Sunday, January 03, 2010

Some Guiding Principles I Intend to Follow for 2010

I have been mulling over a suggestion from Chris Brogan for a couple of days now. He selects three words each year to guide his actions and thinking rather than set New Years Resolutions.  It made a lot of sense to me but I still had to figure out what concepts I was going to select to guide me.  I have been doing some serious thinking and reflection over the holiday about the coming year.  I have finally landed on some principles I will want to follow in for 2010 and here they are:

Citizenship: I am going to try and help Albertans, and even Canadians on some issues, to re-engage in the politics and the governance of our times. Citizens have become passive consumers of policies, programs and politics and see government as a vending machine that delivers products, goods and services to us. We citizens must revisit our role and relationship with governance and the political processes the produces power and influence in Alberta and Canada.  Reboot Alberta is going to be a big part of 2010 for me in this regard.

Ownership: Albertans have become serfs when it comes to dealing with our natural resources. We have delegated all of our ownership rights and responsibilities to our politicians. As a result they political processes happen in private and even covertly behind our backs. We are merely policy takers as our government gives away our royalty rents to the companies who they decide will get to exploit them. This giveaway by our government reduces the birthright wealth creation of future generations. It limits our ability to provide long term stability for our economy, diminishes the demands to fully account for the environmental costs of resource extraction, including reclamation and puts the tenants in control. Albertans have to start thinking and acting like owners of their natural resources and making demands on returns, responsible and sustainable exploitation and new ways to add value here, not merely sending jobs and wealth down pipelines.  I came to be concerned about Ownership of our resources from reading the Royalty Review Panel Report and watching the subsequent government retreat from the sound reasoning in that report. 

Stewardship: Albertans have the blessing and burden of the second largest concentration of hydrocarbon energy deposits in the world. We have a set of values and a mindset as people that we must be careful and cautious about how were take advantage of this resource in an integrated economic, environmental and societal approach. We know we need to protect habitat, water, air and soil in all that we do in promoting wealth creation and progress. We are mindful of our opportunities and our responsibilities but we are way too passive in pressing our government to provide appropriate stewardship policies and protections. I have been working in the Boreal Forest for about 5 years now and most recently around mountain pine beetle infestation and helping to develop a conservation/biodiveristy offset policy for the province.

So those are going to be my guiding principles going forward for 2010. They are large conceptual baskets that will give me great flexibility.  They will also force me to address them as foundational to all my activities and aspirations for myself, my family, my community, my province - and in some ways; my nation, going forward.

So, Happy New Year everybody! 2010 promises to be interesting and volatile. All the more reason to be grounded in some fundamental principles as we go forward as Albertans. Thank you for reading and sharing your comments on this blog over the past year. I look forward to more and better blogging in the year to come.