Following her suggestion that the oil and gas industry was unethical (likening it to tobacco and munitions – see Oil and gas unethical?) Dunedin Councillor Jinty MacTavish has been asked on Facebook:
“Presumably you are going to take a principled stand and boycott all the products of the oil and gas industry as you believe they are unethical?”
I personally don’t own a private motor vehicle – I ride, walk and bus as much as I possibly can – and I take other measures to reduce my carbon emissions as far as practicable.
Yes, because of the society we live in and the systems our society has built over time, all of us rely on fossil fuels to some extent or another, and I’m no different. I’m super aware of that, and it’s entirely possible I will look back in 10 years time and wish I’d taken steps to further reduce my carbon consumption.
An option that’s available to me would be to try to avoid any part of our society that uses fossil fuels…but making that call would mean I couldn’t contribute much to changing the system!
For me, it’s not about judging people for their use of fossil fuels, it’s about acknowledging that we’re all in this boat together, and that we collectively need to be moving away from damaging fuel sources.
In my view, it’s a challenge for our whole society, and we need a society-wide response – to change this to the extent that we possibly can, to avoid the misery that would be associated with climate change over 2 degrees of warming.
I’m not perfect, I don’t claim to be – but I don’t think that makes additional fossil fuel exploration a more sensible or ethical thing to be investing ratepayers’ resources in.
That acknowledges the reality of the pervasiveness of oil use in our society.
It also appears to soften her stance on “unethical” in relation to oil and gas, moving from an absolute to a more towards a relative level of ethics – but it’s not clear what that’s relative to.
Yesterday I asked Cr Mactavish:
“If Dunedin could secure enough business and economic benefits from gas drilling and recovery off our coast to enable us to invest in much better energy efficiency and alternatives to oil/gas powered transport, thereby enabling a significant reduction in fossil fuel use, what would your position be on it?”
She hasn’t responded yet.