I recently read "Tar Sands – Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent" by Andrew Nikiforuk. I found the book to be both dry (lots of statistics and numbers) and disturbing at the same time.

Now to be sure, the book is really about all the negative aspects of the exploitation of Alberta's oil sands. However, I do think it is important to see both sides of the story and welcomed a chance to understand some of the issues better.

Most of the book was about the socio, economic, political and environmental issues. There was one chapter at the end devoted to a solution but it felt more like a lame tack-on then a well thought out or well supported action plan.

I think all Albertans and Canadians should be more involved in issues like these that affect both our economic well being and our legacy to our children and grandchildren. Too many people either ignore the issues or are highly polarized one way or another.

Are politicians the puppets of big oil? Are oil companies inherently evil destroyers of the environment for profit? Are environmentalists misguided radicals at the fringe of society?

I think that type of talk is naive and does nothing to solve the real issues.

The world economy is addicted to oil and hyper consumption… no one can really deny that. The problem was 100 years in the making and won't be solved in a day without a great deal of turmoil.

Corporations are neither good nor evil. They are run by people and operate within the rules created by governments, or face repercussions. In Canada and other democratic nations, that means ultimately society sets the rules, directly or through neglect.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone to get more involved, understand the issues, communicate your views to your politicians and get out and vote… essentially exercise your democratic rights.

I know I will continue to look at what I can do to reduce, reuse and recycle in my life and with our business. It just feels right to me.