The Tyranny of the Present
       "The present moment is a powerful goddess" - Goethe
       The short term economic and political bias that pervades our
 society restricts our perception of the relative importance of
 environmental problems and limits solutions, options and actions,
 to address these problems.
       Long term damage caused by ecologically damaging forest and
 fishery management and by the use of fossil fuels, etc., is not
 considered as real or as important as maintaining business as usual
 today.
       A decade of forest science and policy debate has established
 that redesigning forests for elusive timber sustainability risks
 continued forest health and function and therefor risks all forest
 services and human use opportunity including timber harvesting.
 Ecosystem-based management, where maintaining ecological health and
 function is the primary goal not timber sustainability, should now be
 the basis for forestry in B.C.  The Clayoquot Scientific Panel reports,
 ecosystem management in the U.S. Pacific North-West, and the ecosystem
 based alternative plan for the Slocan Valley, all recognize the damage
 done by our present liquidation - conversion forestry.
       Forestry in B.C. remains 70 million cubic metre plus, old growth
 eliminating, clearcutting forestry because the NDP government insists
 that change must not impact industry and related economies by more
 than 10%, even though forest science has established that present
 cutting rates are at least three times ecologically sustainable rates.
       And just as present forestry harvesting levels are a bloated
 legacy of a fifty year old sustained yield approach to forests, so
 current salmon fishing harvesting levels and methodologies are still
 based upon a sustained yield fisheries philosophy from that same
 post-war era, a fisheries philosophy that is now blamed for collapsed
 fisheries all over the world.
       The controversies over the Mifflin Plan and the U.S. - Canada
 fish war, which are about allocation under this faulted management,
 totally ignore the sustainability problems of indisciminate ocean
 fishing seine and gillnet methodologies, and the ecologically
 sustainable river mouth fishwheel and weir solution.  Neither the
 NDP fisheries strategy nor the U.S. - Canada salmon treaty negotiations
 even address the fundamental problem of indiscriminate ocean fishing
 methods, even though fishwheel and weir fisheries could be efficient,
 profitable, easily regulated and, above all, sustainable.
       Short term economic interests, and threatened political fallout,
 do not allow for change to a sustainable salmon fishery, even for
 debate about what a sustainable salmon fishery could be.  Period.
       As wierd weather impacts fisheries, agriculture and undoubtedly
 forests, even as every major science association recognizes the reality
 of global warming, watch this year's belated international initiative
 to finally start limiting greenhouse gas emmissions falter over this
 same short term bias. 
       Even though there is more than enough hard evidence that green-
 house gas emmissions today are causing immense environmental problems,
 even though global warming is proved beyond reasonable doubt, expect
 no substantial reduction of fossil fuel use, not even the proposed
 fossil fuel taxes or trading permits.  
       The reality is that even though informed opinion is clear on
 changes needed to ensure sustainability in forestry and fisheries or
 to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions - these changes are not possible
 in our society as presently structured and governed. 
       Short term economic interest is too powerful - every family that
 lives cheque to cheque; each overbuilt service or retail industry
 business one short step from bankruptcy; each multi-national business
 obsessed with the need for capital investment to survive global
 competition; every stressed-out union; every cash strapped government,
 retired investor, or twentysomething trying to begin a career or buy
 a home; etc. etc. etc. - if the needed change to sustainability means
 a negative impact on business as usual today, then needed change isn't
 possible.  Period. 

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