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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wordle Shows Dominant Themes in Alberta's Oil Sands Strategic Plan

Wordle: Alberta's Oil Sands Strategy
Here is a Wordle image of the text content of the recently released Alberta Government report entitled "Responsible Actions: A Plan for Alberta's Oil Sands." This technique measures the frequency of incidences of words and is a rough measure of relative importance of various concepts and themes in the document. Frequency of words is not the only measure of import and the absence of some key words and concepts may be even more telling of the mindset of the authors.

You can go to Wordle to see a larger vew of this image by searching for Alberta Oil Sands Strategy.

Responsible Actions is a very interesting document that I have just read and feel the need to take time to reflect on for a bit and to let the content and context sink in and gel. First impressions is that it is less than an action plan and more of a strategic framework, and for me that is a good thing. It is important to be asking the right questions before you rush to seeking answers.

Others, especially in the ENGO community are crititical of this and see it as a critical shortcoming of the report. They want more of an immdeidate action plan. I see that need for an immediate and urgent andb detailed action plan as the next step. But without a clear and considered working framework the outlines the principles and purposes a rush to action can be ill-conceived poorply executed and then do more harm than good.

The report takes a very integrated and comprehensive and long term triple bottom line approach that seeks to be responsible and sustainable and even adaptive. That is a significant difference in the consciousness of the way the Alberta government used to look at oil sands development which was growth was good regardless of the high costs due to the decade of break-neck development pace, physical and social infrastructure capacity limits or even the ecological consequences.

I commend the report as good reading, perhaps even required reading, for any engaged Alberta citizen who wants to see the thinking of their government on this most critical of economic, social and environmental issues for us and quite possibly for the planet. It is some very good thinking and now we need some serious commitment to effective and immediate implementation.