Liane is many things, and one of those things is a researcher. She has been doing some research into the dialogue between the terms "oil sands" and "tarsands", and how that dialogue has changed over time. The irony is that I have had this discussion with people, although in a far more speculative sense than Liane, who has put some solid hard work behind it, and found evidence of how that dialogue has changed, and why. What is even more interesting to me, though, is the effect those words and that dialogue have on the very conversations we have surrounding the oil sands/tarsands.
I have always maintained that no matter what we called them - oil sands, tarsands, or anything else - what mattered was NOT the terminology but the way we were framing the dialogue. It has become a deeply adversarial one, either for or against development of a controversial resource. This dialogue, and the language that has developed around it, has become more divisive than helpful. By focusing so heavily on the terminology we have allowed ourselves to be defined by it. In the end what we CALL it is far less important than what we DO with it, and HOW we approach the discussion at all.
Lianne is not only brilliant but beautiful, and an absolute pleasure to watch present as she is so very poised and precise. I love how she weaves this narrative together with her slide deck, and I love how she is bringing to the fore the very dialogue I have been thinking about. After I first heard her present during our initial rehearsal I told her how very excited I was to share this with my blog readers at some point - and so here it is. This is the lovely, charming, intelligent, and very on target Liane Lefsrud as she presents "Golden Goose or Ugly Duckling?" at TEDx Fort McMurray: Shift in Thought.