Don’t change something just because of one person

I do feel much sympathy for Miss Lawson. What she is asking though, goes beyond being a good neighbour.

I am writing today in response to last week’s topic of wood burning in the Cowichan Valley. Miss Lawson has an unfortunate health condition affecting her respiratory tract. Hers is a situation that no one would wish to have.

Her desire to curtail burning in general is something that, put in her shoes, I may well consider. Let’s put aside for this dialogue that proper burning practices by offenders would help with some of what Miss Lawson complains of. The reality is, our world and the Cowichan Valley has people from all walks of life, and we all have our own requirements, health and otherwise. Miss Lawson, in seeking relief from her condition, is asking a very large group of Cowichan Valley residents to change their lifestyles and more in order to assist her in seeking relief.

I do feel much sympathy for Miss Lawson. What she is asking though, goes beyond being a good neighbour. To ask people to change their heat source for their house, or to quadruple their labour efforts in order to clear their farm acreage of windfall or storm damage is not only unfair, but poorly considered given the sheer numbers involved.

We have seen much of this in our society, where one person, or a very small group creates a cause to get behind based on a particular need or idea. The cause being based on their need is presented as just and sincere. They have an action plan to aid their cause. The majority of people don’t really have a point of view on whatever topic is presented. (This means they don’t care.) The people negatively affected by the action plan do care. Typically these people come forward and speak out as I am doing today.

As I mentioned earlier, I do have sympathy for Miss Lawson and her condition. In terms of the general population, she is in the minority with her situation. I would never expect or ask her to change her lifestyle to accommodate my particular health requirements. I suspect this is the case with most people in general. In larger towns and cities, wood burning stoves are not as common and open burning on properties is almost non-existent. A new location away from a rural lifestyle that she finds aggravating to her condition may be an option for her. Perhaps then she may experience less particulates in the air? But then there are more cars, trucks, buses and businesses. What to do?


Ken R. Worth

Shawnigan Lake