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Volume 18 Issue 3
September/October 2012

Vegetables: To Cook or Not to Cook

Ayurveda in Saskatchewan

The Mystique of the Sewing Room

A Vision for the Future – Organic Connections Conference 2012

The Gift of Forgiveness

Life Beyond The Smiling Mask

Inspiring Integrity

Objective Evidence vs Ideology on Environmental Issues


Objective Evidence vs Ideology on Environmental Issues
by Donald Sutherland

I fear for my grandchildren and for yours. Prior to the election of the Harper government, I thought we had at least a fighting chance, with enough shoulders at the wheel, to inch our way back from total ecological collapse. Now, I see a government ideologically based, determined to silence scientists and environmentalists as misguided distorters of truth.

On March 26, 2012, award-winning journalist, Andrew Nikiforuk, published an article online in The Tyee, British Columbia’s Home for News, describing our Prime Minister’s Evangelical Mission: “Almost daily, more evidence surfaces that Canada’s government is guided by tribalists adverse to scientific reason in favour of Biblical fundamentalism.” Nikiforuk points to many examples such as: Canada’s pull out of the Kyoto agreement “without any rational plan or achievable national plan to battle carbon pollution”; Joe Oliver, Natural Resource Minister, branding local environmentalists and First Nations as “foreign radicals” because they had the gall to question the economic and environmental government rhetoric favouring a largely Chinese-funded pipeline; “The data-antagonistic Harper government has so muzzled federal scientists that an editorial in Nature magazine called for setting Canada’s scientists free”; Tory Senators are threatening to revoke charitable status of groups who speak out for the environment or against subsidies supporting fossil fuels.

Nikiforuk asks, “From where do these ideas come?” His answer, “The Prime Minister belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a church that believes that the free market is divinely inspired and that non believers are lost.” Further, Nikiforuk points to the Cornwall Alliance as likely to have Harper’s ear. They are reported to question mainstream science, doubt climate change, view environmentalists as a “native evil,” champion fossil fuels, and endorse libertarian economics. One Cornwall declaration describes environmental regulation as an impediment to God’s will. Nikiforuk quotes a book published by the Alliance called Resisting the Green Dragon, painting environmental groups as, “one of the greatest threats to society and the church today… The Green Dragon must die… no excuse to become befuddled by the noxious green odours and doctrines emanating from the foul beast.” A series of twelve half-hour videos is promoted on Google as a biblical response to one of the greatest deceptions of our day. Environmentalism is described as the new religion, devastating to the world’s poor, threatening sanctity of life, and targeting our youth.

In contrast, the Dalai Lama has worked tirelessly to converge, in his heart, mind, and action, science and spirituality. At a ceremony in honour of his recent acceptance of The Templeton prize, he said, “I am looking to science (specifically neuroscience) to convince a skeptical and increasingly secular society of the power of compassion to change our lives and the world.”

Another strong, long-lasting voice in support of excellence in scientific research and thought is the Pontifical Academy in Rome. This academic body consists of 80 academicians chosen from among the world’s most famous scientists. Successive Pontiffs see sound science as vital to enriching faith rather than seeing faith as vital to rejecting science.

Reprinted courtesy of Earthcare Connections, PO Box 1790, Wynyard, SK S0A 4T0. Phone (306) 554-LAND, email: info@earthcare.ca, www.earthcare.ca. Donald Sutherland is a career counsellor, personal coach, and mediator with special training in restorative justice. He is also a professional agrologist who divides his time between Saskatoon and Winnipeg, and he is also an active farmer in west-central Saskatchewan, email: donaldsutherland@sasktel.net or visit donaldsutherlandconsulting.com.


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