Happy 50th World Environment Day everyone.
At least, most of us have made it to another one, although the earth is looking rather beaten up. It would be good if we could get back to the level of interest and concern of the 1970s and early 1980s when each province and the federal government had an environmental advisory council, and when ecological concern was widespread and went beyond the concept of climate change.
The idea of Limits to Growth had been advanced by the Club of Rome, international cooperation on the issues had been organized, in large part thanks to the efforts of Canadian Maurice Strong, and the planning and framework for what was called “sustainable development” were developed mainly by Norway’s Prime Minister Brundtland and the Round Tables set up following her plan. Unfortunately, big business came back with a vengeance in the 1990s, many of these gains were lost, EIAs greatly limited and reduced in effectiveness, and funding cut for many programmes.
Thanks to climate change concern, there has been a limited recovery, but media and governments still try to convince us that ever-increasing populations, ever-increasing use of resources, and production of products that become garbage are the keys to a healthy economy. I will believe that we are making progress when I hear stable economies being praised, rather than being called “stagnant”. Clean air, clean water, healthy soil and ecosystems and preservation of areas of natural biodiversity are MORE important than getting rich.
The theme this year is biodiversity, and in NS we had at least the good news from the courts that our government has to follow some of its legislation that relates to this.
For real progress we need efforts by all who care about the future and about nature. As my old signature block said, we need to do Environmental Impact Assessments for all actions, plans, and decisions, not only at all government levels, but as individuals, even if they are only momentary ones made while shopping. We will not always be right, but the more we learn and the more we do them, the better for the environment.