On David Suzuki

I have to admit to a bit of befuddlement over the environment issues these days – particularly where they intersect with economic development.

And I must say that environmentalists don’t make it easy. They all agree (mostly) on global climate change. But beyond that there is quite a bit of disagreement. I heard last week on a BBC podcast a noted British environmentalist say that we must plant more trees around the Equator where it’s humid and definitely not in northern climates where it is dry. I don’t remember his exact logic for this but then I hear David Suzuki telling us to ‘plant trees like crazy’ and my confusion grows even more.

Speaking of the former Quirks and Quarks host (yes, I’m that old), Suzuki made an impassioned speech, I heard on the radio. He apparently talked about ‘hope’, and for ‘our communities’ and ‘our future’.

It’s funny, I guess, that we all come at things from a slightly different perspective.

I can’t get that image out of my head. I was driving through Quebec to Labrador a couple of years ago when we came across an abandoned town. It was completely razed. No buildings left. The roads were being reclaimed by the forest. But as we walked around, we found the foundations for dozens of buildings – large and small, many small roads – this town was obviously a going concern at some point to support a large mine. Then the mine closed and so did the town.

So my point is this. With most of New Brunswick’s communities losing population (over 70%) and some losing at a rate of 1-2% per year, how can we easily make the link between environmental stewardship and ‘hope’ for ‘our communities’?

If we continue on the path we are on right now, with 1-2 generations there will be very little ‘community’ left in New Brunswick at all (with the exception of most likely the three southern urban centres – however, I have said before that Fredericton will need to watch out. If Maritime Union is forced on the three Maritime provinces within 20 years or so – I predict this unless things change – the new capital will undoubtedly be Halifax and without the government in Freddy beach that economy will be challenged).

But I digress.

So, I wonder where the David Suzukis are for the economy? Is that such a counter intuitive concept? To actually have a national, respected champion arguing for effective regional development strategies? Arguing that continued economic isolation will lead to even more feelings of disenfranchisement in large areas of this country?

I like David Suzuki. I think it’s great that he is now a bona fide pop star.

But I’m still holding out for a pop star championing for reinvigorating large areas of this country who’s economies have been put on life support and are slowly dying.