Monday, June 9, 2008

GROWTH HAS ONLY MADE OUR LIVES WORSE How do the politicians and the CBC define prosperity?

It is time we ask ourselves: Has this "progress" called "Economic Growth" (of which population growth is the main factor) really made our lives better? Politicians say it improves our lives. The CBC's host of "The Sunday Edition" Michael Enright said on his June 7, 2008 radio show that we need immigration-driven population growth in order to "prosper". I would like to know what his definition of "prosper" is. Does Enright think that prospering means converting hundreds of thousands of hectares of Canadian land from biodiverse ecosystems into new roads, subdivisions, clearcuts, malls, parking lots, and open-pit mines to accommodate about 250,000 additional immigrants every year? Does that make life better for the average Canadian? Has real wealth per Canadian increased? When I was born in 1980 there were only 24 million people in Canada. 28 years later, would a middle class person be able to afford more quality and quantity of real resources now than in 1980? I don't think so. In 1980, a middle class person could easily afford a 40 hectare hobby farm where the climate is mild such as Southern Ontario. Today, you'd have to be upper class to have that. In 1980 a middle class person could afford more seafood with more varieties to choose from, thicker fillets and less chemical contamination in those fillets. In 1980 the furniture that the average person bought was made from solid wood, not particle board with a glued-on veneer that peels off when wet. In 1980 grocery stores in Canada gave patrons paper bags that could be used as tinder in your woodstove, used as mulch in your garden, or composted. Now we get non-biodegradable plastic bags, which are overflowing landfills, littering the countryside, and we are made to feel guilty for using them. The lesson: "Economic Growth", or increasing the GDP does so by increasing the population, which explains why it results in less real wealth per person. More people means less space and resources per person. No wonder "progress" has made life worse for the average Canadian.

Brishen Hoff, President of Biodiversity First
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