The recent purchase of Atlantic Gold (an Australian company) by St. Barbara Ltd. (another Australian company) went by with almost not a whisper in the province of Nova Scotia where they hold significant gold rights. This situation raises many questions for an average guy like me.

First off, I get free trade. Never have been against it in general. But there are certainly areas of our economy, culture and environment that should not be sold to, or controlled by foreign corporations or states. For examples of how problematic this can be just look at how China has taken over huge sectors in Mozambique and Zambia. Where are these natural resources benefiting? Right, thousands of miles away while the communities in Africa suffer.

Second, mining royalties in Nova Scotia are so small, makes the developing economies in the Americas and Africa look way smarter than our Liberal governments; trading jobs for pennies per ounce of minerals (gold in this case). If any company is to destroy our environment should it not be a Canadian company operating under all our laws. Canadian companies that can easily be held accountable at home where the executives live and raise their families.

Environmental destruction by the mines is not a concern for anyone in the company or government of Nova Scotia it seems. The focus is on how to reduce the footprint, not stop it.  That is where this totally baffles many of us. Why are we allowing companies to knowingly destroy the environment for a mineral the world has enough of already? Should we not be exploring environmentally friendly or neutral industries instead. After all, just look to the Appalachian mountains in the United States to see what happens to the towns, people and environment when the minerals are gone. Is that what we want to happen in Nova Scotia?

So before disregarding those in Nova Scotia and Canada protesting gold mining think hard about what is going on in the industry and how it will impact our environment. I for one will be watching this unfold and calling out to my politicians to ask questions and remind them about the power of votes.

Atlantic Gold mine decision to be based on science, says federal fisheries minister

Age is a wonderful thing indeed. The memories of a life time of achievements, fatherhood, my children’s first dates, my career opportunities, the people I have met and the environments I have had the pleasure to see first hand around the world. With age, also comes the appreciation for all five senses and how they become more honed over time.

The sensory that I am concerned with more and more as I age is that of hearing.  I often say I listen for what is not said: how people express emotions through body language, or restrain from sharing because of the power structure in the room. But today I mean that loud, destructive sound that comes from the world we live.  The sounds that I hear all to well with more or less perfect hearing.

Back in the 1990’s the world started to talk about noise pollution, like many, I didn’t give it much attention. I was young and focused more on the litter in the world or the poisoned rivers and lakes around where I lived: and I lived in many places back then (Canada, the United States, Malawi). Noise was certainly around me, cars, planes, music, industry, advertising… Noise was and is everywhere.

Over the last year or so I have been reflecting on noise pollution more and more. Here in Halifax the streets are full of “legal” cars with their aftermarket exhausts street racing on Sunday nights.  Want to hear just hang around the corner of Oxford Street and Coburg Road after the sun goes down.

The more I started to notice the noises around I started looking into our provincial legislation on noise.  That took very little time. At one point I was sure I had not found it all when I learned that I had in fact found it all. That was frustrating because it is always easier to build on a solid foundation of regulations than to have to identify how to initiate new legislation that a government could get behind.]

Learning from great social and environmental movements in the past it is clear that in order to gain momentum it will take a mass movement, in this case a large number of Nova Scotians that are tired of excessive noise. We will never stop it all from interfering with the peace and tranquility around us, but we can reduce and even eliminate some.

As I ponder next steps in creating momentum to stop the noise pollution in Nova Scotia and beyond (stay big or go home) I would love to know what noises in your community you feel are excessive? Have you tried to address it? Any luck?

Here is a list of noises that I feel can be easily tackled: after market exhausts, street racing, refrigeration trucks in residential areas, stores blasting music or advertisements, air breaks, fireworks in the city, animals not properly cared for, and cell phones in public spaces. I know regulations are easier than enforcement, but one can dream.