Green Talk:
Elements of a Sustainable Future


Have you ever stopped to marvel at the exquisite softness of the snow as it hovers, suspended in the still morning air, or the way the snow packs under your skis allowing you to glide effortlessly across a field? Have you ever stood, entranced , as the snow swirled around your head in a playful dance calling “Look at me; look only at me”? Or have you ever found yourself stinging from the wild frenzy of the snow striking you from every direction at once and wishing you had stayed indoors? Well for all our technology, we can’t hide from the seasons; we are the seasons. They flow through our veins erupt in our moods, provide all of our needs, and all for free. Everything we do, everything we are mirrors the great reality that surrounds us.

Within this reality, snow provides the perfect canvass for the artistry of the rising sun’s pinks and golds on muted white, sparkling light on streaks of grey, point and counterpoint as far as the eye can see. Birds that sing the morning sun into the sky have it right. Our hens that can feel the coming of spring and have begun laying again have it right. Whether we say the earth exists to serve life or life exists to appreciate and use the gifts of the earth, it all comes out the same. The only problem is that we’re missing the fun.

We’re also missing the point. The earth is here to provide, not just for us, not just for now, but for all life, all time. That freezing winter wind that chills us to the bone can also keep us warm. In the same way, that old summer sun, that drives us indoors to our air conditioning can also keep us cool. Wind and solar energy are the gifts of raw power that we choose, at our peril, to waste rather than accept.

All of our electricity could be generated through renewable means. We simply need to acknowledge and harness the gift. As a bonus, renewable energy would come with much less cost and would generate more economic activity across a wider spectrum of the population than the coal, oil and nuclear industries combined. In fact, an independent study done in 2006 for the American Solar Energy Society shows that within three decades, the renewable energy sector will create more jobs in United States than any other sector of society. A cleaner, safer environment would be an added bonus.

Anyone who has watched the sun rise on a still winter morning or walked barefoot in the grass during a warm summer shower would have trouble accepting that we were put on this earth to shut ourselves away from nature’s touch. Our earth is a loving parent who only wants to be loved in return. She is a giving parent who only wants to serve her children’s needs. She is a forgiving parent to the prodigal child, determined to ignore earth’s gifts and go its own way regardless of the harm done. It’s not too late to learn an appreciation of nature’s gifts, but it does require us to act soon. While Canadians have been busy finding new ways to hide from the seasons, other countries have been developing ways of harnessing their potential. For our children’s sakes we really do need to recognize that nothing in this life is either easy or hard but thinking makes it so. If we can dream a sustainable world we can make it happen. See you next time.

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