Mother Nature is not a communist

Polarizing rhetoric not only sidetracks us, it provides an excuse for doing what’s easiest: Nothing.

Mark Walker’s column in the Dec. 16 Western was so far off in right field, it must still be baseball season in his world. Every disaster needs a fall guy. But communist peaceniks plotting to redistribute the wealth? I was waiting for “beware the socialist hoards.”

Without fear mongering and name calling to denigrate individuals and organizations that put people’s welfare over profits, how would those with the most to lose by change convince the rest of us that the status quo is working?

I’m as attached to free speech as the next writer and as fond of freedom of choice as anybody who doesn’t want to wear the same uniform as her comrades or drive a Zaporozhet. I like a free market almost as much as a farmers’ market. I’m not a communist. Unless the word, as is often the case, is right-speak for those who won’t pretend the planet has unlimited resources or that toxins spewed into the air and water are rendered harmless by wishful thinking. If that’s the case, paint me pinko or give me a pair of those rose-coloured glasses.

Perhaps “communists and socialists” is a euphemism for “little people and fairy folk” who, tired of their toxic toad stools, cast spells on economists and the hapless politicians who follow them to the end of the rainbow?

Or maybe it’s marketing terminology picked up from the south-of-the-border faction of the free market. Wall Street and the bankers spent a lot of “other people’s money” during their long ride on the gravy train. Is that how a society is built in Mr. Walker’s world? By pillaging it until a country’s economy is crippled, threatening global disaster without a bailout and, when it happens anyway, blaming a socialist plot to redistribute the wealth?

Sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it? But there really are individuals and organizations bent on changing the fact that half the world’s population goes hungry while the other half is overweight. Beware the socialist hoards! They’re after your canned goods. And not just at Christmas; 700,000 Canadians rely on food banks every month.

Polarizing rhetoric not only sidetracks us, it provides an excuse for doing what’s easiest: Nothing. The time we waste picking a team is better spent acting. Even small changes to the way we shop and our attitudes about air and water add up.

Unlike the economy or socialism, our environment is not a system we created and can pretend we control. If we continue to degrade it, the system we depend on for life crashes. In the meantime, incidents of cancer, allergies and lung disease climb.

Saving children and polar bears isn’t the worst thing humanity could do with its collective knowledge, resourcefulness and intellect. Nothing is.

You hit a foul ball, Mr. Walker. Time to part the Iron Curtain and step outside for some air. Get it while it’s still fresh, relatively speaking.

Sandra Vogel-Hockley


Penticton peacenik recycler