Sacred Journeys – June 2010 by Kim Elkington RSSKim Elkington June 1, 2010
The water needs our help before it is destroyed. Through some back room deals, a devastating change has been made to the Fisheries Act that now allows mining companies to dump mine tailings waste into pristine lakes across the country. This happened in 2002, both in the U.S. and Canada, from intense pressure exerted by multinational mining companies, to make mining more profitable at the expense of pristine lakes and rivers. Canada’s government is not consulting with the people whose land it is, or the people down stream. Nor is any voice given to the millions of birds, fish, animals and plants that depend on the body of water for life itself.
Mine tailings can be housed above water, in an ecologically sound manner, but it is cheaper to dump the tailings in lakes (away from the affects of oxygen which make the extractions, or tailings, more toxic). And the word is out – global mining interests are lining up to mine here, and our federal and provincial governing bodies are happy to take their money. This is happening because most of us are unaware of it, and if we wait to hear about the destruction of the water table, it may be too late. Water is our greatest resource.
There are 20 lakes now on a list to be destroyed, but let’s begin with Fish Lake. The steps required to save it will set precedents to follow in the other 19 (and growing) cases. Fish Lake is gorgeous, there are 85,000 genetically unique rainbow trout that will die, there is a community of people whose lives and language and culture will be destroyed by this action, and it drains into the Fraser River – threatening the largest salmon run in B.C. The Tsilhqot’in people, whose undisputed land this is, were not consulted and have made a video called ‘Blue Gold’ in the hopes of being heard by the rest of us. It is beautiful and available on their website, along with the petition. (www.protectfishlake.ca)
Fish Lake is also a focus of the Council of Canadians. There are under two thousand signatures right now and it needs many more than that to get the provincial and federal governments to halt this rape of pristine lakes in Canada by mining companies who lack any awareness of the perfection they are destroying. The mining companies actually tell people that they will leave the lake in better shape than they found it!
How can the Canadian government and the provincial governments have allowed such a devastating change to the protective policies of the Fisheries Act, and make it acceptable to pollute pristine lakes and threaten entire ecosystems?
Clean water is more important than gold, and it is increasingly becoming more valuable as roaming global mining companies drain the earth, as if it is their right to remove it in the cheapest way possible. Together we can generate some attention toward this enormously important situation, through signatures on petitions, and pass them on. All the beings that live around and within these lakes would be extremely grateful for our intervention
Here are a few facts about gold mining, and some things you can do about it as a consumer to improve the situation. Gold mining is one of the dirtiest industries on the planet. The production of one gold ring generates 20 tonnes of waste tailings that need to be kept away from oxygen. They leave scars on landscapes and the indigenous communities, whose land is used for more than half of the gold produced on the planet. Because of consumer outcry there are now a growing number of jewelers who are pledging not to use ‘dirty’ gold (nodirtygold.com). When you shop for gold, ask for the manager and find out if the jewelry contains gold from mines that destroyed rainforests or polluted fisheries with toxic chemicals. Don’t be shy about this. The young girl behind the counter needs you to educate her about why you have no interest in wearing jewelry that hurt the planet to make you look good, because it won’t make you feel good anyway.
Meanwhile, here is a positive outcome from adding our names to petitions recently. As some of you may know, the letters and petitions that Canadians generated recently concerning the U.N. Codex and labelling GMOs has meant that our present pro-GMO government could not verbally side with the U.S. government position that GMO foods were no different from other foods. The Canadian government, still, is not supporting a positive position of GM labeling, but our pressure changed the voice of the government, and prevented the U.S. from shutting down the negotiations (www.caban.ca/labeling).
As life continues to speed up, remember to breathe deeply. Breathe in the energy of the earth and as you breathe out, give the energy back to mother earth with gratitude. Become one, in service to the earth, the air, the fire and the water, and you will be nourished and able to move with grace through these times of transformational change. Namaste.
Kim Elkington is the co-founder of The Algonquin Tea Co, a line of quality teas made from organic wildcrafted Canadian herbs. These days, Kim works with Local Sustainably Wild-picked Canadian herbs to make organic herbal, black, green and chai tea blends. Find these products online: www.wildcanadiantea.com, or www.algonquintea.com Email Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org