In the past sixty days we have been watching history. The world has definitely shifted on its access, and it wasn’t just from the unimaginable tragedy that has resulted from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the results of which, we are seeing unfold every day.
First, we had Egypt. The country erupted in a move towards democracy that resulted in the removal of Muhammad Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of autocratic rule. This sparked demonstrations in numerous oil producing Middle East countries and that has led to political instability, followed by a run on the price of crude oil, driving it up over $100 per barrel.
In these neighbouring countries violence is growing. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia (with the tacit support of the United States) sent troops into Bahrain to quell the protestors. After an initial euphoric release of support for new democratic reforms, the dictators are fighting back. No one wants to give up power easily.
Then we have the civil war in Libya. Unlike some of the other dictators, Gaddafi and his four sons are not talking to the pro-democracy movement, they are killing them. And, as usual with global politics being what it is, the nations of the world are arguing about what action to take. I don’t think there will be any action. Within a month, Gaddafi will have used his superior military power and that revolution will be over.
So where will that leave us. For Canada, and particularly Alberta, (If we want to be totally crass) this upheaval in the Middle East, and its subsequent aftermath, no matter what form it takes, is a positive. The rhetoric over the environmental issues surrounding the extraction of oil from Alberta will be muted and the priority will become safe and sustainable oil for the United States. Investment will increase, the price of crude will stay up and the economy will gain ground. I’ll have more on this, from an Alberta perspective, later.
The images on Japan are beyond belief. The nuclear crisis is ongoing as I write this and, for someone who has been in the civil construction business all my life, the devastation and need to rebuild the country defies the imagination. Estimates are reaching ONE TRILLION DOLLARS over the next few years.
Looking at the massive devastation it seems that the magnitude of the waste management and cleanup challenge facing Japan may be the largest single effort ever faced in history. While I hate to say it, there will be business opportunities for the waste and construction industries like we have never seen before.
TRASHED! How Political Garbage Made the United States Canada’s Largest Dump