Thursday, Apr 2, 2020
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Time to wean ourselves off fossil fuels 

Dear Editor,

In a recent Tribune article, Minister for the Environment Romauld Ferriera stated that the Bahamian people will determine the fate of any commercial oil discovery in Bahamian waters.

He stated that The Bahamas had reached the stage where it “needs to know” if the Bahamas Petroleum Company’s (BPC) decade-plus exploration work will translate into the discovery of commercial oil fields below the nation’s seabed.

But he did not commit to holding a referendum on oil drilling in Bahamian waters should the company prove successful and argued there were “many routes” through which the electorate can express their will.

Leadership carries with it a responsibility to educate and to inform those being led.

Leaders must exemplify sound decision making on behalf of those they are chosen to lead.

With this in mind, I am suggesting that Ferreira step aside, or be relieved, of his position.

The world has changed immensely in the last five years. The coronavirus has changed our immediate worldview.

The science that has come to light in the last five years alone should be enough to motivate the world into action as much as this recent and ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This science has laid bare the lies that have been fed to us about the continued unregulated and profligate use of fossil fuels for our transportation and energy needs.

Ferreira must know this.

He must have read the results of these scientific reports stating in no uncertain terms the urgent need to reduce and replace fossil fuels for the survival of our species and most other sentient creatures on this planet.

Daily, there is more certainty that smoking cigarettes is bad for you, that overeating leads to many health problems, that insecticides and pesticides are insidiously deadly.

Despite these findings, there are some who would continue to argue, or ignore, the science.

It is time for education, reason and a strong moral compass to move to center stage.

I refuse to believe that Ferreira is ignorant of these facts.

No honest person capable of thinking themselves out of a paper bag can ignore what the scientific community has recently been screaming about.

Instead, I believe that he is merely acting as a politician. He is protecting a class of people who seem to have little interest in the long term survival of The Bahamas and little regard for our people.

Ferreira must know that The Bahamas’ very existence is now measured in decades, due specifically to the rising sea levels, proven beyond reasonable doubt, unquestionably hastened by our burning of fossil fuels.

And yet, despite the nearly overwhelming evidence that we are acting in favor of our own demise, we refuse to accept and acknowledge this important science, and change our ways.

While Ferreira stated there were many routes through which the electorate can express their will, he didn’t elaborate. He merely nixed the idea that the Bahamian people would truly have a say in this matter.

Perhaps he was reminded of another referendum in which the government unabashedly and resoundingly ignored the will of the people.

I wish there was an effort on Ferreira’s part to educate our people on this matter of drilling for oil in The Bahamas.

If he had read anything “environmentally related” in the last few years, he would tell us that the scientific community has stated in no uncertain terms that “we”, humanity, must wean ourselves from fossil fuels, the sooner the better.

Some people like Trump thought this coronavirus was a hoax.

Some, equally ignorant, are calling climate change a hoax.

Ferreira should tell the Bahamian people that the likelihood of this country truly benefiting from finding oil is minuscule. He should tell us that our present economy is unlikely to survive a major oil spill mishap.

He should outline a simple, but Christian moral code, whereby we are responsible in acting on behalf of our children, and not just ourselves.

There is no country in the world that has seen oil production improve the lives of their people, not even Norway. In Norway, it is their taxation and socialist policies that have provided benefits for their people.

Only ignorance is at odds with these realities.

Ferreira stated that, “like most governments, we strive for the utilitarian approach, which is to do the greatest good for the greatest number”.

No, Mr. Ferreira, most governments do not do the greatest good for the greatest number.

There is no aspect of reality that supports your statement. None.

Do you have to look anywhere past The Bahamas to shoot down that ridiculous claim?

Governments serve those with the most money. Find me an exception.

The realities of fossil fuel production have impoverished this world in many ways.

It has unfairly shaped and skewed the political and economic landscape of this world. It has poisoned and sickened hundreds of millions of our people.

It has destroyed the fabric of life which we depend upon.

It has put the very survival of humanity at stake, while those who see nothing but money continue to spout their damaging rhetoric and sow seeds of uncertainty around our need to act.

Ferreira must know all this. He can read and lives in this world.

We in The Bahamas have the unique and short opportunity to be world leaders. Instead, we continue to grovel at the feet of the money masters.

All evidence suggests that we must, in no uncertain terms, wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

We need bold initiatives from smart leaders to accomplish these goals for the survival of The Bahamas.

 

Norman Trabulsy Jr.,

Andros

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