My idea to blog about my feelings regarding Fish Lake, came after a bus ride yesterday. I was reading an article in the Epoch times entitled "Controversial mine could get green light despite opposition"
I'd forgotten to add my journal to my purse,and ended up scribbling all over the newspaper, circling points I argued with. Grumbling aloud on the bus I must have been, for some, their "crazy person on the bus today"
"Your welcome!" I say to them. LOL.
Anyhow, Fish Lake. It is in Northern BC, not far from Williams Lake. It's also near other northern communities, I think of it as near Williams Lake, as I have family there, and this directly affects them. So while I oppose so many things about this proposed project, I'm always aware of the impact of both my protest and the mine on their lives and community.
Truthfully, I could not even describe the scope of the project to you. I know that overall, it is proposed that they open a huge mine. They will close and/or wreck minimum 3 lakes and lots of land will be forever changed. The first nations people are screaming loudly, as well they should. There will be massive destruction to nature and land, irrepreable damage. If you haven't heard anything about it, I suggest that you go read about it.
There are a few different points on my mind, around this topic, I'd like to lay them out for you here.
As mentioned, I have family up north. They live up there with their familes and their friends, trying to get along the best they can, just like the rest of us. Our Northern forestry industry has changed a lot in the last years, the pine beetle has taken away trees and jobs. It is my understanding that jobs have been declining there for quite a while, I suspect it's not only the pine beetle's fault.
When the Fish Lake discussions hit facebook, my sister posted - "Before you sign petitions against it.. Please understand our community needs jobs"
I paused for about a day, but soon realized I can't let this stop me from pursuing the paths I feel are right. I pondered how everywhere on our planet, there are injustices against nature, and in all of those places there are people.
If I didn't speak out against this injustice because my much loved sister lives there, then what is to stop my mom fighing nestle robbing the rainforests cause her sister vacations there? or my neighbour from fighting BP, cause his cousin's sisters ex mother in law knows someone who works there? Sounds crazy, but where would the line get drawn if I choose my sister and her brood over the planet and it's ability to sustain human life?
I love my sister. My neighbour can care about his cousins sister's ex.. BUT.. we can still stand up for what we believe in. My neighbour and I must also understand that those on the other side of the issue have two choices.. they can choose to respect us for standing up for what we beleive in OR they can be mad. They can choose to not speak to us. We will have to accept that. I do. I accept that you have the right to your reaction. I will be respectful and hope you will too.
In the article I read, amongst the sentences like "irreversible environmental impact", It said the mine will have a 22 year life. PAUSE. WHAT! 22 yrs. That's it. All these problems for a mere 22 years. This part of BC has been dwindling for at least that long I would suspect. They plan on wrecking it, for 22 years of jobs. How many will actually be put to work anyway? Does anyone realize that if it's only open 22 years, that the young men who go to work now, will in 22 years have children who are in an even worse position as they find themselves in now?
Those kids will grow up unable to enjoy nature they way their parents did. 3 less lakes to fish in, countless others possibly polluted nearby. Wildlife patterns will change for sure. Would you want to eat a deer that may have drank from a trailings pond? Your natural wonderland, won't be so wonderful for them. When they grow up there's nothing left there for them so most will be forced to leave or wait til more temporary jobs get created, probably with more harm to their environment.
As I finished the article I remembered that a more nomadic life is part of our human experience, and perhaps we are becoming humans that get too attached to one place. We don't live in an age anymore, where a home is passed thru generations. And perhaps that's a good thing. We are evolving, and as we do.. I think we will want to pass on experience not possessions.
What if a town like Williams Lake, begins when people gather in the area as there is an abundance of trees to utulize.. some stay and raise a family while they sustainably log some trees for the use of the people. In time, a small commmunity is created, and hopefully thru mutual trade of goods and services.. all help each other survive. THEN.. when sustainable use of trees is no longer a viable option, instead of continuing to log, creating temporary bandaids and raping the land.. people realzie it's okay to move on.
"we have each other, we had a great time here, we learnt a lot.. let's go elsewhere now and spread this knowlege and learn some thing new"
These people would realize they don't need to hold onto a big house, with tons of possesions, they would not need to gather self esteem from the accumulation of goods, it would be the accumulation of knowledge and belonging and community that would raise the collective self esteem.
(Raised self esteem would bring new ideas to prosper and people with new ideas aren't often called rednecks.. just saying..lol)
If with all your might, with both hands, your pulling and struggling to hold onto something dead and done.. you have no hands available to stretch and be open to something new and alive and different. Is that not what so many communites are doing? I am convinced that if they stopped struggling and fighting to hold onto old ways, new ideas and opportunities could abound. Often new opportunity will only come to us when we open ourselves and our minds to the possibility of change.
There is another important thing that happened in Williams Lake, that I beleive affected the public reactions to the mine opening. This huge problem is occuring in a lot of communities and it will continue to affect these communities, until people begin to realize the power each dollar they spend has.
I remember hearing from my family up there and seeing on facebook, how excited everyone was that WalMart was coming. Even before it opened, I tried to explain that Walmart would not be helpful to their community.
(A note that Walmart is in my opinion, the most notorius for killing community, but every where you spend a dollar is a decision to support or not suppport your community/local economy. Consider Costco as another example. If you live in a ranchland area, you should go to a ranch and buy meat.. going to Costco to buy your meat is an insult to your neighbours, your planet AND your palette!)
Apparently opening day was "fun" (Fun to me is not a huge warehouse of disgusting plastic chemical smell, vat size tubs of margarnine on sale and 80% off anything with red dye #40)
Skip ahead a few years, and their main street is not the same. Small business, cannot compete with WalMart if the town chooses to shop there. It just cannot. Each business that closes has impact on your community. More businesses close, more people need jobs. Now all the teens and grandmas work at WalMart and all the moms and dads NEED Jobs. And even if by stroke of luck, a small business did manage to stay open, people can only afford to spend their money on rollover prices at Walmart. Eating for dinner whatevers on sale at Walmart today!
Now they're desperate, now they applaud when someone sings "Prosperity MIne! We'll bring you prosperity!"
If all of us, everyday, thought "how can I live sustainably today? How can I have a lower impact on the planet and make it last longer for generations to come? What could I alter in my plans so the outcome is the best for all"
Imagine what we could accomplish.
Unfortunately, we are not shown how to plan ahead. We live in a fast food society, and we are taught to think that way as well. What if we stopped to process our decisions? Perhaps we all need to sit down and eat together again, perhaps chewing and listening, would help us process, help us discuss and to listen to the people who we are sharing the planet with. Talk and listen, listen and discuss, with the people that matter in our life. If small groups could begin talking, then bigger groups could begin talking. Awareness of consequences, thoughtfullness on decisions would make a huge impact. We'd make decisions from a knowledge base, not a fear base more often.
I guess I would hope I could jump back a few years and say to my family "can I give my opinion on why you might wanna reconsider being happy Walmart wants to come to town" and I would hope they could listen to me, and know it's from love, that it is my hope for long term sustainability of happiness in their family that I want for them, not lower everyday prices.
My sister is incredibly strong, and she's flexible. I'm happy to know her family will survive no matter what. I'm not sure about all the rest of the residents. I will continue to fightagainst Prosperity mine opening at Fish Lake, so I hope they find jobs elsewhere cause if I have anything to do with it, they'll be moving on before they're working at a place that is detrimental to MY planet.