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by Richard L. Provencher  
3/09/2012 / Family

In the eyes of many, Nature is essential for the survival of the human race. Its forest areas provide recreation, a habitat for fowl and beast absorbs harmful Carbon Dioxide and exhales ingredients essential to maintaining proper oxygen content for continuing the evolution of our species.

As an example, walking in the woods of Nova Scotia is a thankful and almost spiritual experience. To breathe in the silence of nature, appreciate the scent of beauty and enjoy the fruits of creation in its lakes, streams and the tinkling of poplar leaves during the autumn. Without a doubt, this experience and the presence of wildlife enhance an escape from the stress of our everyday lives

A critical observation is that too often political issues mar reasoning. Witness the 1997 debate and approval of the Kyoto Accord. An inordinate amount of emphasis was placed on posturing. I.e. Were countries realistically capable of reducing 6% of their 1990 level pollution emissions by the year 2012? Were they truly achievable as a valid possibility? And why did major world polluters opt out of this remarkable agreement? Sadly, such confusion is often presented to the world of public opinion.

And so much money and time is wasted on endless jostling, arm-twisting, unnecessary meetings and luncheons or supper occasions with mind-boggling debate while the earth turns. Why is it we exude so much verbosity while this fine earth is spinning out of control from wasteful emissions of technical grandeur; having a need for the best car, or plane along with the development of the most modern architect in our modern cities?

We require re-commitment, more focus on preventing our natural outdoors to be forgotten and to preserve it to the fullest. Sometimes deviations to side issues almost seem like a plot to foster indecisiveness among international experts. No wonder indifference takes place within the general population.

Will industrial nations simply downgrade their 'environmental-spew' by simply abusing allowable credits and download into developing nations? Especially those who are hungry for job-creating opportunities, and badly needed dollars for their economy. Why have we often descended into irrelevance about doing the right thing?

Believers think we should accept a balance by allowing industry in areas of high unemployment and exacting a fair percentage of net profits for ongoing recreational development. Such was accomplished in the city of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Canada, 650 Km NW of Montreal.

The Noranda Copper Mine commenced in 1929, eventually developed working shafts to a depth of 8,200 feet and extended two miles in various directions underground. People survived this environment of thrusting smokestacks and noisy whistle signaling the day's shift beginning. Everyday childhood was still filled with excursions into the nearby woods for recreational purposes.

Fond memories of hiking wilderness trails, snow shoeing across white landscape and swimming in isolated streams continued to remind everyone of the joys they experienced in the outdoors. Yet huge 'cigars of smoke' citizens called them, continued expunging clouds of sulphur gas from huge smokestacks, and on certain days citizens even doubled up in coughing spasms.

To counter this negative influence on the population, an injection of funds was invested in developing two of the finest Recreation Centers for all to enjoy.

Many young hockey players were able to take advantage of this largesse and went on to lucrative professional careers. This helped provide an alternative to simply working in the mine for those with lesser means, unable to move elsewhere to secure a university education.

Besides some may not have been born, to complete such essays if these fine complexes had not been developed. This city of modern means provides an educational and cultural center of 40,000 persons. Perhaps similar types of health-monitored complexes should be a prerequisite before allowing industrialization in areas of much needed employment.

To digress a little; the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and at the mercy of similar employment and living issues. People desperate for work opportunities are anxious to gain remuneration for families. Living conditions are so overcrowded in the cities and as a result encourage living expansion into spaces within the rainforest.

Such is the human pressure on existing natural habitats. The ocean is also under assault and in much estimation truly the last frontier. During the week of July 30, 2003 17 dead whales were swept ashore in Nova Scotia. It is feared that toxins had caused this sad situation, thus reminding us nature is in a weakened state and demands we protect it.

Time is of the essence since a diminishing period of time exists for us to protect our wilderness areas before they collapse. Otherwise we may reach the point where clusters of grass and trees are encased in bubbles of protection, like those animals in our zoos.

Visitors will simply point to what used to be when children say, "Hey trees! I saw pictures of them in my school book." What a horrible vision should we fail to adequately protect our natural environment? That is not such a farfetched thought in our North American cities.

Asphalt already encroaches on prime farmland at an alarming rate. It is also not such an unusual idea for people to desire manmade turf grass for their lawns to reduce a need for weeding and mowing, especially arduous for a growing older population.

Our mind set is at war with the need to preserve an attitude of correctness and nicety in our landscaping. It can also be sad to think we are subjected to research that develops larger, faster growing chickens, and wheat with special resistance to its environment and pesticides for selected enemies of our cropland.

We certainly need to rethink our desire in living in what should be considered a paradise of opportunity, on this earth, to live right and do well in a more natural format. If such an introduction of efficiency in the growth of our foodstuffs, then it should be with the intention of feeding the poor nations of the world and not just preserve wealthy multi-national corporations.

Why not challenge the notion that war is the solver of territorial jurisdictions and mineral rich lands? We should believe our world is capable of living in harmony not only with the wilderness but also along with each other. To accomplish this possible event, we can blend together desires for peace in combination with the utilization of our natural resources.

Witness the current struggles in the Middle East. If only Israel and Palestine were able to sit down and share land and resources. Greenery could be returned to parched areas, such as recaptured around the Dead Sea. Rather than a concrete fence of division between Israel and Palestine, imagine how wonderful it would be if each could work on a massive one quarter mile wide garden of flowers and produce along their mutual border?

The approximate cost of the estimated 175 Km concrete fence is already in the neighborhood of two billion US dollars. Imagine, in the name of peace, how much could be accomplished with these funds. Concluding remarks, should also try to focus on the extreme necessity of feeding our populations. Because many believe hunger in third world countries is the root cause of the destruction of their natural surroundings.

We must develop strategies in order to strengthen communities to grow wholesome food, sharing time in helping each other and not simply take advantage of anyone's poverty for quick financial returns. We should not encourage struggling governments with visions of instant wealth, rather than a long-term vision for building a nation.

I.e. open pit diamond mining in some countries has accomplished very little for the population. And those abandoned scars on the countryside only remind us of the lack of respect for the country's natural environment. Why don't we utilize all the resources of mankind to help impoverished nations realize there is a future for them in the adventure of life?

That they too can grow up healthy and strong, without offering up their young sons for the military to wreak death and destruction against once neighbors, simply for territorial gain?

To scientists there is no shame in utilizing genetically modified crops for the feeding of those large numbers of people afflicted by poor crop yields or famine. Perhaps we should allow the United Nations be the controlling forum for proper monitoring of this new opportunity to co-ordinate fair sustenance.

Most assuredly we can live together in harmony, through co-operation, education and a common respect for each other's cultures. There is no belief of any simple debate as to who is right or wrong pertaining to any discussions regarding the protection of land vs. industrial growth.

Survival of the human race demands an overcoming of difficulties and learning to help one another. Otherwise all will reap the harvest of our misguided intentions.

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Richard L. Provencher

Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.

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