By John Joe Sark (guest opinion)
I can see great damage being done to Mother Earth if the moratorium on deep-water irrigation wells is lifted.
There is enough damage caused by the use of poison pesticides and herbicides used by the large corporations to grow potatoes. It saddens me to see and hear about thousands of fish floating dead in our streams and rivers after a heavy rainfall.
This has been happening year after year for too many years. If these chemicals can kill our fish, then how safe are they for the human population?
We hear of illness and death caused by these chemicals in our human population, among our brothers and sisters, in the animal kingdom and among birds of prey that depend on these fish to live.
Water is one of the most sacred elements of the Mi’kmaq People. The water, air and Mother Earth are all sacred elements, without anyone of these all life on Mother will die. All of these sacred elements are so interconnected that whatever we do to the water will affect the land and will affect the air.
I, along with many others, am against the drilling of deep wells for irrigation of the potato crops, as I believe it will only add to the problem of more water from the potato fields flowing into our once pristine rivers and streams and seeping down into our water table.
As keptin of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council for the District of Epekwitk, I strongly recommend that the moratorium on high- capacity deep wells for potato field irrigation not be lifted until we are sure these deep-water wells will not harm the quality of fresh water in this province.
To date, there is no evidence that we can be sure.
We have no idea what happens to our underground water, which flows under the surface. We have no idea how much of that water is available to us and what could happen to it if more deep wells were dug for the purposes of those who appear to place profit over the needs of the greater population and future generations of Islanders.
The present model of industrial agriculture cannot be working for P..E.I and it is time we faced this and built the alternatives needed now and in the future. We need to realize that corporate and industrial agriculture has had its day and that trying to rescue it will inflict great damage on Mother Earth.
She is already too wounded by this model of agriculture, which has resulted in destruction of land, water, trees, human and animal life.
Organic farmers are not asking for deep wells. They don’t need them because they have environmentally friendly agricultural methods, which are building up the soil, treating water responsibly and enhancing human and animal health.
As Prince Edward Islanders we have to come together and demand that the government of P.E.I. maintain the moratorium on high capacity deep water wells. Set up monitoring systems on the wells that are now operating, and create legislation with teeth, so that these wells can be shut down if they are endangering our water table, our clean water supply, or causing harm to our soil.
Dr. John Joe Sark LLD is keptin of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council for the District Of Epekwitk (P.E.I.).