Protecting hearth and home

Posted by on December 13, 2012

Something I love is being threatened.

My ancestors were among the first to settle this land. I am at home here and when I walk these crisped leaf-laden paths, the souls of my feet grind the skins of these trees into soil that’s alive with my heritage. Strength and fortitude has nourished this soil, these trees, those rivers…all of them as much a part of me as the genes that live on in my cells.

When my soul is weary, I head to the shelter of the forest, to the gentle slope of my mountain, to the places where the tide caresses the shore.

I am there now, watching the tide ebb and flow over the frozen marsh. Pausing over the fresh snow where fox paws cross my path, or where coyote and I strode the same space, each of us feeling the frost in solitude.

Can anyone blame me for loving and caring for the continuity of place?

This is my land, my birthright. It sustains me in the same ways it sustained my grandparents, great-grandparents and all the generations before. Albert County is in the blood and bone of me.

And now, the gas and oil companies have moved in. Oh, they’ve been here awhile, drilling away in the distant hills, and I have been as guilty as others of complacency. Of being too busy to take notice. But I notice now. Because my blessed Albert County sits on top of a goldmine of oil and shale gas and my neighbourhood is being threatened by the poisonous process and greed of hydraulic fracking. And my government’s ears are deafened; its vision obstructed by dollar signs.

If you share a corner of the world that is coveted by the industry, then you know that fracking involves mixing huge volumes of fresh water with toxic chemical and sand, then pumping it into the ground with ferocious velocity to shatter the bedrock. You know that it endangers groundwater and aquifers, spews noxious fumes into the air, involves noise and truck traffic and diminishes property values.

It destroys the land. It fractures communities. It contributes to climate change.

You also know it poisons fresh water and segments the landscape, stripping trees and vegetation, interrupting wilderness pathways and migration routes, gouging quarries for sand, stripping forest for highways of pipelines. You know there is a rising tide of opposition throughout North America and Europe. You know that people and animals are getting sick from the downstream effects of the industry. Entire countries, provinces, municipalities have enacted bans or moratoriums. Yet the lure of profit is pushing governments to ignore health, lifestyle and environmental dangers to ‘improve economy and create jobs’.  You know that the prosperity is for the companies and shareholders, not the landowners left with the lingering mess.

The past months, I’ve been wallowing in the research, pulling myself out of the toxicity of each new study I read in order to grab a lungful of fresh air and re-energize myself. We have started our own opposition group (Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County), developed a website, circulated petitions, organized community meetings, joined a larger alliance of others who share our concerns (so excuse me for my absence from blogging!). We protested at the Legislature.

Meanwhile, our government ignores the voice of its people and plunges its head in the sand, spewing out platitudes and unfounded figures of wealth and prosperity that are built on a foundation as tenuous and shifting as the sand pile its buried in. Our news media is owned by the oil industry, so the mass of opposition is understated and largely unreported.

It’s demoralizing, discouraging work. But if you’re going to fight, you have to understand what you are fighting….and what you are fighting for.

Our lives begin to end
The day we become silent
About things that matter

~Martin Luther King, Jr

10 Valued Thoughts on Protecting hearth and home

  1. Tabor

    Congratulations on taking a stand. It takes courage, energy, forethought, research and unwavering confidence. I hope that you have some serious impact. I know the things I have heard about fracking…but not actually seen the details or studied it.

    • Deborah Carr

      The support is growing, but this is a difficult issue because it is so intimidating and complex. It has taken us months to learn enough through reputable sources that we can speak about this with the confidence that we know what we are talking about.

  2. Ceci

    Being a standard bearer for an issue of such import requires incredible dedication and I know it is an exhausting endeavor. But your efforts are not wasted, regardless of the eventual outcome. My roots are in Albert Co. too and I wish you and your supporters success!

    • Deborah Carr

      Thanks Ceci. You are right. No matter the outcome, at least our opposition has forced the government to consider stiffer regulations. However, we hold little hope that they will be sufficient.

  3. Jim Brown

    Deborah a well written article! The title sure does express the frustration and anger we all feel from this atrocious assault on our province.
    You have many allies.

    • Deborah Carr

      Thanks Jim. It is incredibly frustrating. And disappointing. I feel disillusioned and betrayed. But then I look to some of the fabulous people who are relentlessly fighting this and I’m energized again. Our land is worth fighting for.

  4. Rhonda Bulmer

    Deborah, looks like you’re walking in Mary Majka’s footsteps. And a certain biblical personality who led the troops in war…

  5. John Ackerson

    Thanks for this Deborah! Very thoughtful article!

    On the flip side, it’s too bad it isn’t a mandatory requirement for NB’s elected officials to be human.

    I’m guessing they’re actually aliens living among us preparing our planet for conquest as to suit their foul home-world’s needs high in methane and assorted carcinogens!

    On a serious note however, I recently had a conversation with a United Church minister on similar matters. We spoke of what is mentioned during Sunday sermons and whether its actually applicable to modern society.

    I would be curious to know if any of your local ministers, pastors or priests are speaking out against these frakking operations. And if not, then where do they stand on the protection of nature?

    It is generally the older generation who continue to attend mass and also vote in elections, and this could have a province -wide effect if enough churches joined forces to deliver current and meaningful sermons such as the protection of our planet, and its people.

    Wishful thinking I’m sure. Reminds me, I must start construction on an alien-proof panic room.

    • Deborah Carr

      Thanks John. I must admit a tremendous disappointment in our elected officials. The responses from our government officials are what I would term ‘approved key messages’ and none of our meetings have produced honest and genuine open discussion. I have sensed, in my dealings, that individuals have not actually done their own comprehensive research and are relying on party-approved information, which of course, has its own self-supporting agenda.

      I guess we are all guilty, at some point in our lives of seeing things the way we wish them to be, not the way they really are…however I feel that governing bodies have a responsibility towards conducting due diligence when they are making such important decisions.

      I no longer have any faith in our government to make wise decisions or to do what is right, and I speak here of both primary parties – neither has earned my trust. The Liberals approved the leases without asking or informing the people, and the Conservatives, who were against it while in Opposition, now plow forward ignoring the voice of the people. They have shown themselves to be weak-kneed when it comes to the demands of existing big industry and I expect no less from their involvement with the wealthy oil and gas players.

      As for the faith community, we do have a pastor and a lay-pastor in our small opposition group and several local clergy have shown their support. The Maritime Conference of United Churches have called for a moratorium against fracking based on the ethical principle that people have a right to their well-being, and the health of the land, water and air should take precedence over privileges granted to industry. I admire their holistic approach and hold out hope that other denominations will follow suit.

  6. leslie

    Oh, Deb. Persevere in your fight. You have the gift of words, and you use them eloquently. There must be SOMEONE in government (an environmental lobby?) who will help recognize the voices of its people. Unfortunately, we have the same situation here (with government.) It is no longer the voice of the people, really. It is the voice of money.

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