This is an article I wrote a few years ago for a publication issued by the National Union of Public and General Employees. I don’t think they’ll mind if I re-issue it several Labour Days later.
FIGHTING THE NEW FEUDALISM
by Silver Donald Cameron
We are the wealthiest people in the history of the world.
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Last Thursday I posted this note on Facebook: "Nova Scotia is losing people, and many small places are becoming ghost towns. But some are vibrant: Annapolis Royal, Tatamagouche — and, I would say, Parrsboro, having just spent two days there.
“I think a lot of people are concerned that if they go overboard about the environment, it’ll have a negative effect on the economy,” said my friend.
“That’s just a total misunderstanding of reality,” I said. “Don’t they know that the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment?”
My friend smiled at me.
If you fix it, they will come.
So says Sir Tim Smit, in our latest Green Interview, released in March. Sir Tim is the creator of Britain’s Eden Project, which transformed a monstrous, devastated clay quarry in rural Cornwall into an enormous educational theme park dedicated to exploring people’s complete dependence on plants.
I'm happy to pay a little extra to buy my power from Bullfrog Power, which puts renewable electricity into the grid in proportion to the power I take out of the grid. I pay a little extra, but I help to build up the renewable infrastructure, and I cancel out the carbon emissions from generating the electricity I use.
What works in rural Nova Scotia — or anywhere else in North America? And who works? And at what?
It seems clear from various conversations people have had with the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture that the provincial government is traumatized by the issue of rural decline, and is looking for big employers to take up the slack left by industrial-era enterprises like the pulp mills, fish plants, mines etc.
This brief quotation by David Korten — whose interview we'll post later this week — provides the most succinct summary I've seen of the giant struggle that we're all now engaged in, whether or not we like it or even know about it.
“You’ll be pleased to know that the emissions for your air travel to this conference have been offset by the purchase of carbon credits,” announced the Executive Director.
The delegate next to me leaned over.
“What language is she speaking?” he whispered.
Canada is “a country that sees itself as a force for good in the world,” says Andrew Heintzman, but “the dawning realization that we have landed squarely on the wrong side of the biggest issue of our time will continue to undermine our self-identity, our self-respect, and our stature on the world’s stage.”
Our transformation into an environmental rogue state is not just a moral and environmental failure, Heintzman notes.