Time for real change.

September 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Doug Skeates

Over many years society has moved away from democratic governance controlled by people, toward one dominated by the elite based on economic principles.  Folk tend to forget there is any alternative approaches to the current way of life focused on urban living instead of the natural world.  The Covid-19 Pandemic has been a real eye-opener providing little more than a glimpse of what was common-place just a couple of centuries ago.  The world of ‘the commons’ gradually changed to control by the power structures of the financial world aided and abetted by government.

There are three basic legs to any stool in our case the bases of life, economics, the environment, and social aspects.  One would think that dominance by domestic interests would have been moderated by such works as “Our Common Future (United Nations Report, 1977) promoting the need for balance between the economy and the environment.  Even that document failed to place adequate attention to the role of people in our daily lives, an element sadly lacking in the need for distancing to avoid disease contamination.  The importance of close contact between people was highlighted in “The community affect” (Susan Pinker, 2014) with emphasis on people in influencing longevity and quality of life.

Aboriginal philosophy is based on people as part of the whole of creation.  The elements of nature are seen as representing the spirit of past elders hence part of the family rather than a separate aspect of life.  There was a time when the Commons, land, water, trees, etc. were considered to serve all of mankind.  To this day, residents living in the far north still consider food production from hunting and fishing as resources meeting needs of the community.   Aspects of nature are components of the whole as are we and all other elements of our habitat

The most serious concern of life globally is global warming causing major changes in the climate, events dominating lives throughout the planet. Hardly a day goes by without new disasters recounted by the news media.  The most recent accounts are of the effects of Hurricane Ida flooding North-eastern U.S. causing loss of life in Louisiana and New Jersey due, in part, to rising ocean temperatures.   Disastrous fires resulting from severe drought conditions has wiped out whole communities, a major concern in Canada.   

Economy is only one leg of life’s tripod.  The Green Wall of Africa is an outstanding example with new vegetation helping to improve water relations for agriculture starting to shift the environmental productivity for those dependent on the land base.   Ecological efforts in many countries of the world are aimed at reducing production of carbon emissions which society is pumping into the atmosphere – a major basis of increased global warming.

Unfortunately, the obsession with the state of the economy now is counter productive to policies which negate mankind’s goal of reducing the world’s greenhouse effect.  The most promising action, working with nature to increase photosynthetic potential, has been construed as promoting reforestation.  While this is promising for the future, seedlings take twenty years to create ecosystems which absorb significant levels of atmospheric carbon.  The urgent action needed by society represents problems we face today.  Power structures are opposed to change when the status quo is profitable now while the cost of alternatives is seen as threatening today’s bottom line.  The importance of profits is apparent in industrial policies which largely influence government decision-making while minimizing dependence on the laws of nature.   A prime example is the clearing of Alberta’s tar sands, a process which creates massive quantities of carbon emissions while clearing of thousands of hectares of forest hence reducing the ability of natural processes to absorb existing CO2 pollution in the atmosphere.  Similarly, the building of pipelines is a means of selling fossil fuels for acquiring profits from foreign markets.

  Change to reliance on the natural world rather than fossil fuels is inevitable but it is recognized that replacing present energy consumption with renewable sources will require many years yet.   Increasing production of renewable sources of energy can best be achieved through community action.  Much can be learned from the Aboriginal world such as community forests, sustainable harvesting providing benefits to society rather than clearing forests to enhance corporate profits.  It is obvious that existing systems have failed to provide the levels of prosperity for society as a whole.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.