Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 17, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thondoy, Auguil 17, 1971 THE IETHBRIDGE HERAID 5 Royal Hank Leltvr Conservation is a way to stay a ive IN the beginning, n a I u r a 1 forces kept In order llio animal ami vegetable re- sources of Ihe cartti. Not until man learned to use fire and in- vented tools was tlic halance upset. Nature lias not been able It) keep control in competition with our increasing technical skills. As a consequence, tho world of living things is in great danger of damage or de- struction. This does not mean thai ev- eryone should panic, ljut that, everyone, should do what he can to reduce Ihe harmful ef- fects upon nature (if his way of living, and ever, to go so far as to adapt liis way of living so as to meet the needs of na- ture. When the first selllers came to Canada about years ago their presence mattered little. They were few in number anil this is a huge continent. The coming of the railway, the highway and Ihe airplane, and the building of cities, have sep- arated us from consciousness of the basis of life as it was then and still remains: the land, the water, the wild cre- atures that inhabit them, and the air. Sonic people look upon the ef- fort to conserve nature as be- ing nothing else than a desire to preserve beauty. This is a mistaken idea. Unless we con- serve our natural resources we lorfcit life. Man stands at the apex of tho life pyramid, but his indiffer- ence to the needs of other forms of living beings threat- ens to undermine the entire structure and bring it tumbling down. H Is commonplace in this age lo clevale "realism" to al- most the status of a religion, but it is not practical realism to eat, drink and smell dirt; it does not Indicate the posses- sion of great intelligence lo wait imtil the prairie blows in dust storms before acting to preserve it; or (o procrastinate until disease flows abundantly Ihrough kitchen taps before compelling cities and towns to purify their waste water; or to linger until thousands of people die of disease imposed upon them by smog before banning the pollutants that poison the air. Individuals and their so- cieties speak fluently of Ihis or lhat, according to their special interests, as a desirable way of life. Conservation of our resources goes far beyond thai: conservation is, literally and unmistakably, the only way lo preserve life. Without conservation, t h B people of the world arc empty- ing the icebox for a glorious tonight, disregarding the need for meals lomorrow. While, we arc mapping (ho moon and Mars, dropping scientific Instrument.1; on mis, and sending messages to Jupiter and the Milky Way, need to do some constructive t.hinklng about our own planet. CJeologic evidence leads lo the conclusion that Ihe carih will continue to he H comforlably habitable abode for creatures like ourselves for perhaps hun- dreds of millions of years to cornc if we do not destroy it. The most important space- ship in orbit is this planet, yet it has no commander, no trained crew, and no sub- sistence plan. 11 possesses strictly limited lifesupport sys- tems, limited energy capabil- ity, and limited material re- sources. It carries million passengers, and 11 is expected lo accommodate extra passengers who come alxiard every hour. Aflcr stating the ease in this graphic way in an article in Tho Manchester Guardian, An- thony Tucker says: "There are no emergency plans on the spacecraft for sensing and dealing with any approach to instability." He adds: "Few of ttie passengers seem lo care." Look at the facts alwut how small is Ihe area on which we and our natural resources of animal and vegetable life exist. The circumference of our spacecraft at Ihe equalor is- miles, a distance cover- ed by a jet passenger airplane in a little over 45 hours. Tts surface land area is about 53 million square miles, not all of which is habitable or produc- tive. Human beings exist and en- joy life on this spaceship only by virtue of the bounties of na- ture: air, water and food, and countless microbes, plants and animals that convert earth's inanimate matter into a highly inlegrated living structure. If a shortage of fowl threat- ens our spaceship there will bo competition among the pas- sengers for what is available. A thought voiced by Winston Churchill in an address at Dos- ton in I54D adds this spectre to thai of privation: "ft is cer- tain that mankind would not agree to starve equally, and (here might be some very sharp disagreements about bow the last crust was to he shared." Some people sny lhal those who plead in favor of conser- vation of natural resources and elimination of pollution are us- ing scare tactics. Cut if low-key