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Energy Development Wins When It’s Pitted Against Endangered Species

UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY 20 AUGUST 2019

Widespread species decline at the hands of humans is a powerful tale.

Widespread species decline at the hands of humans is a powerful tale. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 27 per cent of 100,000 assessed species are threatened with extinction. This disappearance is a warning that something is amiss on Earth.

The Anthropocene is the newly recognized geological epoch defined as widespread environmental change or crisis caused by human activity. Some predict history will remember it as the sixth mass extinction event on Earth.

Yet when the choice lies between protecting an endangered species or pursuing economic development, we almost always side with development. Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise: as a species, we have evolved with a predisposition to favour growth over environmentally rational decisions. The world is literally dying around us as we continue to pursue the myth of endless growth.

In June 2019, Canada’s federal government approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to carry oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. It did so despite an environmental assessment that found marine vessel traffic associated with the additional pipeline capacity will further dim the already dire prospects for the endangered southern resident killer whales.


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Image via University of Calgary.

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