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    Open Letter to the Graduating High School and University Class of 2009: Celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22

    “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” Mark Twain

    “I found that a piece of turf, three feet by four in size, which had been exposed for many years to exactly the same conditions , supported twenty species of plants, and these belonged to eighteen genera and to eight orders, which shows how much these plants differed from each other. So it is with the plants and insects on small and uniform islets; and so in small ponds of fresh water.” Charles Darwin, “Origin of Species” printed1859

    “We are a dumbed down society with the alarms switched off…while navigating a hazardous passage through the night at full speed with fully distracted deck officers. Michael Major
    The Truth does not Change according to our ability to stomach it.” Flannery O’Connor

    Elizabeth May’s new book, “Global Warming for Dummies” describes biological diversity as “the planet’s variety of living species…from the deep forests of China, to the mountains of Canada, to the icy waters of Antarctica”. (Ms May apologized when she visited Collingwood on May 16 for the name “Dummies”. She explained that the “For Dummies” series of books uses a specific way to get to the heart of a particular subject, and her book is for people like you who are passionate about making a difference in stopping climate change.) Her book is a fantastic opportunity to bring you up to speed on climate change and related issues. You can get a copy from your library; discuss it with your friends and create an action plan to reconsider old 20th century models for success.

    Mahatma Gandhi deeply understood that happiness and well being had little to do with acquiring more things.  You, the youth of the world, might want to learn more about this wonderful man, if you are going to be inspired to change the world’s growing obsession to convert the natural world into a parking lot for consumption. You may wish to ponder what the older generations have been selling you, including the all-in-one-save-the-world organic cloth shopping bag full of ‘green’ products signifying a bankrupt generation’s shop-to-you-drop answer to when huge doses of permafrost and livestock methane hit the bag of goodies. So please cozy up to Nature and take the bus, walk or cycle instead of accepting the hybrid car Dad or Mom wants to give you when you graduate.

    Start off your new independence with a visit to The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity at the Royal Ontario Museum which just opened on May 16 to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day for Biological Diversity. The Gallery looks at the diversity of life on earth and how species and habitats are threatened by human activity. Life Is Diverse, Life Is Interrelated and Life Is in Crisis are the three main areas of interest. On Friday, May 22, the Gallery looks at how humans can help stop Invasive species that have no natural predators in their adopted habitat. Take the train for the day from Barrie to Toronto to the museum. The event is called “Partners in Protection: Invasive Species”, 10 am – 3 pm.

    Speaking about being better informed, Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon comes to Collingwood on May 30. He is in Collingwood to talk about making intelligent choices for humanity and our planet. Check out a copy of his newly printed “Carbon Shift” or “The Upside of Down” to be ready for his talk-$5 for youth. Find out how unbridled growth causes balanced and resilient ecological systems to become unhinged and collapse.

    Now that you’re graduating, it’s your turn to take the helm and steer the ship, Earth, towards safety. Don’t wait till tomorrow.

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