David Suzuki recently stated that climate change is a moral issue. He’s right, but I would also add that climate change is also a spiritual issue. I tend to believe that our exterior environments are reflective of our internal environments. When one is in turmoil it tends to manifest itself in the other. So when we experience things like stifling forest fires and extreme heat that it means we, as a society, are suffering somehow spiritually. Neither climate change nor spirituality are popular topics in the oil-splashed landscape of Alberta. I don’t really care, though.
My parents moved us from the salty shores of the east coast to small-town prairies. They believed, like so many others, in the Alberta Advantage and they raised four kids to believe in it. The economic power this province yields, they somehow thought we would be the better for it. Maybe we are in some way. I believe that we as Albertans have sacrificed some important values in the name of the God: Economics.
Economists define environmental damage due to burning fossil fuels as externalities, something outside of the main consideration (which, if you don’t know, is profit). It is possible to think of oneself as apart from the environment. That is, until, you’re living under a smoked-filled dome. There is no room in this city for climate change deniers. We no longer have enough fresh air to tolerate your hot air.
I grew up in Alberta and I will always love this place of my youth, but we need a serious paradigm shift here. Our values are simply mixed up. The oil corporations don’t own our souls. We don’t owe them our clean air and ground water, but we’re giving those away and we think that’s a good thing because we get a profitable – but unstable – economy in return.
My soul is worth more than that. So is everyone’s. My soul deserves a clean, happy place to rest and enjoy the sky and grass. Climate change is a matter of the soul.
Keri lives and takes care of her soul in Boyle Street.