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“The Ostrich”

in Letters by

As a species I sometimes wonder if we most resemble the ostrich.

If we duck our heads, ignore the problem for long enough, it will just, maybe, hopefully, please, go away. Or perhaps our approach is more like Bill Clinton’s solution to gays in the military –  don’t ask, don’t tell! After all, if nobody talks about it, it isn’t there, is it?

My brother-in-law – a house painter – and his friend, who is working in the Alberta oil patch, sum it up this way: “It’s been about 150 years since the Industrial Revolution and we’ve done this much damage to the environment. We might get another 100 years out of it all.”

At a church luncheon, a fellow parishioner relates to me his experience of reading about the poisoning of the St. Clair River at Sarnia: “I was there the night the company put that stuff in the ground and supposedly sealed it off.” There was pain in his eyes and, no doubt, in his heart and in his soul. I stated that it was amazing how many people I speak with – ordinary people, blue collar workers – understand that we are gradually destroying the planet. He casually observed, “there will be a revolution.”

It’s hardly unlikely that for some inexplicable reason I am the only guy who has these conversations. It is more likely that most of us see the truth for what it is. We are gradually speeding up, speeding up, speeding up, destroying the very planet that gives us life. Suicide or madness? Take your pick, I can’t figure it out.

I wonder who our political leaders talk to? Do they have these conversations, or are they shielded for their own protection? They don’t appear to be losing much sleep about it all as the oil companies drill away, as the auto manufacturers continue to turn out the gas combustion engine, as poisons are released into our rivers, lakes, oceans, landfills – anywhere the millions upon millions of barrels of poisonous waste can be hidden for awhile. Long enough, they hope, to finish making the money, packing up and leaving the deadly stuff behind. Perhaps, like Chernoble, the animals will have another paradise, free of humans, in a future that may be as inevitable as the prediction of my house painter friend – a hundred years or so.

Is it possible to change a future that is rushing towards us virtually unhindered except for sporadic demonstrations and vocal minorities who are often perceived as “radical”, “inhibiting progress”, “tree-huggers”, “terrorists”, “trouble – makers”, etc.?

Most days are like today: I simply have no idea whether we have the rational or empathetic ability to slow down, stop and possibly reverse the race to the “end of the human race.”

Joe Wiseman (Kippens)

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