Thank-you for your excellent coverage of the talk given by David Suzuki on June 1st in Invermere. I was very disappointed by the lack of coverage by the CV Pioneer of this important talk given to a sold-out community hall audience. It is shameful that when one of Canada’s most respected and renowned scientists comes to speak to small-town Invermere, there was only passing mention near the back of their paper, that he spoke to students at the community greenhouse. I feel that those of us fortunate enough to hear him speak need to pass on some of his urgent messages. Perhaps the most important of those is that we all need to recognize the economic value of the services that Mother Nature provides us, ie, clean air and water, without which we cannot live. Economic analysis have shown, for example, that it costs far less to maintain a clean and undisturbed watershed than to make the water drinkable again after industrial activity in that watershed. The short-term profits enjoyed by a few are eclipsed by the cost borne by the public for clean-up. Without a healthy environment we cannot stay healthy for long.
Those with vested interests and our government, argue that it is too costly to take care of the environment, and that it hurts the economy. This is a very shortsighted, specious argument. As a result of our changing climate, which scientists widely agree is a result of human activity, billions have been lost to the pine beetle in B.C., the ice storm in Quebec, the drought and wild fires in Texas, Russia, Australia, and closer to home, in Slave Lake. Remember also, Hurricane Katrina, the increase in tornadoes in the US, extreme weather events all around the world…. the list goes on. We can not afford to divorce economic and social decisions from their environmental consequences and still expect that our society will flourish. We must fundamentally change the way we think about our planet. It is our home and the only one we have. That seems incredibly obvious, yet the race by our leaders to liquidate our resources for short-term profit is endangering our very survival as a species.
There was urgency in David Suzuki’s message, and it behooves us to heed the scientists, who have been giving us these warnings for some time now.