The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 May 25


ETF funding — a window to the future

Reading through the list of local recipients of Environmental Trust Fund money, it's clear that the region has an incredible amount of activity in the scientific field.

Being a rural area, we're connected to the environment in a way that urban centres can rarely be. Living in a city, it's often difficult to feel connected to the land and sea, even the sky. Even coastal cities and towns don't necessarily feel all that connected to the ocean in a healthy way. It's there, but it's often ignored, or simply regarded as a resource to be utilized. And restoring the balance, or maintaining the equilibrium, is, at best, an afterthought.

In Charlotte County, there's already the realization that we depend upon our surroundings. Whether it's tourism, farming, fishing, or aquaculture, there's an understanding that, if you don't treat the ecosystem you use properly, it will come back to haunt you. Unfortunately, some businesses ignore those basic ecological rules, and disaster follows. It takes many, many years of sound practices to restore what was once lost. Ask anyone who grew up in and around Passamaquoddy Bay, and they'll be quick to tell you the way it used to be, and it's a far cry from what it is today.

Fortunately, many of the groups that are receiving funding are attempting to ensure that the balance swings back toward sensible stewardship of the region, to ensure it's economic viability as well as its survival.

The Bay of Fundy, of which we're a part, is in the running to be one of Canada's seven wonders, in a CBC-sponsored competition. It's good to see that so many people regard the environment as a wonder, ahead of obvious tourist attractions that are man-made.

That's one of the good things about Canada. While the majority live in urban areas, there's still a sense that this is one of the last unspoiled corners of the planet, and that we'd like to keep it that way as best we can.

The ETF funding being doled out locally won't make everything rosy. But the fact that there are groups and communities being given money encourages them to continue, recognizes their efforts, and also gives them a little publicity for the things that they are actually working on. Communities are receiving money for beautification, but that's all connected. A sense of pride in a community based on aesthetics, extends to other areas. It makes us want our streets and waterfronts to look attractive, and it also forces us to think that we'd like as many of our other outlying areas to look good and be healthy too. The list of recipients locally includes some doing some very important work, and it also includes another key area — education.

We, collectively, have created a very interesting mess for the next generation to be saddled with. The least we can do is provide a few resources for those who will have to tackle these important issues. And the education part is important because it forces us to collectively take ownership of and acknowledge what a mess we've created in the past century. We've come a long way, but we've also not really thought about the consequences of our actions en route. We're lucky that there are groups and organizations that have the expertise and the desire to turn things around, and the ability to actually do something about it. And we're also fortunate to have some world class facilities right on our doorstep, some of which would be the envy of many an urban centre.

Upon reflection, it's kind of an indication of what the future could be for this region, one based on the environment as opposed to taking advantage of it and ignoring it.

LNG developers take note.


© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB