How much is left for future generations?

Are we utilizing or plundering the resources of planet earth?

It was as if Mother Nature meant to make a statement when more than five inches of snow fell in central Alberta overnight on March 21, the first day of the spring.

Being Albertans, most of us might not have even noticed that the snowfall coincided with start of the flower season as we are more than used to having long winters.

But the way Atlantic Canada has been battered by successive snowstorms over the last two months must have proven to even the toughest of the climate change deniers that it is obvious by now, thanks to our actions, climate patterns are being radically altered.

With the current pace of change in the balance of the natural weather cycles, it seems it will not take too long to witness much more extreme weather phenomena taking place, creating drought in certain parts of the globe while causing floods in others.

Last Sunday was the World Water Day as declared by the United Nations. To mark the occasion, the organization’s World Water Assessment Program has announced a series of findings that came as a result of the research undertaken as part of its activities.

The report warned that in just 15 years, the world will have a 40 per cent deficit of fresh water.

Ongoing urbanization, rising living standards and increased use of fossil fuels are said to be among the various factors that will lead to scarcity of fresh water in the next two decades.

Interestingly enough, the findings of the report were announced in California, the state with the biggest economy in our southern neighbour, seventh or eighth largest economy in the world on its own right, where some estimates say there is only one year’s supply of fresh water left if the current pace of consumption continues.

According to a map published as part of the report, Canada is among the safest regions in the world in terms of the security of fresh water resources.

The question is what to do with that security: Should our country continue to produce bitumen contributing to climate change, thereby adding further to potentially drought creating conditions while wasting fresh water with fracking technologies and bitumen production?

Or as one of the more technologically developed economies of the world, should Canada look into the possibility of advancing technologies in the field of renewable energy sources?

As some Canadian media outlets reported recently, the government of Stephen Harper has spent $24 million of taxpayers’ money to advertise Canadian oil in the US market over the last two years, and because the oil in this country is produced by private companies, our corporate interest-promoting prime minister has apparently taken that money out of our pockets to help big oil sell more of its products.

With this kind of approach to natural resource exploitation, it is hard to see how Canada can contribute to any effort to leave a more livable earth to future generations.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money,” says the famous Cree prophecy.

With the corporate greed instead of farsighted wisdom dictating policy to governments not only in Canada, but throughout the world, one really wonders if this vicious cycle of plundering the earth could ever be stopped.

A recent study says since the first emergence of Homo Sapiens on the African continent 125,000 years ago, some 108 billion people lived and died on earth. With the current level of our high-tech, advanced and destructive lifestyle, will there be enough resources for another 108 billion to live?

Mustafa Eric