The problem with the environmental movement in BC is not so much what they say in defence of Mother Earth but what they assume everyone (converted and unconverted alike) should then do to protect the natural order. Having failed to convince the general public that now is the time to act immediately on saving the world from GHGs (Greenhouse gases), organizations like the Sierra Club, Green Peace, and the Union Against Pipelines have decided to go public in an effort to make its case, especially on the eve of a hotly contested provincial election. Both left-wing opposition parties – the NDP and the Greens – are along for the ride as they add a welter of political promises to the campaign to make BC a leader in clean energy. No more pipelines, no more tankers, a complete dismantling of the Site C dam, and a moratorium on LNG development, with or without a Carbon tax, depending who on the Left you are talking with. For people who support these radical initiatives, the alternatives are simple: solar, wind, and biofuel to heat BC homes and commercial buildings, with electricity and hydrogen fueling our vehicles of the future. This vision for transition, as the Suzukies and Lewises of this world are quick to tell us, will only happen if there is a government in place that has the will to make tough decisions. So this is where I come into the picture: as one of those very skeptical Canadians who is not completely sold on throwing the baby out with the bath water – in this case heavy bitumen – I continue to hold out for a more perfect world where conventional energy forms and technology can still hold their place in society as we look for better ways to drive, heat, move, transmit, and grow our economy. Kevin O’Leary, a prominent candidate for leadership of the Canadian Conservative Party, is right when he says we can’t effectively afford a decent lifestyle without at least 3% growth. So I turn up at a public meeting dedicated to discussing various tactics and tools in this war to save the environment from being destroyed. All the political candidates – Liberal, Green, NDP, Libertarian, Communist – were there to be grilled on what they would do to make life sustainably better for future generations. In the course of the free-wheeling, bearpit evening, each candidate spoke to what their party would do to clean up and protect our ‘pristine’ environment of orcas, dolphins, grizzlies, deer, elk, wild salmon, clean water, old-growth timber, the definition of sustainability seemed to get wider. The Liberal candidate seemed to offer any practical solution that looked to the future in terms of being able to pay for itself. Both the Greens and the Socialists seemed to be playing a game of cut-throat the whole time as they tried to outdo the other in what they could nix if elected: tolls, fees, carbon tax, pipelines and LNG all in the interest of making the province a more affordable place to live. A tax increase on the rich, plus an elimination of current government ‘wrongheaded’ thinking, should be enough to pay for a comprehensive provincial daycare program along with other sustainable social program. An interesting proposal but nobody in the Lion’s Den that night – with the exception of the Liberal candidate – seemed to have a clue as to how to really pay for this grand social and ecological transformation. While the roar of approval for all the politically correct statements coming from the panelists was unmistakable, nobody seemed to get beyond the realm of sound and fury. There was a line being drawn in the sand where the majority of people in the audience, with the exception of the Liberals, were seething with contempt for all things big corporation, banks, capitalism, fossil fuels, big government and Christy Clark.The problem with their howls of indignation and roars of execration is that they are all for naught if there is no change in government on May 9th. Sure, many British Columbians, excluding myself, are worried about building more pipelines and increased tanker traffic on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean the preponderance of voters will support a certain party who endorses that position without first looking at the very real economic consequences.