Smoke on the water…

Mcleese Lake somewhere in the smoke
There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it all. ~Robert Orben

And there is smoke in the air…man it is everywhere! With the home fires still a burning up the countryside making life not so nice…and after living in bad air quality central in Prince George for most of my life we knew that when you couldn’t look across the courtyard and see the next building clearly and when the street lights were on at 1 o’clock in the afternoon it was time to pack up and leave town again.Sometimes I wonder if I am just a big baby because what is a little smoke? Surely not in the scale of the floods in Pakistan or the slides in China or even the fires in Russia…and thank the creator that it wasn’t because I can’t even imagine us here in the sparsely populated huge country of Canada even evacuating our little city of 12,000 so how does one evacuate millions? Or what the hell do you do with millions of displaced? It seems our governments doesn’t even know how to budget for firefighting…So for the past 9 years at least the fires have been raging all over the Province…In 2003 the tourist/winery city of Kelowna was devastated by a firestorm that consumed 239 homes with more than a total of 505 million dollars in damage.Last year with a lot of luck and sheer determination the firefighters were able to beat back the fire that threatened to consume Lilloet….yes indeed global climate change is upon us and we are burning up because of it.Yes our brainiacs in Victoria must be thinking… well if we budgeted 60 million for firefighting last years and we spent 400 million and we had a winter of no precipitation and all the pine trees are dead what the hell is there to burn? Everything is either been burnt up with all the fires this last decade or there will be nothing to burn because there is no moisture or it is all dead anyway and we can’t cut it down and make a 2X4 out of it so what the hell lets just go crazy and budget 52 million! And why would you want to budget reasonably? Firefighting is one thing that gets paid for even if you blow the budget…well hows about this for a reason? If you budgeted reasonably for fighting fires then maybe just maybe when you are thinking of the big picture…say sustainability, growth, development, mega projects, forestry, mining, garbage disposal, city sprawl you could maybe make better decisions…maybe when you take in the full costs of living on an environmental credit card and spending away like there was no tomorrow you could see… well maybe we better not do this because the consequences will be more than we can afford when it comes time to pay the 38% interest (or the hundreds of millions in firefighting or other environmental costs) in the future…unlike economic collapse there is no redo button with bankruptcy.Yes like most of the little people who have dug themselves into a deep hole buying big screen tv’s, student loans, SUV’s, $400,000 starter homes and can no longer pay for it we have dug us into a big environmental hole that we are only beginning to see the costs of our folly and like the horse in the Beehive burner we don’t have anywhere to go to escape the repercussions.

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?

~Robert Redford, Yosemite National Park dedication, 1985