Rumble Pie #16|
The Battle of Hanlon Creek
AT GREEN APPLE PIE, we see our primary objective as keeping our clients and community as informed as possible about everything they can do to have a healthier home for themselves, and more moral dealings with all of the other ecosystems that are impacted by our landscaping decisions. Certainly, if we were all more conscious of how each of our actions affects the next seven generations and then some, our ecological ledger would be looking a whole lot better. And at the end of a long day, after making payments on food, clothes, shelter, and taking care of all our parental responsibilities, this is no small challenge in and of itself. But if you've already carefully scrutinized your own family's ecological footprint, and you'd like to take on more responsibility for our collective fate, then the next step is environmental activism.
TWO MONTHS AGO, a beautiful group of sensitive and empathetic human beings -- young and funky and punky, and unapologetic for it, as they should never, ever have to be -- valiantly occupied a construction site in Guelph in order to protect an old-growth forest and a natural habitat for endangered species of salamander. They maintained a peaceful presence on the land and forced the issue into the mainstream media. But although they've bought some time, the city developers are pressing ahead with their plans. Those who stand to make money off the project are insidiously ignoring the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources report that exhorts that it be scrapped because of the ecological damage that will result. I don't know how much longer the hard-core activists can last for.
OF COURSE MORE OFTEN than not it's going to be the youth that lead the battle in defense of the earth. They haven't yet taken on any commitments to raise kids of their own. They haven't opted to lock themselves into mortgages, and the serious steady jobs that they force us to hold. These teens and tweens are still trying to figure out what this world is really all about, and who they were meant to ultimately become, so they've got a little bit more free time on their hands to donate to worthy causes. Or maybe some of them actually have got this crazy world figured out to a tee, and understand that it's gone to pot, precisely because almost all of us are so engrossed with our own narrow concerns that we've abandoned the planet to the most selfish and negligent. Either way, it's natural for our young sons and daughters to be front-line eco-warriors, and we should thank them for it.
BUT THE SAD TRUTH IS that if they go it alone, then they're not going to go far, and they're definitely not going to go far enough. In this system, the amount of political power that you wield is directly correlated to the amount of financial resources that you control. These kids are just returning to universal truth, the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. But the cards are stacked against them, because rules of this particular economic game are written by the players with the most gold. Although the words of these young eco-activists echo with the wisdom of ancient sustainable cultures, the unduly appointed decision-makers almost always ignore their warnings and capitulate instead to the short-term profit interests of property holders. And in this case, that's us.
IF YOU'RE READING THIS, then you probably own your own home and can afford to spend a significant amount of money on making it look prettier on the outside. The Earth needs your support. The very best of our youth need your support. If some of them have crazy, colourful hair, that is not a reason for the salmon to suffer. If some of them have weird piercings, that does not justify chopping down forests. If they choose to dress differently than you and I, and reject cultural conventions about outward appearance, it may be for a damn good reason. Our culture is responsible -- WE are responsible -- for the destruction of the life-support systems of the planet; so like all of the other hollow propaganda that we spout, maybe the fashion decisions that we make aren't anything to be celebrated or emulated, either.
AND THIS IS WHERE you come in. Because it's easy to dismiss the concerns of a few eco-freaks. But it's a lot harder for them to force their plans onto the land if middle-class folks in dockers with two-point-one kids line up alongside the rag-tag band of activists. These passionate people have gone to great lengths to make their base camp kid-friendly, and have organized all kinds of educational activities on site, without any corporate support. It's not just about any one particular piece of land: it's about an inclusive movement for wide-scale change. It's important that we win this battle and turn back the tide in defense of Mother Earth; but it's even more important that we share skills and stories, learn from each other and listen to one another deeply, practice solidarity across demographic lines.
IF YOU HAVE A LITTLE bit of free time, or a little bit of extra money, I encourage you to support the Hanlon Creek Business Park Occupation. And if you don't know enough about the issues involved, you can educate yourself by reading up on their blog and at Land Is More Important Than Sprawl. If after reading up on the issues, you're still unsure about where you stand, I would urge you to contact them directly and ask them any questions that you might have, until your moral compass is satisfied. I know that taking the time to write a letter to Guelph City Councillors could be seen as something of a luxury in this busy season of getting ready to go back to school. But it could also be seen as a lot less than what these brave young activists have put on the line thus far -- their bodies and their arrest records. And for those kids that we're sending off to school, it's also a luxury -- a luxury that we MUST be able to afford.
OKAY, END RANT. Next week it's back to backyards.