Those of us who are well read are most likely familiar with the works of Charles Dickens: "Are there no prisons? [...] And the Union workhouses... are they still in operation? [...] If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” Perhaps you’re also familiar with the works of Victor Hugo: “So long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use. [...] The poor young man must work for his bread; he eats; when he has eaten, he has nothing left but reverie.”
In his infamous work, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wants readers to empathize with the two portly men canvassing from door-to-door raising money for the poor. These two men encounter what many might consider to be a door canvasser's worst nightmare… Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge’s response to the gentlemen is timeless and speaks well of the attitude even today of those in power towards the poor. On the other hand, Victor Hugo’s quote about his book Les Miserables urges us to take stock of our current political and social environment. “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose” lamented Jean-Baptiste Karr in 1849.
While we certainly have come a long way since the English Poor Law of 1601 where the poor could be auctioned off to the highest bidders to pay off their artificial debts, we still live in a world where the very wealthy and politically connected control the living conditions and environment of the less powerful or connected.
So… why non-profits? Why do they exist in these modern high tech rapidly evolving times? Can the individual really make a difference? Just as a single voice finds itself overwhelmed by the cacophony of negativity surrounding us, many voices joined together as one can rise above the mayhem and make a difference.
That is our philosophy at Earthroots. Born from a few meagre voices at a protest in Temagami against the giants of the logging craze, we were heard. We became the impassioned voice, the reason to pause the destruction for a moment. That pause led to cessation of destruction more often than not.
Non-profits such as Earthroots and the coalition of like minded environmental warriors exist because “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. The Emperor has new clothes and wants to pave over the Greenbelt to build sterile environmentally toxic infrastructure. Those in power today no longer auction off the poor to pay off their debts. Instead, the politically connected openly allow the barbaric slaughter of wildlife in contests to appease the masses much as Caesar did in the Colosseum.
Earthroots and our coalition of environmental partners exist to make your voices heard and give power to those of you who have a different vision for the future. A future of clean water, non toxic green spaces that are affordable to all, and a live and let live policy for our wildlife partners. It’s our vision that in a not so distant future, the need for environmental non-profits will be a pleasant historical footnote.
The future of the environment is not now; the future of Ontario’s environment is an open book where anything can be written. Why do we seek your support? We ask you to be part of the impassioned collective of voices, so that the strong single voice we all become will speak on your behalf and truly make a difference. So that together, we can create a green and prosperous future for the next generation. Help us make the footnote written about these times be a positive one.
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