The Ant and the Grasshopper (2014 version)

The 4RG Generation started life in the decade that saw the end of the depression and the beginning of the Second World War.  Our parents could not foresee what the future had in store. So they prepared for uncertain times.

Rationing was a fact of life in Canada and more so in Great Britain.  Sayings such as “Waste Not, Want not” were commonplace. At home and at school we were taught to be frugal and look ahead. Our lessons included Aesop’s Fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

In this simple tale, the grasshopper was enjoying a warm summer day, “. .  hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content.”  The grasshopper sees an ant dragging a large corn stalk.  The grasshopper is curious why the ant never takes time off to bask in the sun. When questioned, the ant explains that it is gathering food for winter, and recommends the grasshopper do the same. , The grasshopper dismisses this recommendation:  “Why bother about winter?”

When winter comes, the grasshopper starves while the ant thrives.

A recent Globe & Mail Column compared Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund that receives oil royalties with its Norwegian counterpart, a Sovereign Wealth Fund.  The columnist noted that the Alberta Government uses the Heritage Saving Trust Fund as if it were an ATM.

With the approval of succeeding Norwegian Governments, the Sovereign Wealth Fund invests its funds and grows its assets against the day when Norway’s oil reserves are depleted.

The Norwegian Fund is now the world’s largest sovereign fund, while Alberta’s is down to its last billions.

On the basis of their management of sovereign funds, Norway is the ant, and Alberta is the grasshopper.

But both Governments have a common objective:  to exploit oil resources until they run out.  If the world’s nations proceed on the same basis, GHG emissions will not abate, and the world average temperature will exceed the well-recognized safe maximum.

If so, at some point in the future the Norwegian ant and the Alberta grasshopper must face extraordinary climatic changes that could bring an end to both.

Share Button