We need to keep up the pressure
In a piece published a couple of weeks ago in the Chronicle Herald, I wrote about how it appeared long-lasting public attention to the issues of fracking and clearcutting had brought about a reaction from government.
The pressure on government was with a view to changing the direction in which industry was heading.
Thus, we witnessed the Wheeler and Lahey reports being presented. What permanent actual change, if any, comes from these reports remains to be seen. However, it is perhaps the beginning of an evolution.
Thinking further on these issues and upon the process of change itself, I was interested in something said by Cormac Cullinan, a South African activist involved in the anti-apartheid movement and one of the authors of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Nature. It was written about by Silver Donald Cameron in Warrior Lawyers.
He believes evolution begins once there is a conversation about an issue. “The mere fact of having a conversation is incredibly subversive to the existing system.” I was struck by two things as I thought about that statement. The first is his explanation of that belief.
“As soon as people start talking about a different future, the old starts being whittled away. It’s partly about getting people to think in a new way and to imagine a new future. But if you can pull it together into a cohesive vision that is shared by many people, it sets in motion a chain of actions that’s like a strange attraction towards a vortex. The dream pulls the action towards us.”
Such recent movements as the reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, #Metoo, Black Lives Matter, the Yellow Vests, have all gained momentum because they were first discussed, and the discussion grew and grew.
I feel the same thing happened to bring about the two reports mentioned earlier. The second thing I thought about is how hard the existing system works to prevent the change. We see that clearly here in Nova Scotia in the forest industry.
It is now several years since Cullinan made these statements. The world should have a changed global mindset to be one of how do we, as the dominant influencers on the welfare of the planet – present and future – deal with the situation in which we, as a species, have jeopardized this tiny speck in the universe upon which we precariously cling to life.
At this particular moment do we heed the recent dire warnings of scientists from around the world that tell us we have only a short time to change things if we are to survive but that it can be done?
Or do we listen to Donald Trumpminded people and industry bent on continuing to resist changes?
There are many industries working hard to make drastic changes to lessen their footprint on the Earth.
Stephen Hawking, some years ago, stated he believed we had to populate other places – moon, Mars – so that, sometime in the far distant future, humans might possibly return to Earth once it has recovered from the destruction inflicted upon it by us today and in the near future. He also stressed this was urgent because time was limited.
An important step in the direction of saving the planet is to adopt an Environmental Bill of Rights such as exists in either the constitution or adopted legislation of 180 of 193 UN countries but not in major first-world countries like Canada, U.S., U.K., New Zealand, Australia and India. This is partly due to the legal systems in these countries being partly based upon civil law.
We would have to have a constitutional change to do it here.
Interesting that these are countries which have strong industries which appear to be dictating to government.