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Letter: Will we act for future generations?

‘We can no longer build, spend and buy without thinking.’
A BC Wildfire Service firefighter works to halt southward movement of the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire towards residential structures Wednesday night, Aug. 2, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

Will we act for future generations?

We’re in a massive environmental crisis, one part of a severely disrupted province, now in an official state of emergency.

Heavy smoke and raging wildfires are the visible elements of a severe drought. Other seasons bring their own disruptions.

Businesses, public services and private lives are on hold or restricted. Most anxious are youth, the elderly, parents with small children. Many are worried, or even terrified – some for the first time – of what the future will bring.

In such times, false promises or bland reassurances are meaningless. “Business as usual” is no longer meaningful.

Current extreme weather events are part of an ongoing chain that will not break until we all start thinking and acting differently.

Either unwittingly, or by complacency, or with deliberation, we mostly participate in a way of living that is often thoughtless, wasteful and ultimately unsustainable.

We have – collectively – created dysfunctional human systems and structures. Corporations that are beholden only to their shareholders. Political parties whose sole first-past-the-post focus is pandering to their narrow “base.” Businesses whose only goal is making money, not building community or protecting and restoring the ecosystem in which they operate.

We can no longer build, spend and buy without thinking.

We cannot live our lives as if our own behaviour had no bearing on the lives of our neighbours – our human neighbours, but also the profusion of animals and plants on which we depend absolutely for our survival.

And yet…

We are, in one way, the most extraordinarily gifted species on earth. Though not the strongest, fastest, or fiercest, we have an utterly unmatched capacity for mental creativity, intelligent analysis and collaborative action.

And love sublime.

We must all begin imagining and implementing positive, ethical, constructive change.

Not tomorrow, next year, next fiscal quarter, or after the next election.


Warren Bell

Read more: ‘New abnormal’: Climate change keeps making wildfires and smoke worse

Read more: Climate change: Correlation between wildfires, flooding in Nova Scotia
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