Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When Environmental Issues Overlap with Culture and Heritage: PART 2

Mindful Echo is helping spread the word on fracking. And you should too.

A few months ago I wrote this post about some of the cultural impacts of fracking. It was spurred by a series of protests that were happening in New Brunswick, Canada particularly amongst the community of Signigtog, part of traditional Mi'kma'ki territory.

Well, here we are just a few months later and the situation has escalated, for the worse. Peaceful protests have become violent, people are getting hurt, and there is still no long-term resolution in sight. However, a minor, albeit brief, victory can be counted for Team Environment and the First Nations Peoples when shale gas company, SWN Resources, was denied the bid to extend the court injunction preventing protests.


New Brunswick Premier, David Alward, is committed developing a shale gas industry. He argues that First Nations people will share the economic benefits. What he doesn't realize (or seem to acknowledge) is that the future of our communities cannot be economically driven at the expense of our environment. He asserts that fracking will create jobs that will entice those who have moved west for jobs to come back home. What is missing from that equation is the fact that it will not be a home that anyone will recognize. It will be a home without access to clean water. It will be a home saturated with chemicals like lead, mercury, uranium, radium, and formaldehyde. It will be a home with contaminated air and acid rain. It will no longer be home.*

There are a number of videos that capture the ugliness happening here; the violence, the desperation, and the anger. Click the links to see. On GPB, though, I thought I'd share one that highlights the positive - if there's any to be found in this type of situation - the unity, the strength, and the hope.

Green Phone Booth has a great geographical diversity amongst its readers. I think it's beneficial for all of us to stay informed on these issues that are happening globally because they clearly extend beyond national borders. We all have a vested interest in taking action to protect our precious earth. If you're wondering how to help, the easiest way is to stay informed and help share the information with others.

Here are a couple more current articles that highlight the issues. It's a good place to start.



Paul said...

"A measure of civilization is how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens"

Even if you can somehow believe that the economic benefits exceed the environmental costs of hydraulic fracturing, the fact is that beneficiaries of local resource extraction are typically shareholders who neither live in the affected communities nor have any kind of incentive to care about what happens to those communities (it's true that locals benefit from job creation and spinoff benefits, but these last a generation or two in the case of finite resources). The costs are fully borne by locals now and in the future. And in this case, "locals" are the First Nations community, a group that has been historically exploited, impoverished, forcefully relocated, and generally brutalized under the auspices of colonist-settler society. It will be shameful if this continues without the consent of the local community (and by consent I do not mean top-down "majority rule" pseudo-consent).

Mindful Echo said...

Well said, Paul. I couldn't agree more.

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Green Bean said...

Thank you for highlighting this important issue!


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