To the Editor,
I’ve watched Strathcona Park being brutalized by one government after another for my entire life, and I’ve always believed it was more than just a ‘park’ problem.
I think it has to do with a glitch in human thinking that somehow allows us to become easily confused in our values. To put it simply, our thinking processes are short-circuited by money, to the point where we often forcibly push many of our other values aside.
Strathcona Park is a personal interest, but I’ve watched us brutalize countless salmon runs and ancient forests into extinction in exchange for money. We humans are now doing this as hard and fast as we can, on a global basis.
Why? I think it’s because money somehow blinds us to our other values much the same as heroin blinds a junkie to anything but heroin, and becomes his/her reason for living.
Why else would we be so willing to destroy our surroundings (and ultimately ourselves) for something so ultimately worthless?
But we don’t just destroy our forests, our rivers and all our other valuable natural surroundings – we also destroy our own institutions, which were created by us to serve our own human needs and values. Not only that, but we seem totally mystified when our valued institutions begin to break down as a result of our own actions.
I’m talking about our health and education systems and many of our other institutions, which are suffering so badly these days.
Everything in life is a choice. When we choose one thing, we lose something else.
If we (and our governments) always choose money, we shouldn’t be surprised when we lose other values which are often more important to us in the process.
The effects of choices made years ago by government are now becoming extremely obvious in our failing health, education, and social programs. It’s easy to see the results, but it seems much harder for people to understand that the present problems stem from decisions made years in the past, by a government determined to “balance the budget” at all costs.
Politicians are reputed to have very short memories, so perhaps this explains why it’s difficult for them to comprehend that problems in the present can be directly related to actions they took in the past.
It might be a good thing if all politicians were required to grow a small garden. Since the results of decisions made in a garden usually show up relatively quickly, politicians could hopefully retain some basic rules of cause and effect.
An unusually perceptive politician would possibly even notice that gardens are in many ways quite similar to human societies and institutions.
Watered plants thrive. Brutalized plants wither and die. An insightful politician might even begin to discover there might actually be greater values in our lives than money.