The Goddess holding a moon

Goddess Moon

I am a Wiccan High Priestess. Few realize it, but there are responsibilities that go along with that whether I have an active circle or am just a solitary practitioner. I take these responsibilities very seriously and try to carry them out to the best of my ability. 

It may seem self-evident, but one of those responsibilities is to listen and actually hear what the Goddess and God are telling me. This doesn’t mean watching for a bunch of omens and portents, but simply being open to what the world around you is showing you. The Goddess and God aren’t always obvious; most of the time they’re rather subtle and it’s hard to hear. Then there are times like this when it’s a blatant slap across the face.

For the past month it’s been raining off and on in Edmonton, Alberta. Not something that overly concerns me, I know the sun will come out sometime. If it doesn’t, I know how to swim and the Bible has great instructions on boat building. So it’s not something I’ve worried a lot about, especially since we had an incredibly dry winter.

However, over the past weekend, I’ve become more aware of the environment and the world around me than usual. I live in one of the most ecologically friendly buildings in Edmonton; built from recycled materials, it has geo-thermal heating/cooling and solar panelling. This building is what housing will feature in the future and I am proud to live here. I am also one of these people who take the bus or walk everywhere I need to go. I don’t own a car but I will use one occasionally whenever someone’s silly enough to hand me their keys. Most of the time, though, walking is enjoyable and good for the heart. I recognize, though, that this green-friendly activity isn’t mine by choice, but is one of the wallet. So, to take a more active role in saving the earth, I have gone paperless in my life. I don’t take receipts and use my debit card so I always know what transactions I’ve done, I have yet to refill the ink in my printer, all my edits and I do all my writing on the computer. I now use about 10% of the paper I once did. I’ve challenged other writers to go paperless, but so far none have accepted the challenge (see “Suckling at the Paper Teat“, January 7, 2012).

Things finally came to a head when I watched a neighbour watering the pavement on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Rain was imminent and I sat, stunned as this man took a hose with a high pressure water attachment and watered newly paved parking lot. Maybe this is an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder thing. I don’t know. Whatever it was, it made me angry.

When I told my sister about this pavement-watering moron, she stared at me like I’d suddenly started speaking a foreign language. She honestly didn’t understand why it bothered me so much. I then looked around her house and realized she is one of Canada’s resource gluttons. I was ashamed. When I went home that night I was disillusioned and depressed. My sister is a big advocate of the environment. So I thought. She’s always going on about recycling and environmental issues. She sounded like one of the eco-weenies I have so much problem with. Turns out, like so many others, she’s a hypocrite. Somewhere along the line she’s learned to mouth all the environmental platitudes but takes little or no action.

That night I found an earring I’d lost. It was my favourite, in the shape of a dragonfly. I feel very fond of the dragonfly, he’s seen as the messenger of the gods. I don’t look for omens, but sometimes the Goddess and God are rather blunt when they’re speaking to me. Okay. I got the hint. Time for action.

Canada has about 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water supply according to Environment Canada but we are also the biggest consumers of water in the world. It may not seem like much at first glance, that little 7% but let me assure you, that’s a vast quantity. This water supply has made Canadians water gluttons. I’ve seen people run the dishwasher (which is not an ecologically friendly dishwasher, usually) to wash two or three pots because they don’t feel like scrubbing. I know of people who take two or three showers a day because they feel like it or it makes them feel good. I’ve seen people watering their lawns a half hour before it’s about to rain. If these things don’t make you angry, they should. If it still doesn’t make you angry, then stop reading. You won’t give a damn about the rest of what I’m about to say.

I predict that in 20 years the country that it will be water that is the world’s commodity, not oil or gold. When that happens, the country with vast renewable fresh water resources will become a world power and Canada, which is one of those countries, is not ready for that responsibility. We have been idiots in regards to conserving our resources. I do share certain sentiments with David Suzuki in that Canada must act now to take care of its country or we will quickly become impoverished in ways we scarcely imagine.

I’m a science fiction writer. Let me paint a picture of the future if we do not take care of our environment now.

Disease will be rampant. Without access to clean water supply, our bodies will not be able to adequately fight off infection and diseases. Not to mention the increase of insects like mosquitos which often carry such diseases and are quite adaptable to adverse environmental situations. Certain species, like birds who eat insects, will decline drastically without water to supply. Our vast forests which we rely on for wood and paper products will quickly dry up. Vast quantities of prairie farmland will become as useless as a screen door on a submarine. The beloved Oil Sands will also come to a screeching halt. People will begin to work for food and water instead of money as both become scarcer and scarcer. Scared yet?

Unlike many environmentalists (I, by the way, am not an environmentalist. I am merely practical), I don’t just shout out dire warnings and then leave you shaking under the covers. There are some very real things you can do.

  1. A shower once a day is fine. If you happen to work a job that is very dirty by its nature then have that second shower just to clean up. A bath should be reserved for those particularly stressful days. Have a baby? I know of two mothers who would shower with their infants. It was a bonding time for them and the infants loved it. Of course, I don’t have children, so I don’t know how practical that is.
  2. STOP WATERING THE PAVEMENT!! If you’re like my neighbour and wants a clean sidewalk, get a broom. The exercise will do you good. Also, maybe if you feel silly doing it a few times you’ll come to the realization that IT’S PAVEMENT, not your kitchen and doesn’t need to sparkle. Maybe then you’ll stop.
  3. Green appliances are your friend. I don’t know of any company that doesn’t offer low-energy or low-water appliances. Buy them. You don’t need the water-guzzling or energy-sucking appliances of old. Along with that, invest in low-water spigots and shower heads. My building has them and I really don’t notice the difference.
  4. Green isn’t always good. There are unscrupulous companies out there who use the green name for marketing and don’t actually have anything environmentally friendly about it. Bamboo is not a good thing. Leave it to the pandas and stop clear-cutting bamboo forests. Be aware of what you’re buying. Like fish? Stop buying it. Fishermen often catch things other than that wonderful tuna or salmon you like so much. Dolphins in nets are one small part of the problem. Rare crabs, oysters, even coral reefs get caught up in them. Stop buying fish. Besides, our oceans are another problem area we need to work on.
  5. Recycling is everyone’s responsibility.It takes an extra 10 seconds to put something in the recycle. If you don’t do it, you’re an idiot and should stop reading. I don’t waste my time on idiots.
  6. Go paperless. With computers today, there is very little reason to print anything out. You can do almost everything paperless now. Pay bills, buy groceries, even do editing.

There’s a lot more that can be done, these are just the ones I’ve thought of. Oh. One more thing; tell your neighbours. Tell your friends. We’ve come to the point where watering the pavement is no longer an option. Canada is on the brink of something. We can either be a world leader or we can be gluttons.

As a High Priestess, I have a duty to listen when my Goddess and God talk. They spoke and I took action and wrote this blog. I hope everyone who reads it will pass it along or Facebook it or Twitter it. It’s time to stop watering the pavement.

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