Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking The Train To Nowhere

With the requirement for proper environmental assessments now removed in the gutted Navigable Waters Act, Canadians are beginning to see what the government's economic recovery program looks like. I'm wondering if we are about to build a bunch of tracks to oblivion? Is this a Canada looking to the future? There are hydro dams projects starting in La Romaine and British Columbia and I hear a gas pipeline project is being pushed ahead up the Mackenzie river. While these projects will generate jobs and other industrial activity, what are the long lasting effects? Are we kidding ourselves with all this activity? Are we living in the past which gave us the problems we see all around us?

Clearly two things come to mind. Certainly pristine paddling environments will be lost as this program moves ahead. Natural waterways will be ruined for many water-users from fish to paddlers. While the many parts of the world move ahead with projects for a future 'green' economy where low carbon footprint and environmental impacts are minimized, Canada's answer is more of the same old destructive activities. The retaining lakes behind hydro dams will create tons of carbon emissions as the flooded lands rot and where mercury pollution will again seep into every living thing. Natural gas from the arctic speaks of the world we ought to be leaving behind, not a bright new future. Flooding indigenous people's heritage lands in British Columbia again is old, tired thinking which benefits no one.

Sadly Canadians have saddled the country with a backwards thinking government which is leaving us mired in the past. Having recently elected this government, some Canadians are now about to take it to court to get it to act more intelligently. I wish them luck, but feel we really need to start electing people who can see the future and stop dreaming of the past. For my part, I'll be watching my nearby lakes and rivers like a hawk. I don't like where we're headed. Those tracks in the photo don't give me hope...

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