As I look back over the past year, and then turn to look ahead into the future, I have foremost in my mind some important numbers that were recently released by the UN, World Wildlife Fund, and others: Within the last 40 years, ocean wildlife populations have declined by 36%, planet-wide wildlife populations on land and air have decreased by 58%, and freshwater wildlife has decreased by 81%. Scientists attribute these devastating numbers to habitat loss, land use decisions, and pollution, all of which change micro and macroclimates. Climate change is real and requires each of us to act.
Donald Trump’s role in the evolution of the human species may turn out to be as a catalyst to get us mobilized. Whenever we believe someone else can represent us on the front lines pushing for change, or assume we have more time before we reach extinction numbers, or that our government is looking out for our best interests, we become complacent, and that makes us dangerous too. Signing petitions and staying informed is important, but the numbers noted above show us it is time to step up our involvement. We can volunteer, go to meetings, create meetings, donate money. The good news is that wonderful and dedicated people have already started doing the work, creating an infrastructure that we can step into and amp-up the efforts worldwide.
It is time to focus our arrows on specific targets to amass a unified collective of change. I always make charitable donations, but now I am picking one or two areas and increasing my present involvement, however possible. My primary focus is going to be water.
In regards to our water crisis, recent inspiration came from Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians (and national treasure), who joined our local watershed meeting where we discussed the Eastern Gateway pipeline. Maude spoke eloquently about water. Her wonderful book Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada’s Water Crisis, tells it all. In 14 years, the world’s basic water needs will exceed available water by 40%, leaving billions without water. Half of China’s rivers are completely gone, and this has happened within the last 25 years.
In Canada, we are told that we have 20% of the world’s fresh water, but only 6% of that is renewable (not essential to maintain species and habitat), and within 15 years it may not be around to help those 40% without water.
In the midst of this staggering reality check, Nestlé, a Swiss Corporation, is draining well water in communities across Ontario at a cost of $3.71 per million litres. Worse yet, these local communities can’t legally get Nestlé out of their wells. It seems that someone in our government gave Nestlé the right to take this precious water, bottle it in plastic that will leach back into the rivers and fish, and sell the water back to us at a mark-up over 1,000 percent.
At the watershed meeting we learned that we do not need pipelines, because we have more than enough oil to go around. The proposed pipelines are massive compared to the current ones, and will facilitate increasing the oil production out of Alberta by 40%, \while also raising the average world temperature above the irreversible +2C.
Ironically there are five times the jobs in the alternative energy sector, compared to oil and gas, so job creation is not a viable excuse. It’s just greed and pressure to support the greed. This is ‘extinction thinking’.
In recent U.S. news, a lawsuit launched by the Sioux Indians at Standing Rock reservation asserted that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) had gone forward without adequate tribal consultation. Standing Rock is all about protecting its water resources from a pipeline company that does not care about, or even read what scientists and the UN are saying about, the hazards of pipelines getting near waterways. The oil and gas industry tells a good tale about safe pipelines, but insider experts claim the these pipelines have leaks almost daily in Canada (see more at canadians.org/energyeast).
Two local women, Colleen Gray, founder of Art for Aid, and Karen Bisson, owner of Turtle Lodge Trading Post, decided to support Standing Rock. I asked Karen to describe her shift from caring to taking action:
“We were horrified to learn about the use of water cannons on the ‘Water Protectors’ in sub-zero temperatures at Standing Rock. Hundreds of people suffered from hypothermia as well as injuries from rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and tear gas. It’s a war zone down there. This lit a fire under our butts to do something. We did some shopping around and found a supplier with reasonable pricing on mylar blankets, then we launched the GoFundMe campaign. Our first goal is to get at least 2,000 blankets down to Standing Rock in the next few weeks. We also received a request today from the Algonquins of Barriere Lake Quebec Water Protectors for an order of emergency blankets. So you can see there is a real need for this item. (Donations for blankets: www.gofundme.com/emergency-blankets-4-standing-rock)
We are all being supported right now by the energy of the planets as Saturn transits Sagittarius. “Saturn in Sagittarius holds us accountable to our past and our future. It calls upon us to get more ambitious, to take better, more deliberate aim, and to accomplish something of lasting significance. (www.rosemarcus.com)
So with this energy to support us, it is an opportune time to make history, to focus our energy and vision, see our larger collective efforts change the dialogue, shift the focus, and galvanize our commitment to life together, and to this beautiful planet.
Email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org