PLT: This article sprouts from the fertile mind of John Fefchak, a writer from Virden, Manitoba and a regular contributor to this blog. (It's a refinement of a piece he did, which appeared here some time ago.) I believe you'll find it both funny and provocative. In it, he speaks of modern-day policy-makers forsaking their God-given duty to care for planet Earth. Instead, they have turned their backs on ancient biblical teachings and abandoned their sacred duty as stewards of our water resources, from which all life springs.
"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jessie, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1-10
by John Fefchak
Before there was anything, there was GOD, a few angels and huge swirling globs of rocks and water with no place to go.
The angels asked GOD: "Why don't you clean up this mess"?
So GOD collected rocks from the huge swirling glob and put them together in clumps and said, "Some of these clumps of rocks will be planets and some will be stars and some of these rocks will be…just rocks".
Then GOD collected water from the huge swirling glob and put it together in pools of water and said, "some of these pools of water will be oceans and some will be clouds and some will be….just water."
The angels said,"well GOD, it's neater now, but is it finished?" And GOD answered, "Nope".
On some of the rocks, GOD placed growing things and things that only GOD knows what they are, and when God had done all this, the angels asked GOD, "Is the world finished now?" And God answered.."Nope".
GOD made a man and a woman from some of the water and dust and said to them, "I am tired now, please finish up the world for me…really, it is almost done".
But the man and the woman said, "We can't finish the world alone, you have the plans and we are too little".
"You are big enough," GOD answered them, "but I agree to this. If you keep trying to finish the world, I will be your partner."
The man and the woman asked,"what is a partner?" And GOD answered "A partner is someone you work with on a big thing that neither of you can do alone. If you have a partner it means that you can never give up, because your partner is depending on you. On the days you think I am not doing enough, even on those days we are still partners and we must not stop trying to finish the world. That is the deal."
And they all agreed to that deal.
And they all agreed to that deal.
Then the angels asked GOD,"Is the world finished yet?" And GOD answered, "I don't know, go ask my partners."
Which brings us to this day and time, where we sometimes gather to listen, hear, learn and exchange our ideas with others, so that we may become better partners and continue to do the work that we agreed to do.
Water concerns of Lake Winnipeg continue to come to the forefront and the news is not encouraging. Lake Winnipeg is dying.
It is being overcome with pollution and sediments. An over- abundance of phosphorus has created an algae bloom that is visible from outer space. Sadly, the lake cannot relieve itself as nature intended, for it has now become a reservoir, made by man to harness the power of its waters.
The reports by Mr. Bill Barlow and his associates (Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board) along with the Water Stewardship Minister at the time, Steve Ashton, agreed. All 1.1 million of us in Manitoba have a role to play. And they are correct. For we are partners.That was the agreement.
While governments may actually accept some of the countless recommendations submitted over the years, it is my conclusion that any which hinder economic development will likely be rejected. This is unfortunate and hopefully time will prove me wrong.
Bucko Lake, in northern Manitoba, is but one example of our governments, while claiming to be protectors, are very much in favour of allowing this pristine body of water to be turned into a dumping ground for mine tailings.
A more recent example concerns the Little Saskatchewan River, in southern Manitoba. The provincial government granted an Environmental Act licence to a corporate consortium to extract significant amounts of water from the river for irrigation. There was no comprehensive study on whether this would harm the river's ecosystem. Yet, when the consortium clearly violated their newly-acquired licence, government turned a blind eye. It protected the violators, not the public's interest.
The ground water of the Town of Virden, in the southwest, is laden with arsenic. It must be treated to remove some of the arsenic to make it safer for human consumption. But then, the province allows this poison (removed from the treated water) to be dumped into a creek that eventually flows into the Assiniboine River.
Water, as we all should know, is the life blood of the land and all that lives on this planet. Yet, we often treat it carelessly, use it wastefully and pollute it without a thought.
It is indeed shameful that respect and gratitude have no place in our governments when it comes to the stewardship of our waters. The name of this affliction is complacency.
Even before we are born, we are all protected in the womb by water. Yet, it seems we respect it only after it runs out or is polluted beyond use!
This type of attitude must change.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. There are many things we cannot change. But we can change our attitude. It may be the one "string" on the instrument of life we have left to play!
Therefore, in an effort to be a better partner, I will share with you two recommendations. I believe these will be extremely beneficial in promoting a more responsible attitude toward water and a greater appreciation of its importance in life.
#1 - QUICK AND IMMEDIATE ACTION.
Every government official, elected or appointed (at all levels) should be indoctrinated into a Water, Air and Environmental Protection Program. Under such a program, all would be trained by highly qualified professionals.
This course of action is extremely important. That's because decision-makers need to be more aware of the consequences of the decisions they, themselves are making.
Such a program, lasting 3 or 4 days, would be compulsory. This would give everyone at least some knowledge of what not to do.
Naturally, backup advice by independent experts could still be called upon, before making the final decision.
#2 - LONG-TERM ACTION.
We, as adults set the examples. and Hopefully, they are good ones. Our children will usually follow our lead.
And, if the children are taught properly, from their early school years and until graduation, then I believe the foundation will be strong and everlasting.
Their contribution, once established, will be final and for the generations that follow can only become stronger. It is all a matter of how well we teach about the things we need most to survive - gratitude, respect and caring.
THE USE OF THE WORD - SUSTAINABLE.
Promoters, corporate executives and government officials commonly use the word "sustainable" to soften the unknown consequences of certain development proposals.
But when water, air and the environment are at stake, the use of the word becomes abusive and disrespectful. Water, for instance is not a renewable element, so when a proposed project endangers a water supply, any attempt to describe it as "sustainable" ought to be rejected, outright.
We should never tolerate the building of dream proposals, touted as economic windfalls, especially when conclusions are based on promises of "sustainability."
Our water, air and environment are much too important to be sacrificed in the board game called "Greed."
The Precautionary Principle, by Prof. David Suzuki only re-enforces my words when he says,"Until you know the harm you are causing by an action, it is best to avoid that action."
The simple lesson that we need to remind ourselves of is this:
We, are all but strands in the web of life. And anything we do to the web ultimately affects us all.
At school graduations, you will hear officials congratulating the students and acknowledging their accomplishments. Often, they will warn the young adults that they face a lot of work ahead, cleaning up a mess created by shortsighted decisions we have made, generations before.
I call this "Passing the buck."
We should never leave children the task of cleaning up after our mistakes. For if they are our mistakes, we must also take the necessary action to correct them, not pass them on to future generations.
Our graduates deserve to learn from our experiences but also to proceed to seek new challenges of their own.
They are not "clean up mops" for the unwise decisions we made as adults in times past.
And, as we thank GOD for this glorious fertile planet, on which we all live, may we also honour our commitment as its caretakers. To do less would be to show a shameful disrespect of our covenant.
So, what will you do when GOD is asked, "Is the world finished yet?" and God replies "I don't know, go ask my partners."