I am strongly impassioned about saving our environment. I am worried about all the looming crises, from epidemics and food and water in a world of 7 billion people which was half that 50 years ago. Energy and our capacity to cope with these challenges as energy gets more expensive is additionally problematic. Ditto for commodities of all kinds. As our society and government and corporate enterprises continue to divorce the reality of money as a representation of resource allocation rather than an abstract, infinite resource on which we can all consume more infinitely– we abandon the vocabulary and discussion necessary to even have a cohesive understanding of the challenges as they are, and the logical and pro-active micro and macro changes we can harness to facilitate a way forward.

I do not know if I am for or against the AJAX mine. I have to appreciate the jobs, and the incredible amount of money that will circulate and mulitply within our community rather than escaping to head offices around the world. I must also appreciate the local grasslands that it will disturb, and the wild life migration that will be disenfranchised, and the potential effects it could have on the water table for future residents and even myself into mid-life and retirement. I must also appreciate the opportunity that the AJAX mine offers my company to use foreign money to invest in green living arrangements locally, to facilitate community centres to more adequately serve and empower all factions of our city.

However, when one adamantly refuses to accept the pro’s and con’s of a future AJAX mine in Kamloops. When one looks to see how they can diminish the ability of such a large investor from ever becoming a stakeholder in the Kamloops community rather than finding simple processes in which both lifestyles can be enriched–I feel disdain.

Furthermore I must question the environmental ethic. For the environmentalist obstructing the mine on the principle of destroying undeveloped land is naive at best. This is not undeveloped land, this is land which is well within a sprawling metropolitan area which has already become inhospitable for many alpha species. However to get to the point of this paragraph, when resource prices are so high resulting from a market demand exceeding the supply, a mine obstructed here simply results in a different mine built elsewhere. This new mine is likely much further from a developed area, sprawling our human impact into further reaching locations. Additionally the transit required to staff these temporary distant mines is a hundred fold that which a local mine near an established and diverse economy like Kamloops would generate. This further consumption translates into more expensive commodity prices, increased demands on strained resources and MOST IMPORTANTLY: dramatically larger carbon footprints for mine related activities.

My final point, and the subject of the entire article, further highlighting the simple reactionary policy being taken by many active community members in Kamloops is the issue of our “Air-Shed”. David Johnston of What’s Working Inc., a leading green construction firm has this to say, “the air inside the average home is more than 10 times worse than the air outside on even the smoggiest days–We spend 90% of our time indoors.” I quote, not intending to negate the air quality impact of a mine near elementary schools, but rather to put some perspective to it. The outdoor air quality in Aberdeen will continue to be 10 times greater than the air quality within the elementary school and the homes in which our children live, and our children with us will spend 90% of the year inside.

To finish, the most ironic point of contention within the mine obstruction in my view is this: No neighbourhood of Kamloops uses more energy, pollutes more, sprawls more, has a larger carbon footprint, is more car-dependent, is more socially inequitable, destroyed more grassland, destroyed more animal habitat, has a larger per-capita drain on city funds, has more heat islands, more water usage(wastage) and has required more copper wiring and piping THAN ABERDEEN. No other neighbourhood in Kamloops is such a resolute rapist of common resources than the same neighbourhood that is most vehemently opposed to the industry which facilitates their orgy.

Is the mine a positive macro move, perhaps not, but until the conversation is internalized and honest, no other single corporate entity has offered Kamloops the same magnitude of opportunity to change our city for the better than the AJAX mine has.

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