Clearly Stated - Some laws just cannot be ignored

Alex Harrold
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Well, I just can’t ride the fence any longer on the Muskrat Falls project. Riding the fence on the Muskrat Falls project at this juncture may seem as relevant as insisting your daughter wait until she’s 28 to date, when, at 26, she’s already married and has two kids. Maybe, but not everything is a done deal just because it looks that way. Take my daughter. Sure, she’s married and has two kids, but out of respect for me, they’re not going on a honeymoon until 2014, after her 28th birthday. See, it’s all in setting standards and following through. All we need to do is agree on what defines ‘standards.’

Governments make a lot of noise about doing what is in our best interests for the long haul, but the evidence of their particular style of vision has not just us, but the entire planet teetering on the edge of oblivion. In the case of Muskrat Falls, our provincial government wants us to believe that having control over that much power puts us in the driver’s seat regarding future development and growth, as if getting our piece of the pie is still a priority, at the same time some very bright people, including economists, are trying to tell us that the kind of continuous economic growth we’ve come to expect as the status quo has ended. We just haven’t received the memo yet.

I was not surprised to see the sun set on December 21st. It wasn’t so much that I never bought into the Mayan myth perpetrated by a bunch of misguided modern humans that the world was going to end on that date. The fact is, the next day was my birthday. No cosmic plan I could buy into included the world coming to an end the day before my birthday. That doesn’t mean however, that as a species, we haven’t proven to each other time and time again that we’re perfectly capable of hastening an end to the world as we know it, while we continue to foolishly make plans for sustaining business as usual, which is what the Muskrat Falls decision represents. There’s not one thing visionary about it.

It’s not like we’re not being warned. Just this past November, David Suzuki ramped up his message in a speech in Charlottetown by referring to the human species as suicidal. I’ve said the same thing many times in my ‘stupid human behaviour’ columns, apparently for my own entertainment. He also referenced the eminent British scientist Sir Martin Rees’ comments regarding his belief that there was only a 50/50 chance that there would be any humans left by the year 2100. Philosophically speaking, that can’t come soon enough.

Actually, philosophy is at the root of the changes we need to make. A famous Jewish philosopher, Spinoza, in the mid 15th century wanted to educate the masses by getting them to equate God with Nature, on the understanding that everything that happens is governed by the laws of Nature, as opposed to a bunch of codified edicts produced by, at the time, religious leaders with vested personal interests. That was pretty dangerous stuff on the heels of the period of the Inquisition.

Neither Spinoza, nor the Greek Epicurus before him could have envisioned just how efficiently otherwise intelligent humans could have so negatively affected the natural world in such a short period of time. The early philosophers spoke of meeting human needs. Suzuki, and the economic forecasters speaking in unison with him now explain how an economic model has led us to a world of wants, where all of our decisions focus on that, rather than what we need. Suzuki goes on to question if a species can call itself intelligent as it continues to poison the sources of its needs, that being clean air, clean water, clean soil, and ample space. Intelligence, like standards, demands to be re-defined.

That’s why the government’s decision to move ahead on Muskrat Falls is so very, very wrong. It’s predicated on a future business as usual model at a time when we are called upon by the Laws of Nature to recognize that business as usual is killing us faster than most of us care to admit. Quit relying on governments to get it right. Their vision comes from what they want, not from what we need.

 

aharrold@eastlink.ca

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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