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LETTER: Environmentalists should be thanked, says Cape Breton woman

Letters to the Editor
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I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an environmentalist. Like my dear friend Margaret, who died suddenly just four months ago, would say: “I don’t like being an ‘ist’ of any kind. That’s what separates us and gets us into trouble.”

But, on the other hand, I really have to thank those who have the guts, and it takes guts, to stand up and stand out from others and say what needs to be said. These are people who are willing to be criticized and mocked for standing up to protect our most basic survival needs - the very air we breathe, the food we consume, the clean water we need to continue on as a human species.

It’s mind blowing when you think of it. And, maybe, that’s why we don’t think of it? But maybe we actually are starting to think of it. For sure, it is suppressed and this is taking its toll on our mental health, especially the mental health of our young. We know we are going down fast at some level of our consciousness, but when things get really scary one of our first human reactions is to retreat, deny, hide, carry on as normal. And we learn to do that well as we get older. Not so easy when you are young and you see the world very clearly without all the veils. Well, folks, that strategy is not working very well and it’s not going to work.

We are people who consume. And consume big time. It’s what we have become. We have a huge marketplace that needs to be supplied to meet our needs, yes, but more so to fulfill our cravings and desires. What Amazon suggests we must have!

And we have a huge global economy built around that consumption and this includes our jobs and careers. And we have a standard of living to maintain, right? We want a ‘good’ life with all the stuff, or at least as much stuff as we can get. Honestly, though, don’t we often just feel like pegs in the wheel? What kind of power do we have to turn this thing around?

The land, air, water and especially non-human animals are truly suffering as a result of the way that we consume. And the joke, although it’s not a very funny joke, is that we will pay the biggest price. Our own sweet children and grandchildren, who we take such pride in caring for, will be living in a very scary world. A total mess caused by our negligence. And partly because we haven’t had the guts to stand up and stand out.

It’s depressing to think about isn’t it? Probably many of you have already stopped reading this letter because you just can’t hear about it or think about it anymore. It’s going to ruin your day. I understand. I regularly turn it off. I have to.

But please listen when your fellow citizens take the risk, when they have decided to no longer be in denial and, instead, stand up and stand out to try and turn it all around – because it can be turned around. Let’s thank them for it. Because we will be thanking them later, if we are lucky. Like any of the great heroes of our time.

Janet Bickerton, RN

Sydney/Boularderie Island


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