The world is a seemingly endless place, and we sometimes get lost amid its grandeur. Humans feel important running around in circles, surrounded by objects and scathing realities that makes sense to us—yet, we know nothing beyond what is directly at the surface. For years, decades rather, the human instinct to survive took on a different meaning—from collaboration to isolation, and a deeply rooted “survival of the fittest” approach—in business and economical contexts. Our selfish ways, however, are hurting something increasingly more precious and delicate. It is inevitably disturbing the natural and ecological equilibrium that sustains life on earth. I believe in the existence of a harmonic system through which economic growth and prosperity coexists with environmental protectionism; and I know that this mentioned system is not at all difficult to approach.
I have grown to contextualize the concept of ecological and economic sustainability, and I realize that the difference between the two notions is a fine line: It is a delicate balance which, in fact, is erratically being undermined among our actions on earth. Corporate industries, business owners and political leaders have long pushed the preposterous ideology of greed—because in today’s consumer driven society, greed sells. Greed lies at the epicentre of an ongoing baleful issue: an issue in which two mindsets collide and the fragile balance—holding environmental preservation and economic growth—is distorted. Lost in the cycle of a money-making society, we do not see the importance associated with maintaining the equilibrium, and perhaps that is the most startling of all human truths.
I believe in a system which gingerly cusps the idea of natural, environmental and human presence and further balances the contributions of each party to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining future. This system is so delicate and fragile that one disproportionate trigger will inevitably lead to the destruction of natural landscapes, ecologies, and above all, artificial successes—including our economy. The biggest question, one may argue, is whether the balance has been permanently lost in recent years.
The foundation of which human advancement and economic development rests upon would not exist without the natural environment; the two are vital and must coexist effectively for a sustaining future to be made possible. One must recognize both factors as being quintessential building blocks of life; you cannot favour one over the other—and, this is where the term balance comes into rigorous effect.
Meeting human needs has unfortunately lead to an exploitation of natural resources, all the while filling the pockets of wealthy businessmen, corporations and closed-minded politicians. Is this imbalance fair? Why must we continue to compromise the integrity of ecological systems to enhance the human greed ‘merry-go-round’ we call the economy? For some, however, this very process of environmental exploitation is a means to survival—it is their livelihood, and likely, the only provider of income in areas where large corporations are located. This may be explored in Northern Ontario—where resource mining is a dominant and stable contributor to the local economy—and coastal South-Western Ontario—where a growing tourism industry in the Province’s ‘cottage country’ (the case of the village of Tobermory succumbing to economical pressures) replaces environmental ethics and human visitation directly impedes the health of shoreline ecology on the Great Lakes.
For the balance of ecological and human-fostered prosperity to be successful, or reached, citizens must ultimately be educated about the surrounding environment. Correspondingly, those who represent the human population at political powerhouses must step up to the plate and accept that there are faults in the national repertoire of business and consumption rates. The governments in all stages of world development must put an end to unsophisticated spending habits and lack of solidified priorities which much too often plague countries, and indeed their national notoriety.
Perhaps it is time for an epiphanic reform amongst those in control of business, production and parliament; but this seems unlikely. In a world lead by blindfolded and directionless individuals, something more miraculous and grand must occur to buckle the disturbances that create an imbalanced natural versus economic equilibrium. That change lies in the decisions of our people: us humans who drive the industries, consumeristic and political spectrums. We must be abidingly confident in our abilities to create the balance so desperately needed within our natural environment, and likewise, knowing of the faults we cause and press upon the earth and its resources. And to this I believe: we must work together in regenerating the equilibrium and balance the system needs. We must eliminate our uneducated ways, selfish desires and corporate-political consumerist pressures of which we currently face. Only then can life on earth proceed in harmony; in sustainable and flourishing ways with the natural world—like it was intended to be.
Joseph Gentile – Editor and freelancer of environmental affairs, TheLumberjack.ca.