I believe Nature to be essential to the survival of the human race. It’s forested areas provide recreation, a habitat for fowl and beast, absorbs harmful Carbon Dioxide and exhales the ingredients essential to maintaining proper oxygen content for the survival of the human race.
As an example, walking in the woods of Nova Scotia is a thankful and almost spiritual experience. Joy is breathing in the silence of nature, appreciate its scent of beauty and enjoy the fruits of creation in its lakes, streams and the tinkling of poplar leaves during the autumn.
Without a doubt, this experience and the presence of wildlife enhance an escape from the stress of the everyday business life.
A critical observation is that too often political issues mar reasoning. Witness the 1997 debate and approval of the Kyoto Accord. An inordinate amount of emphasis was placed on posturing. I.e. It has been proven Canada unrealistically accepted a target of reducing 6% of its 1990 level pollution emissions by the year 2012. Few believed it possible, and now we have the Copenhagen Conference with new realistic targets. This time major polluters, ie United States, India and China are signed on to be participants.
Sadly so much money and time was wasted on endless jostling, arm-twisting, unnecessary meetings and luncheons or supper occasions with mind-boggling debate while the earth turned.
Why is it we exude so much verbosity while this fine earth is spinning out of control from wasteful emissions of technical grandeur; having a need for the best car, or plane along with the development of the most modern architect in our modern cities?
We require a re-commitment, more focus on preventing our natural outdoors to be forgotten and to preserve it to the fullest. The Copenhagen Conference of 2009 is a new beginning.
Sometimes deviations to side issues almost seem like a plot to foster indecisiveness among international experts. No wonder indifference takes place within the general population.
Will industrial nations simply downgrade their ‘environmental-spew’ by simply abusing allowable credits and download into developing nations? Especially those who are hungry for job-creating opportunities, and badly needed dollars for their economy.
Why have we often descended into irrelevance of will to do the right thing?
I believe we should accept a balance by allowing industry in areas of high unemployment and exacting a fair percentage of net profits for ongoing recreational development. Such was accomplished in my hometown of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Canada, 650 Km NW of Montreal.
The Noranda Copper Mine commenced in 1929, eventually developed working shafts to a depth of 8,200 feet and extended two miles in various directions underground.
We survived this environment of thrusting smokestacks and noisy whistle signaling the day’s shift beginning. My childhood was still filled with excursions into the woods. And fond memories of hiking wilderness trails, snow shoeing across white landscape and swimming in isolated streams continue to remind me of the joys I experienced in the outdoors.
The huge ‘cigars of smoke’ were called expunged clouds of sulphur gas from huge smokestacks, and on certain days we even doubled up in coughing spasms.
To counter this negative influence on the population, an injection of funds was invested in developing one of the finest Recreation Centers for all to enjoy. Many young hockey players were able to take advantage of this largesse and went on to lucrative professional careers.
This helped provide an alternative to simply working in the mine for those with lesser means, unable to move elsewhere to secure a university education.
Besides I may not have been born, and unable to complete this essay if the huge complex had not been developed. This city of modern means provides an educational and cultural center for 40,000 persons. I believe similar types of health-monitored complexes should be a prerequisite before allowing industrialization in areas of needed employment.
To digress a little; the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and at the mercy of similar employment and living issues. People desperate for work opportunities are anxious to gain remuneration for families.
Living conditions are so overcrowded in the cities and as a result encourage living expansion into spaces with the rainforest. Such is the human pressure on existing natural habitats.
The ocean is also under assault and in my estimation truly the last frontier. During the week of July 30, 2003 17 dead whales were swept ashore in Nova Scotia. It is feared that toxins have caused this sad situation, thus reminding us nature is in a weakened state and demands we protect it.
Time is of the essence since a diminishing period of time exists for us to protect our wilderness areas before they collapse. Otherwise we may reach the point where clusters of grass and trees are encased in bubbles of protection, like animals in the zoo. And visitors will simply point to what used to be where children say, “Hey trees! I saw pictures of them in my school book.”
What a horrible vision should we fail to adequately protect our natural environment.
That is not such a farfetched thought in our North American cities. Asphalt already encroaches on prime farmland at an alarming rate. It is also not such a weird idea for people to desire manmade turf grass for their lawns to reduce their need for weeding and mowing, especially arduous for a growing older population.
Our mind set is at war with the need to preserve an attitude of correctness and nicety in our landscaping.
And I also find it sad to think we are subjected to research that develops larger, faster growing chickens, and wheat with special resistance to its environment and pesticides for selected enemies of our cropland.
We certainly need to rethink our desire for living in what should be considered a paradise of opportunity on this earth, to live right and do well in a more natural format.
If such an introduction of efficiency is instituted in the growth of our foodstuffs, then it should be with the intention of feeding poor nations and not simply preserve wealthy multi-national corporations.
Why not challenge the notion that war is the solver of territorial jurisdiction and mineral rich land? I truly believe our world is capable of living in harmony with our wilderness tracts. To accomplish this possible event, we can blend together desires for peace in combination with the utilization of our natural resources.
Witness the current struggles in the Middle East. If only Israel and Palestine are able to sit down and share land and resources. Anything is possible. Greenery can be returned to parched areas, such as recaptured around the Dead Sea. Rather than a concrete fence of division between Israel and Palestine, imagine how wonderful it would be if each could work on a massive one quarter mile wide garden of flowers and produce along mutual borders?
The approximate cost of the first 175 Km concrete fence cost in the neighborhood of two billion US dollars. Imagine, in the name of peace, how much may be accomplished with these funds.
In concluding my remarks I wish to focus on the extreme necessity of feeding our populations. Because I believe hunger in third world countries is the root cause of the destruction of their natural surroundings.
We must develop strategies in order to strengthen communities to grow wholesome food, to share time in helping each other and not simply take advantage of anyone’s poverty in quick financial returns that help corrupt governments with visions of instant wealth, rather than a long term vision of building a nation.
ie. open pit Diamond mining in Sierra Leone has accomplished very little for the population. And those abandoned scars on the countryside only remind us of the lack of respect for the country’s natural environment.
Why don’t we utilize all the resources of mankind to help impoverished nations realize there is a future for them in the adventure of life? That they too can grow up healthy and strong, without offering up their young sons for the military to wreak death and destruction against once neighbors, simply for territorial gain?
To me there is no shame in utilizing genetically modified crops for the feeding of those large numbers of people afflicted by poor crop yields or famine. However I believe the United Nations should be the controlling forum for proper monitoring of this new opportunity to provide ample sustenance.
I truly believe we can enjoy living side by side, through co-operation, education and a common respect for each other’s cultures. I do not believe there is a simple debate as to who is right or wrong pertaining to a debate regarding the protection of land vs. industrial growth. Survival of the human race demands we overcome our difficulties and learn to encourage one another.
Otherwise we will reap the harvest of our misguided intentions.
© 2010 Richard L. Provencher
Richard’s URL: http://writers.ns.ca/Writers/rprovencher.html