The Lower Mainland of my childhood and youth was a place where hundreds of thousands of homes were heated by wood and coal.
For almost every mile of the Fraser River a sawmill beehive burner spewed smoke into the air.
As a child growing up in this environment, one could not see the beauty of the surrounding mountains that are today visible because of a dense cloud of pollution that hung over the communities located there.
Both technology and public concern, of that period, had failed to drive a change.
What has changed?
Our homes, industry and vehicles, thanks to hard working innovative North American and world inventors.
Canada, with a population of less than 10 people per square mile, leads the way.
Vehicles with comparative tiny, efficient motors create more horsepower and get gas mileage that could not have been dreamed of in those past days.
Our vehicles and homes, and all buildings of today, are using energy less than one tenth or less — the energy required of that period.
Oil, coal and natural gas are no longer the fuels that just turn the engines of our industry or heat our homes.
Tens of thousands of products that make our every day lives possible are now directly and indirectly derived from oil, coal and natural gas.
If you have never lived in the past, you have little way of judging the environment of today.
Developing nations need the technology of our oil, coal and gas.
Today in India one hundred million homes — three times the population of Canada — are still cooking and heating using traditional fuels such as dried cow dung, agricultural wastes, and firewood.
The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that hundreds of thousands of Indians die from indoor air pollution every year.
Discounting thousands of years of use, we now can’t buy local eggs, milk, and farm products because somebody, somewhere painted a picture that they are bad for us.
Environmentalists are painting a similar picture that Canada’s oil, coal, and gas is destroying the world.
Access to modern energy services not only contributes to world economic growth and household incomes but also to the improved quality of life that comes with better education and better health services.
All sources of energy will be needed to meet future world population growth and demand, including Canada’s oil, coal and natural gas.
Merry Christmas everyone.