As I approach 80, one of my greatest pleasures is to spend time with my grandchildren, all young, healthy, enthusiastic and incredibly inquisitive.
I worry about what will be in store for them by the time they reach my age, and cast my mind back over some of the enormous man-made disasters that have occurred during my own lifetime.
On a small scale, there are catastrophes like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which collapsed on a windy day just a few months before I was born. There have been many more monumental human debacles, like Hitler’s decision to send five million young Germans to their deaths on the road to Moscow or the Americans’ toll of another three million dead during the Vietnam war.
In my lifetime, we humans have choked our cities with vehicles, devastating the health of millions of our citizens, to such an extent that places like Oslo, Madrid, Chengdu, Paris and Copenhagen are struggling valiantly to undo the damage and return their communities to some semblance of sanity.
Sure, we have witnessed several areas of progress in the past 80 years, but the negatives have been overwhelming. As for so-called social networking — well, let me not go on about how devastatingly divisive it has proven to be. Was it another of humanity’s colossal mistakes?
So what will my grandchildren be thinking when they look back on their own lives? One of the big issues they may well consider in this part of the world is the Trans Mountain Pipeline, a project which flies in the face of all science-based efforts to make this world a cleaner and healthier place.
I hope that my grandchildren will recognize that reason finally prevailed and that our leaders were prepared, in 2020, to accept the wisdom of the First Nations elders and increasing numbers of others who oppose it.