Short-term economic goals hurt the planet


Many current news items are converging on environmental concerns: natural gas extraction, fracking, flaring, oil pipeline construction and potential for damage caused by leaks, concerns over oil tankers endangering life along the B.C. coast line, aviation fuel being piped through Richmond, changes in Agricultural Land Reserve laws that would open up the possibility of “expropriating” ALR, temple expansion affecting ALR, and so on.

In all of this, the focus seems to be mostly on the short-term goals of making money and creating jobs with very little thought being given to sustainability and preservation of the Earth’s biodiversity and natural order. What is not being articulated in the media is the stark reality that “sustainable environmental management must come to be seen not as a discretionary commitment humanity can weigh against other competing interests, but rather as a fundamental responsibility that must be shouldered – a pre-requisite for spiritual development as well as the individual’s physical survival. Only a breakthrough in understanding that is scientific and spiritual in the fullest sense of the terms will empower the human race to assume the trusteeship toward which history impels it.” (A.L.Dahl, The Eco Principle: Ecology and Economics in Symbiosis).

Present-day economics propel corporations wanting to make money and governments that want to be re-elected into taking short-sighted action without concern for the “seventh generation”. Our first nations citizens understood the necessity to do so and integrated it into their management of the earth’s resources without the complicating presence of economic systems that create a “now” attitude to consume, regardless of the effect on the seventh generation’s environment and capacity to sustain life.

The human race is now being challenged to shake off its adolescent style of competition and consumerism with its, “I want it now” attitudes, and replace it with a more mature, co-operative and abiding concern for generations yet to be born.

Merrill Muttart


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