educational efforts failed as they had failed to awaken in- terest in measures to preserve life today and lo make an en- vironment fit to live in tomor- row, then something more was needed to stimulate our in- stinct for self-preservation. An someone with an insight into human nature remarked: "Kducalion of people is very necessary, but you can speed lhal up n little by scaring the dickens out of Ihem." KxlremLsm, even In favor of a good cause, is harmful. II leads cnlhusiasls to overkill. It prompts exaggerated slale- ments, and when in some in- stances these are shown lo bo unfounded the public tendency is to lump all warnings, even Ihose given with authority, in one package and throw (hem out wilh the garbage. The won! "conservation" has, unfortunately, becomo a catch- word under which lo group anylhing in lire environment someone wishes lo (1) change; (2) not change. Agreement, is practically un- animous on the essential points: conservation is a good thing and pollution and wasto of resources are bad things. From that li'jb speculation radi- ates in every direction, so that not only erosion and poisoned air are attacked, but every oth- er unexplained or unpleasant phenomenon is in some way at- tributed to waste and contam- ination. Over- enthusiasm is likely to blur the basic facts, facls which arc strong enough and well enough authenticated to carry persuasion without ex- aggeration. Nevelheless, if it were not for extremists, such as inven- tors and geniuses of various sorts, and enthusiasts for causes, mankind would not have survived or made the pro- gress it has made. There is no need to burden our minds with anxiety about things that may never happen, but it is less than intelligent to brush aside warnings of dem- onstrated dangers. Few scientists believe that the ecological risks have yet reached the point of no return. Equally, few scientists would deny the real possibility that this might happen. Tiiere are thresholds in natural systems which, once passed, seem to preclude any restoration of life and balance. Sincere conservationists do not desire hysteria, but they respect the legitimate fears oC people who know. Common s e n s e knowledge lias been found among all peo- ples for hundreds of thousands of years. But here we have a problem of great magnitude ami complexity with which the common sense of the individ- ual citizen is inadequate to cope, so we call upon science. Science involves not only com- mon sense knowledge but spe- cial kinds of knowledge, rigid methods of analysis, and tech- niques of prediction. Science and technology must he applied to the identification, avoidance anrl control of en- vironmental risks and Ihe solu- tion of environmental prob- lems. The course of progress of hu- man life through the use of fire, chipped rock, agriculture, tho domeslicalion of animals, en- ergy developmenl and tho building of machines has led lo Ihe modification of environ- ment. This Iras gone too far, and men must start adjusling themselves so to bring the natural and Ihe man-made en- vironments inlo harmony. Here is a key question: Is it possible to reduce the impact of lechnologicat change to a pace more closely compatible wilh the physiological and psychological lolerarice of tho average human and Ihe rcceptivily of nature? Conservationists arc not ron- remed with altering the course of nature but wilh Ihe problem balancing human beings and Die rest of nature so that both' may survive. They know lhat throughout, the course of life upon the earth one species after another of animal and plant has disappeared because of its failure to adjust to en- vironmental change. They know, loo, that if the present trend continues to a crisis not only plants and lower animals will hut also man, who depends so completely upon them for his sustenance. Some opponents of conserva- tion assert that ecologists are against technology. What the Geologists want is lhat tech- nology shall take note of the fundamental facl that nature cannot be trilled with. They also seek to enlist technology, with all its cjuah'tications, to supply the means to adjust our behavior so that we do not de- stroy the basis of our lives. We have acquired scientific and technical resources which can be mobilized by intelligent organization to cope with every conservation problem: what is lacking is political and social skill in getting together to do the job, There Is only one way to go. forward, using natural and ac- quired skill to fit man to his environment. This is why the United Nations Organization has become so deeply involved in conservation. It alone has tlie world-wide system tlirough which Ihe essenlial co-opera- tive atd internalional response lo Ihe global challenge can be launched. More