On April 22nd, Canadians across the country celebrated Earth Day 2014 by participating in “civic-minded environmental” activities in their local communities. Perhaps you took a moment to consider how you might be a more mindful steward of our environment.
Earth Day celebrations have grown globally since its founding in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson. The US Senator was inspired to do something after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
Fortunately, Canada has never had an eco-disaster of the magnitude of the Santa Barbara oil spill; the Bhopal, India methyl isocyanate gas release; the Chernobyl, Russia nuclear disaster; or the Great Smog of 1952 in London, England. However, we’ve had our share of environmental incidents, including the Walkerton drinking-water contamination, the Sydney Tar Ponds, and the recent July 2013 rail disaster and petroleum explosion in the town of Lac-Megantic.
Avoiding eco-disasters is certainly something all Canadians can rally around. We all want clean air and clean water for our children and grandchildren. The real challenge, it would seem, is how do we balance environmental protection with the use of the abundant natural resources with which Canadians have been so blessed?
The balance of environmental protection, use of natural resources, and economic growth has been the focal point as development of the bituminous sands in Alberta has become more viable, as well as prolific, in recent years. What makes this discussion so challenging is these issues all affect the lives and livelihoods of fellow Canadians. And make no mistake; these are highly emotionally charged topics!
But, if we can truly achieve this aforementioned balance (environmental protection, use of natural resources, and economic growth), then the future will indeed be bright for Canadians and our environment.
Happy Earth Day 2014