Woodford Files: Wanted – Green Leaders with Vision
On March 24th, David Suzuki celebrated his 75th birthday amidst a chorus of cheers from all those who value his commitment to preserving Canada’s environmental heritage. He knows he’s getting on in years. In his birthday speech on CBC,
Suzuki said: “I can’t save the world by myself; I’m only one person. It’s time for all of you to take up the gauntlet and carry it onward.” His website went on to say: “For this special birthday, nothing would make him happier than a once in a lifetime push towards a healthier environment by his supporters and fans.”
Well David, you can count Vitality among your supporters, because the evidence is in – human health is inextricably linked to environmental health. Whether it’s the connection between air pollution and diabetes (News Briefs Feb/11), or EMF radiation and leukemia (see Helke’s feature in this issue), or nuclear radiation and thyroid cancer, the assaults on our cells are coming from every direction. And the only way to stop this tide of toxins is to take a page from the Egyptians, and embrace revolution.
The recent budget tabled by the Harper government made it painfully obvious that the good old boys plan to go right on pillaging and polluting this country until nothing is left but tar ponds, radioactive waste, dense smog, and a whole lot of people with cancer. (The budget pledged $1 billion of taxpayer money to support the already profitable oil industry, and $400 million to the nuclear industry.) This approach to short-term economic gain at the expense of long-term public health stands in stark contrast to the teachings of Native American elders who urge us to think seven generations down the road about every choice we make.
With that in mind, one begins to consider what this “once in a lifetime push towards a healthier environment” might look like:
- First, a change in leadership. Our government is put in place by voters. If we don’t like it, we can change it. I think it’s time to give the environment a voice in Parliament, and that means electing the greenest leaders we can find. The spring election is a great opportunity to do it, so scrutinize the environmental policies of anyone who asks for your vote. In the green economy of the future, aggressive development of alternative energy strategies and sustainable eco-friendly industries will employ just as many people as the old fossil fuel economy which relies on destroying the environment to maintain GDP. And wouldn’t it be refreshing if we had someone in Ottawa who actually embraced the idea that a healthy environment must be a legislative priority if our kids and grandkids are even going to survive?
- Second, a deep personal commitment to energy conservation can make reliance on dirty fuel unnecessary. Shopping locally, hanging laundry out on a clothesline, and installing LED bulbs are good first steps.
- Third, decontaminating our lifestyles can go a long way towards cleaning up the air and water, while allowing our bodies to recover from daily chemical assaults. This involves switching to phosphate-free biodegradable detergents, choosing organic over conventional foods, using natural health products to prevent and treat disease (drug residues in tap water are becoming widespread), and more.
In the words of David Suzuki, “All it takes is the imagination to dream it and the will to make the dream a reality.”
Julia Woodford, Editor ~ Vitality Magazine