We need to keep up the pres­sure

Truro Daily News - - OPINION - BY JIM HARPELL Jim Harpell lives at Shortt’s Lake.

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.

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