Hi an a Ihousand dele- gates from member nations met in Stockholm in June lo focus attention of governments and people on the urgent physi- cal and social problems caused by tcclmology, industrialization, and population pressures. Sec- retary-General of Ihe Confer- ence was Maurice F. Strong, former president of file Power Corporation in Montreal. He re- tired from industry to become head of the Canadian govern- ment's external aid program. The United Nations working paper declares that population pressure, pollution and plunder of resources "cannot continue indefinitely without placing Ihe future of all mankind in serious jeopardy." This is vei-y different from the "passion for beauly" refer- red fo by some political and economic groups as the only objective of conservation movements. H o w e v c r, Ihe thought of beauty should not be lost sight of. Many people hope that they may live in a peaceful, bloom- ing countryside, but acquiesce when improvers go about Ihcir business of using up and defil- ing natural resources bit by bit. They are tranquillized by Hie glossy prospectus of the em- ployment and wages lo be pro- vided, the taxes lo be received from the new development, and Ihe useful things to be pro- duced and sold. In the name nf adding things to living, they are. allowing deslruclion of the things lhat make life woHh liv- ing. We cannot side-si the. econ- omics. We need lo face up lo increased taxes if municipal, P rmce taste. Prince Igor is vodka. Pure vodka. Without a flicker of ts or color or scent. A prince of a vodka. Have the Prince over tonight. no provincial and federal govern- ments are to push through a clean-up job. There may be higher prices if industry finds it Ixjyond it.s capacity to fi- nance the changes that will prevent pollution by its fac- tories ami waste oE resources by its melhods. We have known the word "pollution" since our school- days: now we arc meeting it face '.o face, ami it is just as nasty as teacher made it sound, Sight, smell ajid Uste register its unpleasantness ev- ery hour, telling us that the wastes and effluents produced by modernized agriculture, in- dustry and urban concentration are poisoning the rivers, pollut- ing the air, and covering the lanci. To pollute is defined in the dictionary: To make physically impure, foul or filthy. Some of the pollution that plagues us is an undesired and unforeseen by-product of manufacturing the goods and providing the services we want. Pollution is not merely a problem for scientists and (eth- nologists: it is also of social concern. The extent to which we allow our environment to become fouled is a measure of our cultural and aesthetic stan- dards. The least that we can do to maintain our self-respect is to clean up as quickly as possible, using all available physical, financial, and tech- nological means, and then put into practice plans that will prevent this state of deprave- ment from happening again. Here is a segment of life wherein young people caji he- come dominant in a creative way. Youth is animated by idealism and has excellence in view. It wants results at once. It has in its ranks many thou- sands of young men and wom- en who are not revolutionary, not anarclustic, but who seek to put right what is wrong with the world. All across land, young people arc already engaged in the Eight against pollution and waste. They are working dil- igently to collect solid garbage for recycling and to inform MIR public about anti-pollution mea- sures. The word "recycle'1 is so new that it does not appear in most dictionaries. The core of its moaning is that resources be used over and over again, thus reducing the drain upon natural resources and helping in the .seemingly impossible Eask of disposing of solid garbage. In January, one clay's edition of the CJiicago Sim-Times was printed on recycled paper. The recycling paper plant con- serves one and a half million trees a year. Education is the only means of mobilizing an enlightened and responsible population (o cooperate in work like Ibis. Ai- most from their birth children should he introduced into sur- roundings conducive to their in- (clligcnt understanding of Ihcir part in nature and the respect due to nature's laws. Tlte crusade to overcome the damage that is being caused to our way of life by pollution and waste of resources is not only lor young people. It was by chance that mature people of this year found themselves in environmental trouble. When they were young, not enough known about pollution and nthcr harmful effects of tech- nology to raise a warning sig- nal. Rut now they recognize (hat they are living in a rapid- ly dctcrioraling environment and must do their part in cor- recting Ihe condition. if