Ed Schreyer, former premier of Manitoba and Governor General of Canada impressed me today.
I was on one of my favourite sites… The Oil Drum and ran across this article referencing this recent essay written by Ed Shreyer who is now apparently “on the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development”.
It is quite possibly the most lucid and historically cognoscente article on encouraging sustainable living, that I have ever read.
If only all politicians were this… aware.
Here is an exerpt:
After the transition from the ancient Bronze Age to the Iron Age and the decline of Greco-Roman civilization, came the medieval economy of primitive local dependency and self-reliance…. the world evolved even if it appeared to be in steady state. For a thousand years or more, the population was kept in check by natural attrition. Yet, despite a very slow evolution of methods of production by the late Middle Ages blending into early modern times in Europe especially (circa 1500), there was a return of patterns of excessive resource use (and environmental disaster)…. This could be said of Canada and the US even 400 years later — until about 1970.
The rational politics of all this suggests that there is a prudent and practical course of action. It is to adopt the precautionary principle that in the face of growing evidence, but lacking absolute certainty, the most justifiable course is to conserve and attenuate the use of nonrenewables while working hard to develop the renewables.
Does it really matter so much if the cup is half full or half empty? The far, far more important thing we must do is to accept the real possibility that beyond a certain point, global capacity to produce will decline and fail to meet demand.
These are the kinds of ideas and sober realities we need more of in Parliament. I hope the people of the Selkirk-Interlake realise this and vote for Mr. Schreyer.