Be a solutionist!

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On April 22nd activists plan an Arab spring for Québec.  They will demonstrate to bring key issues surrounding natural resources management and energy strategy in Québec to anyone who missed the news. Mining, forestry, nuclear, natural gas, everything will be covered.  They deserve credit for and will celebrate on April 22nd their successes in saying NO.

I blogged a few months ago about social media and how it was democratizing information.  We haven’t seen anything like it since the printing press, which caused a few disruptions of its own.  One result is new direct democracy powers even in countries without democracy.  Activists are invoking the imagery of popular uprisings in the Arab world when they call for a Québec Spring on April 22.

While currently a target of the power of social media to misinform, I remain impressed and optimistic about social media’s prospects to improve our society.  I am impressed as well with activists’ ability to mobilize people in Québec.  They play an important role and are at the forefront of social media.

Though as the overthrow of Mubarak in the Arab Spring gave way to a military dictatorship I realized social media has only demonstrated a new power to say no.  Unfortunately an inconvenient truth; when you say no to one thing, you say yes to something else.

It’s always easier to kick a barn down than to build one.  It’s always easier to oppose than propose.  While they are both important, the power to say YES is ultimately far more so, than the power to say NO.

It is solutionists who are proposing and not opposing. Last decade when our economy was short of affordable energy and at the same time our environment needed cleaner energy choices, the gas industry came up with a solution.  Natural gas has proven itself to be affordable and it will improve our energy diet.  Suzuki Foundation says no to natural gas because while natural gas has the potential to reduce emissions by 30%, they calculate we need 80%.

Saying NO to natural gas in Québec is saying YES to bunker oil imports and higher greenhouse gas emissions today.  Saying NO to local development of natural gas is saying YES to exporting jobs and importing gas from Pennsylvania tomorrow.  Saying NO is saying YES to Québec government fiscal dependency indefinitely.

As solutionists our industry is saying YES to greenhouse gas emission reductions today.  We are saying YES to permanent transfer of technology and long term jobs to Québec.  We are saying YES to fiscal independence for Québec.  Plus, it will be solutionists who will come up with even better solutions tomorrow.

If you believe an imperfect answer today is better than a possible answer in the future or worse no answer at all, then you are a solutionist too.  It’s hard work coming up with and implementing solutions in the real world these days.   On April 22nd take the day off.  You deserve it.