A time for reflection
The Christmas season allows us to be reflective in this oftentimes fast-paced world.
And one of the things we can reflect on is living in northwest B.C. We can be thankful for the abundant wealth of the natural world that surrounds us — the fresh air, clean water and undepleted soils that gives rise to amazing forests, abundant wildlife, and wild salmon. We are also lucky to live in a region rich with non-living materials as well – the rocks that contain minerals sought by others living in this province and elsewhere.
This natural richness of the living and non-living world that surrounds us provides the basis for another reflection we can be thankful for – the freedoms we enjoy. Compared to many societies, we have an incredible number of personal freedoms. The freedom to speak out without fear of persecution; the right to free assembly; the freedom of religious and spiritual belief; and the right not to be discriminated against based on sexual orientation, gender, race or age.
The link between the natural richness of our ecosystems and the freedoms we enjoy lies in the way people share in the wealth created by what exists in our own backyards. In many countries only a few benefit from the natural resources, while the vast majority live in poverty. The past year we have seen people rise up against this inequality — the Arab spring and Occupy movement are prime examples.
In B.C., we are not immune to this growing gap between rich and poor. A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report found that the top 10 per cent of B.C. families now earn more than the entire bottom half of families – a trend 30 years in the making.This inequality trend must be addressed by our provincial government in order for all to enjoy a more productive and just life.
Healthy ecosystems and the freedoms we enjoy are things that we can be thankful for during this Christmas season. Addressing inequality is the manner in which we all can enjoy those attributes now and into the future.