As a young kid I grew up playing in forests where I journeyed on countless adventures, fought epic battles, displayed heroic acts, and when my imagination was exhausted I could just lay there with a sense of feeling protected. Today I am primarily an urban dweller who takes refuge in the various parks around Halifax, and every time I visit my beloved parks I can’t help but wonder if I’m standing in what will one day become a “tree museum”. Will future generations of kids have the same opportunities to experience real forests, biodiversity, and as they grow up will they have natural spaces to find refuge from life’s struggles?
In a world with finite resources the co-evolution of species has produced ecosystems which thrive by forming an interdependent web of symbiotic relationships. It’s rather ironic that despite our ability to understand and map an increasingly complex world, our behavioral patterns as a species reflect a belief system that assumes that humans are independent of these natural forces. By definition the term “invasive species” accurately describes the behaviour of humans.
The elevation of humans as exalted species perpetuates a behavior of competition and exploitation. Our society classifies all natural resources as commodities and therefore subjects them to market forces. In 1992 the United Nations classified water as an economic commodity thus allowing for exploitation and privatisation of one of life’s most essential resources. The economic goal of wealth creation will ensure that water is available at the highest price the market care bare, not at a price that ensures that all citizens have access to it.
One could go as far as saying that the commoditisation of essential resources is a threat to the civil rights and liberties awarded by democracy. Further to that we can state that a clean and healthy environment is a public right and therefore constitutional.
Canada’s natural heritage and beloved maple leaf that we so proudly hold in our hearts is in stark contrast to the exploitative nature of our economy and the increasing toxification of our natural ecosystems. In recent years Canada’s international reputation has been severally tarnished by its withdrawal from the Kyoto Accord, the development of the infamous Alberta tar sands, and the significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions, hence leaving us with an environmental ranking near the bottom of all industrialised countries.
As a young boy I intrinsically honored my connection with nature. Today as an adult I’ve had to rediscover that connection and get to know the young boy with magical feelings. Although the thought of “tree museums” still haunts me, I remain hopeful that we can change. History tells us that every few generations society goes through a period of rapid change as the paradigm once again shifts. Perhaps we are on the precipice of such change.
Even Charles Darwin remarked that the intrinsic nature of humans appears to favor cooperation and compassion over competition. Environmental icon David Suzuki inspires us to be a “force of nature” and to work together to protect our natural legacy for future generations. As Canada’s environmental policies continue to erode in the face of economic pressures it is time to take a stand and join the David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice in establishing a healthy environment as a constitutional right for all Canadians.
As a member of 1% for the Planet we are proud to support the works of dedicated environmental organisations like the David Suzuki Foundation. At Ascenta we are guided by our Living Manifesto and aspire to promote a sustainable future by harmonising our economic and environmental agenda.
To take action or learn more join the David Suzuki Foundation Telephone Town Hall on this topic on February 3rd, 2013.