A host of Canadian organizations darkened their websites on June 4th “in defence of nature and democracy,” saying that they will “not be silenced.” Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, The David Suzuki Foundation, Nature Canada, Sierra Club Canada, World Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace and Evergreen are among the 500+ organizations speaking out; thousands of individual Canadians are following suit.
Helping Nature Heal stands in solidarity with those who protest C-38. At the heart of the protest is a concern we share: this bill weakens Canada’s ability to prevent corporations from depleting (or even laying waste to) natural environments in the name of economic growth. The Green Party of Canada has been particularly vocal about the recent cuts to environmental science; Elizabeth May warns that these cuts will leave us “deaf, dumb and blind to the impact our resource-mad mania, otherwise known as the Harper economic strategy, will visit on the natural world” (“Killing Environmental Science”).
An economy-driven approach to environmental stewardship violates our company’s guiding “Conservation Ethic,” which is inspired by Aldo Leopold. In A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethic that enlarges our sense of community, and thus our responsibilities, to include “soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.” To realize this “Land Ethic,” Leopold argued that we need to :
quit thinking about decent land-use as solely an economic problem. Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.
In 1948, Leopold felt that “there is as yet no ethic dealing with man’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it…The land relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but no obligations.” Since then, an understanding of the integrity and the intricacy of ecologies, and our impact on them, has flourished. However, it is clear that in 2012 we need to affirm a Land Ethic publicly and hold our governments accountable to buttress and access the tools (such as scientific research, environmental assessments and protections, and public consultations) that will guide and limit our use of natural resources. West Coast Environmental Law and Ecojustice warns that, under C-38’s changes, “there is no guarantee that an environmental assessment will consider the impacts of a proposed pipeline project and related oiltanker traffic on the habitat of endangered orca whales before the NEB [National Energy Board] issues a certificate approving that pipeline.” We need to express that economic growth based on reckless extraction of our natural resources is unwise and fundamentally wrong, and so is weakening the institutions and processes that allow citizens to voice their concerns.
We urge you to take a stand. Follow this link to the Black Out Speak Out campaign, contact your MP, write a letter for the local newspaper, attend a protest, speak up on social media. The vote on C-38 could take place as early as Thursday, June 14; our elected politicians need to hear from us now.