Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I would put the following questions and observations to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC):

I understand that you have an arrangement with the Royal Bank of Canada. When customers agree to transfer to electronic bank statements, a portion of the savings remits to NCC. In return, the Royal Bank can advertise that, despite its role as one of the major drivers of economic growth in Canada, the force that wreaks havoc on biodiversity and generates GHG emissions, it is a responsible “green” corporate citizen.

Much in the way that Al Capone made himself a high-profile donor to the Catholic Church to buy respectability in the community. In granting the Royal Bank the respectability they crave, your actions are somewhat similar to those Pope Rodrigo Borgio when he promised heaven to large donors to the church. The Bank now has ecological dispensation, the PR brownie points, or rather “greenie” points it needs to cloak its raison d’etre: funding loans to developers and buyers so that they can keep building the sprawling subdivisions that threaten about 70% of the endangered species in this country, the ones you want to protect.

Do you think they will be safe forever, as you promise, behind the walls of your protected preserves in the face of an annual population growth rate of 1.08%, the highest in the G8?

Do you think they will be safe forever in your preserves, from pollution? Safe from mining corporations that a stroke of the Congressional pen allowed into the sacred Yosemite National Park? Safe from developers like the ones who built houses on the “no-go” pastures outside of Portland, Oregon, home of “smart growth”? Safe from the development pressures that finally broke down the walls of Britain’s sacrosanct Greenbelts to construct housing for population growth inflated by high immigration?

If your protected land is eternally safe why have you taken many people to court for damaging this “protected” land? Do you plan to hire a security company to walk the perimeter of your lands? And when population growth engulfs them, how are you going to pay for the higher tax assessments on your “protected” lands?

Final question, who is the author of the pressure that will be placed on your preserves? Think about this one. The five major banks, as was stated, underwrite development. Both the banks and the developers profit from a growing population. Who in parliament promotes that? The Harper government and the government in waiting, the Liberals. To whom does the Royal Bank and its corporate colleagues give generously to? No need to answer. They give to you and they give to them. Just as Capone gave to the Church and then funneled the bulk of his fortune into his illegal booze operation.

For your part in making this sordid deal with one of the major engines of habitat destruction, you are like a Christian charity that puts a donation box in a crack house. Of course you will use the rationalization that is now universal in the mainstream environmental movement. Growth can be stripped of its ecological consequences if it is properly managed or channeled out of harm’s way. The greenbelts of Portland, the UK and elsewhere put the lie to this self-deception.

The whole environmental and conservation movement in Canada is a disgrace. By looking the other way on economic growth, a function of our growing population level and rampant consumerism –again encouraged by the lending institutions---you are complicit in an intergenerational crime of unprecedented proportions. My nephew and niece will be robbed of experiencing much of Canada’s biodiverse treasures.

What do you have to say for yourself?

Tim Murray, Quadra Island, BC December 21/07

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