Preservation of man's place in Jiving nature is not somc- Iliing to be left entirely to spe- cialists. Those who arc en- gaged in the scientific and Icch- nical work need mass support. Only widest use of newspapers, educational machinery, film, radio and television, will sway the public iosvnrd giving the help that is necessary. Intellec- tual awareness of the n e e rt must be followed by action massive enough to meet the crisis. Redemption and preservation of earth's natural resources cannot pushed off into the future. The world's welfare de- pends upon the .setting in mo- lion today of remedial and cor- vcclivc actions miule public at Ilic conference. National jealou- sies and the sanctity of parrv r.hial boundaries need to bo brushed aside in this planol effort, tiovcrnmenl.s in all Kinds need lo take (lie initiative in establishing and publishing guidelines for their citizens. They should present to their neopln periodic reports telling I he stale of the environment, Ihc outlook for Ihe succeeding year, and the Key activities on w h i c h particular emphasis should he placed. The situation rails individual initiative wUhin a large pattern of ac- tion. Unpublished manuscripts Ttif> N'fiu.1 Vfirk Tim pi; The New York One of the more pointless dislocations caused by the Arab-Israeli dispute these last five years is Die loss to the scholarly world of authoritative publication of the- Dead Sea Scrolls. Editing of these manuscripts virtually ground lo a halt in 1967, after Israel occu- pied East Jerusalem and assumed de facto control of the Palestine Archcological (Rockefeller) Museum, where the bulk of the scrolls are held. The Israeli govern- ment has been eager to assume sponsor- ship of the project, started in 1955 under Jordanian rule, but one or two of the KJ international scholars entrusted with the scrolls refused to permit their publication under any form of Israeli auspices. There arc hvo ironies in this deadlock. One is lhat such passionate refusals to tolerale Israel's new role in Jerusalem should come from scholars wilhout direct national ties to either side in the Israeli- Arab conflict indeed, thai these oul- siders should consider rcsiblanco their business while Israelis and Arabs In Jer- usalem themselves moving toward a routine coexistence. 'ITie second irony is that archeologists ar.d biblical scholars, devoted to the study of ideas and events of thousands of years ago, allow themselves to be so inhibited by a 2fJth-ccnlury rivalry. Five impressive volumes In the "Dis- coveries in the Judcan Desert" series ap- peared in the decade before the war, but many of the most significant biblical and nor.-bibhcal texts are still unpublished, available to general readers and scholars alike only in rough and often hasty render- ings. In these difficult and obscure texts lie unique insights into the relations be- tween Judaism and Christianity. It is in- excusable to delay Ihcir publication any longer because of the personal political prejudices of one or individual schol- ars. ERIC NICOL Replacing war news ATELY much of lire front-page war news has reported the struggle be- tween Spassky and Fischer. Readers who previously didn't know the Ruy Lopez opening from a Spanish onion have been following the phases of Ihe great contest. Maps of Vietnam have been ic- placed by the chessboard and positions of the men surviving each engagement. None of the sexual perversions (logged by the movie ads has drawn as much gog- gling attention as Bobby trying to get mate on Boris. This phenomenon could be the beginning of a whole new era of interest in interna- tional warfare. The old kind of war, the type in which people gel killed, has grad- ually faded as a spectator sport. Excepl for a few retired colonels who still view Ihe manocuvcring of human pawns as a jolly good the public has lost its taste for la gramle illusion. The Spassky-Fischer War has provided excitement without bloodshed, if we don't count those of Fischer's legal advisers who have slashed their wrists. It is not necessary to be an expert In chess tactics to appreciate the gambit and counler-gambit of the masters. Admittedly to savor the subtlety of the moves, the average reader is not as qualified I, ttie holder of n black belt in Chinese checkers. Like Fischer I was something of a child prodigy at chess. At the age when other boys were studying the moves to gel around a girl, I was engrossed in compro- mising a bishop. The considerable skill I developed at chess dil not carry over to officers' train- ing school. I failed the field strategy test because I couldn't relate to the enemy un- less he had his king along. What was tha point of capturing a slrong point if Ihe big piece wasn't silling behind il Bobby