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Posted: January 5, 2020

United we rise; divided we’ve suffered

By Dr. Brian L. Horejsi 

Op-Ed Commentary

As the New Year breaks over a world in social, political and environmental turmoil it is, once again, time to direct your attention to the one aspect of our lives that unites us; environmental security.

Shame on us for having to say that for at least the 1,000th time.

Until environmental protection is the foundation for virtually every decision being made we will not turn around the destructive and negative vortex of exploding human population, consumption for the sake of economic growth, and advancing division created by demands from self-serving special interests wanting special treatment.

There are Trojan Horses stampeding all around us; a timber industry whose ambitions blew up in their face because they systematically destroyed landscapes for the sake of “more and better jobs,” oil and gas interests, from indoctrinated  employees to premiers, who have convinced short term thinkers that more atmospheric degradation is good for them and their children; industrial recreation hustlers, like mountain bikers, demanding they have the “right” to fragment and disrupt landscapes with often illegal trails and roads so they can assuage their boredom with thousands of other trails;  aboriginals, their lawyers and protagonists demanding we treat them as great environmental leaders when in reality they are no more than another political organization of humans wangling special treatment; The list is inexhaustible.

These people and organizations have one thing in common; they’ve become accustomed to riding the coat tails of industries and corporations who have been catered to politically for so long that they think they are entitled to keep punching holes in the “barrel” of ecological viability as though it will somehow miraculously keep filling up. The consequences of this self-serving hoax are disastrous enough, but equally disturbing is the malfeasance and complicity demonstrated day after day by “leaders” like Prime Minister Trudeau, and Premiers Horgan, Kenney and Scott. President Trump may capture the attention, but he has no lock on bullying citizens.

I have written of The Public Trust – landscapes, water, and wildlife that belongs to all of us; under effective, honest government these would be protected by our constitution and managed to provide equal benefit to each of us, now, next year, and for a very long time. I am also aware that in today’s often difficult day- to-day life, casting your voice and committing just a bit of your time to help British Columbians and Canadians get a voice in our constitution – like that handed to Aboriginal Canadians by Pierre Trudeau – seems superfluous. Yet nothing could be further from the truth!

Every one of us has some sense that the land, water, air and wildlife, is important enough to protect. Canadians, especially the middle and wealthy economic class, are not innocent bystanders; we can choose to dial our lifestyle back toward less consumption. Or have someone do it for us! If we do it collectively the pain will be far less severe!

It is a long haul back to democratic accountability where all citizens hold legal and political stature equal to that of corporations, political insiders, and the aboriginal industry. We face a pivotal time in our history! Again. Mark by words, until, and unless, “we the people” – you, I , each one of us who chooses to participate – has a constitutional right to be heard, we will not reform and recover these severely damaged hulls called democracy, equality, and environmental survival.

We do not need to take this presently lopsided and unfair advantage away from aboriginals – they are citizens like us – but we must neutralize the stifling chokehold of senior civil service management and corporate money by levelling the playing field – adding you and I – the people presently divorced from our Public Trust – to those who have a legal right to be heard, and protected, under Canada’s Constitutional umbrella.

– Dr. Brian L. Horejsi is a wildlife and forest ecologist and a resident of B.C. He writes about environmental affairs, public resource management and governance and its entrenched legal and social bias.


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