The more we produce laws to make our natural surroundings secure, the more we make them vulnerable.
Crazy but true.
An easy example is Saskatchewan’s Representative Areas Network (RAN) and the Representative Area Ecological Reserves (RAERs) that make up the RAN.
Only a few days after returning from the Churchill River at Patuanak and Pinehouse Lake, an announcement was made that a new RAER had been designated 160 kilometres north of La Ronge. The Pink Lake RAER, all 3600 square kilometres of it, is roughly a stone’s throw from an area on the north shore of the Churchill River that is being proposed for a nuclear waste dump site. I had just stood on a newly built bridge at the north end of Patuanak. Official reasons for the construction of the bridge are highly unclear and many folk in the region suspect that the bridge opens up a previously inaccessible area for the purpose of dumping nuclear fuel waste.
So, the paradox attached to Saskatchewan’s RAN was brilliantly evident in the case of the Pink Lake RAER. Because previously permitted activities in the area are “grandfathered” in to the RAER, the Pink Lake reserve will still be subject to existing permits for mineral or other resource exploitation. The fact that a proposed site for nuclear waste disposal sits next door to Pink Lake and the Key Lake mining site is to its northwest makes what sounds like an impressively large reserve look terribly vulnerable.
And vulnerability is the paradox that afflicts the RAN. The guidelines that govern the network make the preserves, which by definition should be secure, highly at risk.
We are like the addict who believes the more he can manage the addiction, the safer he will be from its damaging effects. The more rules, schedules, and prohibitions he makes around the addiction, the safer he will be from it.
The reality is that the more he legislates his own addiction, the more it will dominate and ultimately destroy him.
Our own environmental protection guidelines in Saskatchewan include the overarching principle that any action taken to protect natural spaces cannot impede the economy.
So what are we addicted to?
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