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An Earth to kill
By:  Dania Aldouri, Grade 12, Holy Name of Mary Secondary, Mississauga, ON

Our race to eternal damnation has long begun. Canada has reached the threshold. The next generation’s prospects look bleak — to say the least. In issues like transportation, waste, energy and water usage, and air pollution, Canada ranks near the bottom of developed countries.

In fact, Canadians consume almost three times as much as we should, according to the Living Planet Report 2002 — 575,000 litres of oil and 125 million litres of water in our lifetimes to be exact, resulting in an ecological overshoot. Clearly, our resource demands exceed nature’s supply.

Our ‘high’ standard of living make it difficult to appreciate (after struggling to find) an old oak tree. The soil that has held my roots for the past seventeen years will be unable to support plant life, after the poor management of land has taken its toll. The more sinister news, it seems to me, is that most people have a blatant disregard for the Earth’s well being.

But don’t cry for us, Argentina. Most of these problems are worldwide. The Earth’s population is escalating at a staggering rate. In fact, the UN’s high growth model suggests that the population will continue to climb to 10.7 billion by 2050. I don’t know whether or not to wish that this will be during our lifetimes.

Accordingly, food surpluses will diminish, and poverty and housing shortages will increase. As if the current ratio of 60:1 between the wealth of the top and bottom 20% of the world’s nations is not wide enough.

Twelve million people die each year because of starvation or diseases associated with malnutrition, and yet every time I tune in to watch Dr. Phil, the problem of obesity in North America arises. What was that I said about the poor, starving children?

The economic theory of Malthusian "check and balances" holds true, as afflictions such as AIDS are becoming more widespread.

Remember the stranded sailor’s lament, "Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!" Well, it is the predicted death cry of two-thirds of the world’s population in 2025, who will live in countries with moderate or severe water shortages according to Development and Peace, an international development agency of the Canadian Catholic Church. Yes, it is true: the water that quenches your thirst, bathes you, and provides you with life is all limited.

Bottled water has become a multibillion dollar industry, despite the fact that access to drinking water is a right. For those potential entrepreneurs, how about focusing your attention to bottled air? After all, air pollution is rapidly growing, especially as the developing world joins the consumer-driven global economy.

Scientists, health care organizations, city planners, environmental groups, and still others have long recognized these issues, and now it is our to turn back and adopt the 70’s flower power and optimistic attitude.

It is not time to crawl in a hole and die, but rather to dig up a hole and plant a seed. Really, the solutions are ‘no-brainers.’ Just use less and recycle more. Take the bus more often to school, turn off the water tap while brushing your teeth, and conserve electricity. Perhaps you can participate more in campaigns that aim for fundamental policy shifts that support efficiency and discourage waste. Remember, in order for the earth to support us, we have to support it first.

And yet it is Janet Jackson’s right boob that gets the publicity, becoming the most searched event ever in the history of the Internet. Is it just me, or are the sheep running in the opposite direction? All this leaves me with the somber afterthought that perhaps doomsday is closer than we think.

Before our joy ride to eternal damnation is over, I am going to jump into a big SUV and try to enjoy the ride.


Living Planet Report 2002 http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publications/general/livingplanet/index.cfm

Development and Peace website http://www.devp.org/testA/welcome.htm



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