspicious while $70 million dollar worth Californian Neil Young’s opinion is trustworthy because he is such a great Canadian singer.  Oh, he flew a few minutes over an oil sands facility with a photographer and is obviously an unbiased expert. Yeah right!  He may mean well when he spends his time in a burned out basement with the full moon in his eyes. But really, do his over-the-top statements open a discussion on the oil sands?  I had the impression that everyone in this country and in the U.S. has been discussing oil sands nearly as long as I can remember.  The oil sands discussion is nearly as polarized as abortion or global warming, eh… climate change. The latest term ‘climate change’ is truly hilarious. Climate has changed since the dawn of time, or better since the creation of this planet 5 billion years or so ago.
Just because I work in the oil industry does not mean I am a big oil crony without integrity. I do not need to work anymore.  Remember reading my profile?  I am a financial adult, i.e. my income is virtually independent of my employer. But unlike Neil, I do use oil and gas and coal and iron ore and gold ore and potash and meat and many other things in my life.  I even use bank and brokerage accounts and thus I am obviously a crony of big banking. I must be the devil personified because I am a ‘one per center’, oil crony, big bank buddy and…. currently I am voting conservative (barring any real serious alternatives).  How amazing that I don’t fall for aspiring demagogues like Justin T and Thomas M!  And what is the impact of voting for Green Party leader Elizabeth May?
No, I am independent of the oil industry (as far as anyone can be independent of this high impact industry); yes I own a few oil and gas stocks but most of my holdings are in physical real estate, banking, insurance and U.S. stocks.  Then why do I work in the oil industry?  I have been thinking about life and came to the following simple conclusion: When everything is brought down to its essence, the question is what the meaning of the existence of a God is.  The answer is probably something like that God exists because he exists and that the meaning of his existence is exactly the same as ours (maybe not yours but surely mine): we don’t exist to die as the ultimate goal in life! We live to travel towards a goal no matter what that goal is. It is the manner in which we travel towards our end rather than the end itself that counts.  It is not about our place in history – we all, no matter how famous, will fade into nothingness over the eons.  Whether there is a continuing existence after this life is immaterial for us now!  As such, we must aim to travel well along the road of life because if not, we’re wasting the only thing that counts. For me life is a valuable gift and I want do something valuable with it.  Yes, it may be valuable for someone to be always on vacation, but that is not the case for me. I want to be contributing to my life and to that of those around me… possibly have even a positive impact on people beyond my immediate sphere of influence.

That is why I work in the oil industry, to help find energy in a responsible way for me and my fellow creatures on this earth – I would like to include the entire universe and possibly even God but then I know a bit about my limits. I like to find and exploit our oil and gas resources as efficiently and sustainably as possible. We live in a somewhat capitalist system. I do not want that a lot different – the current economic and social systems in Canada combine profit, personal accountability and social responsibility close to optimum.  Yes nothing is perfect and yes there are always successful and less successful people, no matter how you describe success.
I live in Alberta which right now, in my books, is one of the best places on earth to live! We have a beautiful nature – mountains and prairies. Our climate is close to superb: a clear winter and summer and, less nice, messy falls and springs.  No even the fall here is spectacular. We have only 4 million people living in Alberta. For comparison: the Netherlands, another excellent place to live, counts sixteen million people living in an area that fits between Calgary and Edmonton.  I live less than  an hour’s drive from the spectacular Rocky Mountains or the semi-arid plains of Southern Alberta. So why would I and many other Albertans wish to destroy this fantastic country? Just so we can buy another micro-wave oven of 55 inch TV?  You know, for a good retirement life I need only $30,000 or so per year plus a nice place to live.  As such why would I destroy the world around me for just more money?  No life is not about money it is about how we live and how we benefit those around us.

 


Here is a photo of our spectacular nature just 50 minutes outside Calgary and there is so much more. Neil Young, I appreciate your good intentions but, please, just shut up if the only thing you do is creating divisiveness. Yes, a bunch of teenagers commenting on the Globe & Mail ranting and raving against the world as it is that I can understand. But a winner of the Order of Canada with 75 years-plus life experience, from you I expect a more sophisticated view of life. Neil, goddammit, Grow Up! You were my favorite teenage rock star, I can’t count how often I played ‘After the Gold Rush’ but man you should now be 40 years wiser!

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