Mother Earth’s death by a thou­sand cuts

The News (New Glasgow) - - OPINION / LETTER - BY RAY BATES Ray Bates, a res­i­dent of Guys­bor­ough, has been con­tribut­ing his opin­ions to news­pa­pers since 1998.

“Death by a thou­sand cuts” refers to the slow slic­ing of hu­mans as a method of tor­ture and cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment that was prac­tised in mid- and late-im­pe­rial China. Trag­i­cally, the world is en­gaged in a sim­i­lar prac­tice against Mother Earth.

The In­ter­na­tional Panel on Cli­mate Change re­cently re­leased its science-based find­ings re­gard­ing global warm­ing and its im­me­di­ate im­pacts for cli­mate changes to the en­tire earth. When gov­ern­ments and in­dus­tries ig­nore doc­u­mented re­search about how hu­man prac­tices are neg­a­tively af­fect­ing our cli­mates, they do so at the peril of all liv­ing things.

The en­thu­si­as­tic ex­plo­ration for and burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els, clearcut­ting forests, burn­ing tires and forests as in­dus­trial fu­els, frack­ing, us­ing wa­ter­ways as in­dus­trial and hu­man waste dis­pos­als sites, killer storms and mas­sive for­est fires; all are con­tribut­ing their unique slices to Mother Earth and her life-sus­tain­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

It ap­pears that the ap­proach of gov­ern­ments is to sup­port cor­po­rate in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion re­gard­less of its ul­ti­mate fi­nan­cial costs, en­vi­ron­men­tal-al­ter­ing con­se­quences or life-chang­ing ef­fects on hu­mans and other liv­ing things. I fully sup­port em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties but not at the ex­pense of their en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing con­se­quences. De­vel­op­ing jobs in spe­cific re­gions is the mantra of many politi­cians and bu­reau­crats but there is no guar­an­tee that the em­ploy­ees en­gaged in those jobs will live within their work ar­eas.

Nova Sco­tia is pro­moted world­wide as a tourism des­ti­na­tion, a nat­u­ral mecca for the many that ap­pre­ci­ate what na­ture has to of­fer. As Dar­lene Grant Fian­der stated in The Chron­i­cle Her­ald (Sept. 4), “Eco-tourism is Nova Sco­tia’s nat­u­ral her­itage. Tourism is a $2.7-bil­lion in­dus­try in Nova Sco­tia, sup­port­ing 40,000 jobs and gen­er­at­ing $300 mil­lion in tax rev­enue.” Why does it ap­pear our gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to in­dus­tri­al­ize Nova Sco­tia bit by bit (or slice by slice)?

The N.S. De­part­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment has granted per­mits for a pes­ti­cide con­tain­ing glyphosate to be sprayed in Richmond, Antigo­nish and Guys­bor­ough coun­ties. Glyphosate has been ruled a prob­a­ble can­cer-caus­ing agent by both the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer in 2015. It has been re­ported by some that glyphosate is safe for hu­mans but what about its de­struc­tive ef­fects on wildlife, water runoffs and mi­cro-or­gan­isms?

Pic­tou County’s North­ern Pulp is seek­ing gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion to dump 70 mil­lion to 90 mil­lion litres of treated ef­flu­ent each day from its Aber­crom­bie pulp mill into the Northum­ber­land Strait, which then will flow out­ward into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and all other con­nect­ing bod­ies of water. It is the firm be­lief of many that that poi­sonous ef­flu­ent will neg­a­tively im­pact those wa­ters’ in­hab­i­tants, hu­man liveli­hoods and the nat­u­ral beauty of that re­gion’s en­tire coast­line.

It is my be­lief that many politi­cians and bu­reau­crats are be­ing se­duced by the lure of short-term in­dus­trial ben­e­fits and are not con­sid­er­ing the long-term lifeal­ter­ing con­se­quences re­sult­ing from what they pro­mote. I be­lieve that many of those pro­mot­ers are been wooed by in­dus­tries when they should be stand­ing firm for the long-term, healthy and sus­tain­able ben­e­fits to their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties. Pub­lic re­gional-com­mu­nity-feed­back in­for­ma­tion meet­ings and not in­dus­tries woo­ing the politi­cians and bu­reau­crats at com­pa­nyspon­sored get-to­geth­ers are the mark­ings of a truth­ful democ­racy.

The French River Wa­ter­shed Pro­tec­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee has con­cerns with pos­si­ble gold ex­plo­ration and min­ing in the wa­ter­shed on the Cobe­quid High­lands. The pro­posed open pit Cochrane Hill Gold Project is caus­ing ma­jor con­cerns within the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the Dis­trict of St. Mary’s. The pit’s truck traf­fic will re­quire a 2.9-kilo­me­tre sec­tion of High­way 7 to be re­lo­cated and pos­si­bly en­dan­ger the fish life within the St. Mary’s River.

Jobs and non-de­struc­tive de­vel­op­ments are vi­tal for a healthy so­ci­ety. A friend re­cently ex­pressed to me that, in ad­di­tion to a free press, we must have “grass-roots lis­ten­ing, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and trans­parency in gov­ern­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and sus­tain­able prac­tices.” Politi­cians should not be afraid to host reg­u­lar, wellad­ver­tised “town-hall” meet­ings through­out their con­stituency via which they will en­able con­stituents to share con­cerns, ask ques­tions, and hear ex­pla­na­tions.

Nova Sco­tians must project into the fu­ture and re­al­ize the con­se­quences re­sult­ing from the in­dus­trial ac­tions of the multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions who ap­pear to be sali­vat­ing over what Nova Sco­tia’s gov­ern­ments might be will­ing to of­fer. Nova Sco­tia must not per­mit it­self to be treated as a colony thereby per­mit­ting it to be vi­o­lated and its way of life neg­a­tively al­tered or pos­si­bly de­stroyed.

The earth has fi­nite nat­u­ral re­sources with lim­i­ta­tions to what it can en­dure. It is for the sur­vival of hu­mans, wildlife, liv­ing ob­jects and mi­cro-or­ga­ni­za­tions that we must work with the en­vi­ron­ment and not against it. Even­tu­ally, we will be dead and the en­vi­ron­men­tal-im­pact­ing de­ci­sions made now will con­tinue to im­pact those not yet born. As stated in a Methodist prin­ci­ple: “The ul­ti­mate test of a moral so­ci­ety is the kind of world that it leaves to its chil­dren.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.