“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
– Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
When it comes to the environment, many Newfoundlanders should probably hang their heads in shame, myself included. Truth be told, few among us have been good stewards of this planet of ours. Blame isolation, access and infrastructure if you’d like. For a variety of easily justifiable reasons, many outport homes still empty every day think–nothing–of–it waste water – from exotic flower–infused exploding fizzy bath bomb–laced tub water to chemical–filled, though orange blossom vanilla tropical sunrise scented mop water, to boring old raw sewage (which, go figure, smells like nothing other than, what else? Raw sewage) – back into the ocean.
Think about that for a moment. For a province so proudly clinging to our rugged fishing roots, for everything from sustainability and economic diversification to waving our sharp sword of cultural distinctness as we shine up our jiggers and head out for the (it’s our birthright!) recreational cod fishery, we’ve failed terribly at standing on guard for thee environment. And let’s not forget our cutesy all–senses–tingling tourism advertisements, Diddle-Dee-Dee sound track included, luring wannabe honourary Newfoundlanders here to kiss our cod and chug our screech. We’re all colourful clotheslines and craggy coastline, we shout. Tourists fall for it, hook, line and sinker.
Gutsy Greta Thunberg’s global activism aside, even the King of the Seven Seas, Aquaman himself, is getting involved, and who could blame him? Representing one of the most powerful DC Super Heroes, responsible for a kingdom that covers three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, including all the creatures contained within, Jason Momoa addressed the UN on Sept. 27, telling world leaders they are failing this planet in fine style and then some.
Like many come-from-aways before him, Momoa has publicly embraced this province of ours and its people. While at first his presence was simply business, shooting everything from commercials for Carhartt coveralls to movies and scenes for projects like Braven and Frontier, the Game of Thrones super star has often expressed the fact that NL is all that and a bag of chips.
Thankfully, Momoa’s Instagram posts of raw, ruggedly beautiful coastlines never include all the cliff-sides and gravel pit graveyards littered with decades-old abandoned car guts and washing machine innards. We all know where to find one such back drop without breaking much of a sweat, don’t we? The throw momma’s old dryer from the tailgate and down the embankment mentality of yesteryear has left an enduring legacy of litter that sadly still exists. Take a Sunday drive any day of the week. Take-out chicken boxes, coffee cups, soda cans; all that and so much more to behold. Just avert your eyes, just beyond the trash on our trailways, for the beauty that’s, thankfully, still there.
The reality is, what’s done is done, and there’s little to be gained by pointing fingers or elbows of blame, but, like Yoda said, the time has certainly come to do, not just try. And that’s on everyone of us.