Fischer loo would make a great general and a lousy soldier. He would turn up six minutes late for the attack, and re- fuse to engage his forces till somebody changed the color of the uniforms, guaran- teed an additional in spoils and gave him a new tank. Put chess Ls such a beguiling form combat that the commander-in-chief need not have Ihe charm of an Ike to win ad- mirers lo his campaign. All we require 13 the board and 32 men lo replay the titanic battles. We can enjoy a great victory In knowledge that the defeat destroyed only a small part of one man's ego. Because chess is warfare lhal admits lit- Uc elemenl of luck, Ihe combatants create potential alibis unrelated to the relentlessly equal division of men and material. Wa international grand duffers excuse Ihem Iheir primH donna performance, grateful for the chance to re-ennct the brilliant thrusts and parry of phenomenal human minds engaged in total war. So, unleash your terror weapons, Bobby. Future generations have nothing to fear from the fallout and radioactive snit. And here's hoping that chess bailies be- come a permanent part of our front-pagu news. The perfect form of hostilities more imaginative than Vietnam, yet not 50 gory as the NHL lhat is chess. (Vancouver Province fealureO J M FISHBOURNE McGovern Nixon so what? [VKXT November, our American neigh- bors will go to Ihe polls to elect a president and a vice-president. Apart from Senator George McGovern's singular way of choosing a running mate, the prelimin- aries seem to be going along much as usual. It probably is safe, then, lo expect that during the next three months much of the world's business will slow lo a halt, while diplomats and negotiators of various stripes offer each other all sorts of ex- cuses for temporizing wilh even the most vital issues until it is kriou-n who will win .the election, As news from the international scene diminishes, its place undoubtedly Mill be taken by Ihc commcr.ls anil pontifications of editors, columnists and other cxperls whose syndicated examination of Ihe elec- loral scene will pour out upon us until even the most ardent followers of U.S. news will have had their fill. And it is just about time for Ihc prog- nosticalors to get to work and satisfy that curiously American North American, lhat is passion for divining events in ad- vance. Soon, polls will be taken about any- thing and everything for which the remot- est connection wilh Ihe flection can be found or invented. Seers, astrologers, pun- dits and all manner of soothsayers will clutter up the papers and Ihc airways with their predictions and auguries concerning nil Ihe important matters, as well as any trivia their cousins the pollsters may missed. Now I don't want (o start an international Incident, or even lo ruffle the feathers of any indigenous yankophiles by suggesting (hat this quadrennial extravaganza is less than earth-shaking, but in aU candor 1 have lo confess lo some rather serious doubts that it matters much whether the While House is ooccupied by a Democrat or n Republican, In Ibis I find myself with a growing number of Washington-watchers, both in and out of the U.S.. who arc coming to believe that as long as American busi- ness and military affairs arc conceived and conducted as Ihey arc, the president is just along for the ride, and only con- cerned wilh picking out whatever political advantage he can from espousing one po- sition or another. Unfortunately, this seems particularly (rue in a situation such as the cm-rent one, in which an incumbent president is seeking re-election. All authorities, from Hie most rabidly partisan to the seemingly neutral, concede without argument lhat any presi- dent looking towards a second term has no interest whatsoever in the merit of any policy or action, hut only in whether it will gain or lose support votes or dollars in Ihe coming election. If lhat is indeed the case. It doesn't really matter whether Ihc "decisions" ara being made by a Republican or a Dcmo- crnl. SOMETHING an rditor is supposed lo do is check spellings and alwiil which he has doulils. So when ,loa Ma submilted an editorial in which he slated lhat coffee is next to petroleum in world Iradc I tried lo check it out. When Hie- encyclopedia and almanac both failed lo provide the answer 1 appeal- ed fo my superior, Editor and Publisher Clco Mowers. Since ho was in and mil n[ Human depravity By Walker his office tlisl day I resorted to writing him a note. I asked him if he thought the statement about coffer being second In world trade sounded right and stating that I (a non coffee dnnkcrl found it hard lo believe. Cico's return note said, "I am not sur- prised. You abstainers rlon't appreciate tli9 vast tslent of tniman depravity."