Environment featured

Ray Bates: Stop the exploitation of our resources by uncaring corporations

Clearcut along along Highway 104 in Antigonish County. Photo Ray Bates.

Nova Scotia has reached a seminal period in its existence, where all levels of governments (and all Nova Scotians) must work for the sustainability of its inhabitants and acknowledge that its people and wildlife are variables in the equation of life.

From the far tip of Cape Breton to the shores of the Chignecto Bay to Cape Sable Island and all points in between, both humans and animals have life-enhancing needs that must be respected and considered when job-producing decisions are being contemplated.

Whether it is Alton Natural Gas Storage’s plans to hollow out underground salt deposits and pump its thousands of litres of brine twice daily into the Shubenacadie River; Pictou County’s Northern Pulp mill’s desire to daily dump millions of litres of effluent into the Northumberland Strait; the Cochrane Hill open pit mine proposal in the St. Mary’s River Valley; Port Hawkesbury Paper’s insatiable hunger for trees to feed its biomass-energy power system or the clearcutting of trees throughout all of Nova Scotia; Nova Scotians must think pass the immediate and consider the future generations of all of its inhabitants.

I can imagine there are readers who are thinking “What about the jobs being provided?” but I am thinking about the long-term irreversible consequences of those jobs.

These job sources are directly dependent on corporations whose primary goals are to maximize their profits; minimize their costs and acquire as much government financial and regulatory assistance as possible to reach their corporations’ goals. History shows, without dispute, that corporations are notorious for using a region for their businesses’ profits and then leaving. The consequences of their presence — both from an environmental perspective and in terms of financial assistance received — then remain as problems for all Nova Scotians.

My tirade today was fueled by media coverages of the earlier-mentioned corporations’ attempts to exploit Nova Scotia natural resources — only to eventually leave our province when irreversible damages have been done and the resources are depleted — and also by the current clear cutting that I witnessed along the Trans-Canada Highway in Antigonish County.

To hone in on the clear cutting, I fail to see the sustainability for leveling a forest and destroying the habitat of all that was living there. Where do that forest’s living creatures now live? What about the environmental impacts of those trees being removed? Yes, such actions provide immediate jobs but what about the overall effects on the ecosystem resulting from such job creation?

Nova Scotia’s governments and businesses spend millions of dollars promoting our province and our regions’ natural ways of life. Visitors from throughout the world travel to Nova Scotia to partake in what we can offer. Residents decide to live in the many quaint and natural regions of this province thereby creating employment opportunities via their presence.

Nova Scotia is more that its urban centres; they and we who live in sparsely populated rural regions are all in this together. Sadly and unacceptably, all levels of our governments appear to be determined to industrialize Nova Scotia as much as possible under the guise of jobs, jobs, jobs.

Employment opportunities are necessary but at what cost for all of Nova Scotia’s inhabitants’ — both now and for future generations?

With our rivers being polluted, our fisheries being contaminated, our land masses being removed; our air being soiled; our forests being clear cut, what will be the consequences of those ill-conceived actions?

When Nova Scotia’s (our) resources are gone, they are gone forever. Our current politicians, bureaucrats, and corporations will also eventually be gone but the consequences and financial repercussions of their destructive decisions will remain.

This ongoing exploitation of Nova Scotia and its inhabitants must stop, and the time to cease that practice is now.

Ray Bates is a resident of Guysborough.

See also: Letter: You can’t take the milk out of the tea – Northern Pulp’s proposal to dump treated waste into the Northumberland Strait

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One Comment

  1. So well said. Thanks. There is an awakening of some sort happening that I find encouraging after the dire warnings we have had over the last 8 months or so related to climate exchange, species extinctions etc. and the seemingly inertness of our governments.

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