To the editor:
Re: David Suzuki column: Cherry Picking Offers Lessons In Life, July 28 Capital News.
David Suzuki talks of his family going on an “annual cherry run” from Vancouver, British Columbia to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. In other words, Suzuki’s family undertakes an annual round-trip “cherry run” of about 1,000 km (over mountainous terrain where vehicles get poor gas mileage) just to acquire fruit.
For someone who preaches environmental sacrifice, does this not seem self-indulgent and hypocritical? Imagine if all two million people in the greater Vancouver area undertook such trips every year?
Would it not be more environmentally friendly for Suzuki just to remain in Vancouver and buy Okanagan fruit imported in bulk to this region? It is far less energy efficient (i.e.: kg of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants produced per kg of fruit obtained) for a family to drive a vehicle to the Okanagan from Vancouver to buy fruit than it is to buy the same fruit transported in bulk to Vancouver from the Okanagan.
Suzuki must apply the same reasonings he uses for other members of society to his own family. And do readers really care that the Suzuki’s “sometimes watched our daughters suffer the gastrointestinal problems of gorging on too much fruit”?
Furthermore, in this column Suzuki states that over the 32 years that his family has been visiting the Okanagan in the summer “the towns we delighted in visiting have become choked with—water pollution.” Suzuki must provide evidence of such increasingly choking “water pollution” in the Okanagan since the late 1970s and early 1980s. To the contrary, it appears the available scientific evidence has shown that the increasing numbers of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) built in the region over this time, improvements in treatment methods at existing WWTPs, and conversion of substantial numbers of residences from septic fields to sewer systems has collectively and substantially reduced water pollution in this region over the past three to four decades. Indeed, Okanagan Lake used to suffer from repeated algal blooms due to high nutrient loadings in the 1960s and 1970s from the lack of appropriate regional wastewater treatment. Rather than making overly simplistic, and likely erroneous, statements, Suzuki needs to provide the evidence (which does not appear to exist) that water pollution is currently choking the Okanagan.