Tim, the Reluctant Transitioner, doesn’t want to go Off-Grid again

Tim lives in western Canada. He rants about many things to do with modern life, especially sustainability. Recently he has been critical of the Transition Movement but I believe he is coming round to it. This little piece from Tim illustrates how the peak oil message is getting through – but not to all. It also shows some of the complexity of views held by different influential people around the world and how Transition’s message is being distorted by others. He also writes well. Read on…

Ezra Levant is a Canadian media personality and author of increasing prominence. In my view, he is a composite of the very best and very worst of ‘conservativism’ as it is known in Canada. He has been a fearless crusader against censorship, corruption in the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Co.], Islamopandering and political correctness. Good on him. But coupled with these virtues is a profound ignorance of ecological issues. Unfortunately, he is quite gifted in showcasing this ignorance in an entertaining and persuasive manner.  The following two short videos are a sample of his invaluable work on behalf of Big Oil and the ideology of endless growth.

In these  diatribes he describes a good part of the enviornmental movement as a ‘death cult’ with a ‘toxic’, ‘anti-human’, ‘anti-progress, ‘anti-technology’ message. He directs particular scorn at “luddites” and “transition” crazies, who want to “de-energize and de-industrialize” our society and destroy our quality of life. Whereas the early luddites smashed machinery, modern luddites are killing pipelines with their petitions.  The reason we enjoy comfort is because of the triumph of  technology, human ingenuity and freedom, freedom which is threatened by those who want the nanny state to tell us to recycle, use low flush toilets and regulate our lives.  The bottom line is that these anti-industry, anti-progress environmentalists HATE oil, and some of them hate it so much they are telling us lies about it running out. That is what drives them. That is the world according to Levant. And that is the world that, if you believe the polls, most Albertans and western Canadians live in too, including many who do not vote for Harper’s Conservatives.

What frustrates me about Levant’s rant is that there is a kernel of truth mixed in with his ignorance and sophistry. There ARE people in the green movement (he calls them Deep Ecologists, I call them anarcho-primitivists) who do believe that a pre-industrial existence would be lovely. They believe that life would be so much better ‘off the grid’.  I am not one of them.  I know what it is like to live without electricity. It is an effing pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth. And I know a lot of people like me, who having ‘roughed it’, never want to go back to that life again.  I like civilization. I like the amenities I enjoy, and am grateful for what modern medicine and medical technology has done for me.  But that is not the point. The point is that according to what I read, this civilization, the civilization that I enjoy,  is not sustainable.  It is not a conclusion I want to reach, but there it is.

So the choice then, is either to let it continue with [business-as-usual] and crash with horrendous consequences—–a very ‘anti-human’ option surely—- or try to de-industrialize and de-populate incrementally so as to lessen the pain and shorten the casualty list. That, according to Levant, is a toxic, anti-human proposal.  And it would be—– if you believe, like Levant, that non-renewable natural resources and human ingenuity are inexhaustible. But I don’t. So count me as a luddite.




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