First and Last

Share Button

“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” – President Barack Obama, September 23, 2014

Quite a mouthful to swallow! Considering the world we see changing before our eyes is only getting worse for our children. Our children!

We continue to live the way we did 20, 30 years ago. Pumping the same fuels into our vehicles, jets, ships and all other modes of transport. All this without worry of our planet and its natural resources “knowing” it will be okay later on.

Like ostriches, we bury our heads in the sand, ignorant to our surroundings. But did you know that ostriches do that to take care of their nesting eggs? It’s always been a common belief that they do it to “hide” from whatever is happening around them, but this is a myth. They are turning their eggs which are safely nestled in the sand. While they protect, we choose to ignore.

Instead we should be protectors of our lands, be keepers of our lands. And most importantly, remember that we are borrowers of our lands. These lands, our Eeyou Istchee, will be inherited by our children. I look around and see much economic development with new infrastructures every year. But what are we leaving behind for our children who will be inheriting our communities and lands 20-30 years from now?

Growing up I remember going fishing with my mom and dad in our small 30-horsepower “G-man” boat feeling like I was king of the world – minus standing at front of the boat with arms out and screaming like Leo. I remember how mom used to bundle us kids up in warm coats and blankets with the sheer excitement of the quest to catch a large 25-pound lake trout, which wasn’t so rare back in the day.

When we were thirsty, mom or dad would hand us a red or white tin coffee cup, which we would dip in the lake to drink fresh water any time we wanted. While I long for those days and wish I could do the same for my kids and my grandkids, I wonder how we can collectively “be the change” we need to be to protect the future for our children.

You wonder, “What can I do from way over here? I live way up north and most of the pollution is in other parts of the world.” True, there is only so much we can do. But we should be prepared for when “they” start coming to our cleaner lands because theirs are now uninhabitable. We already see the drilling, digging and ripping into our earth to obtain valuable minerals. What sounds ridiculous today can be tomorrow’s truth. Let’s not wait until we have to tell our children, “Sorry, but this is what we’ve left for you.”

Through education, we can continue to teach our children that land and culture are more valuable than monetary gain. Through politics, we need to continue fighting for the future of our children.

As Cree, we are Protectors of our lands, Keepers of our lands, but, most importantly, Borrowers of our lands.

Share Button

Comments are closed.