Letter: Action needed now to preserve forests, water

We need action; unorthodox, bold and basic; and now

Action needed now to preserve forests, water

An open letter addressed to Kate Marsh as chairperson of the Environmental Advisory Committee.

Here in the Cowichan Valley, we have declared a “climate emergency”. The nature of “emergency” requires quick and bold responses. It doesn’t allow time to engage the mind in long drawn out analyses.

The problems are obvious; the earth, air and water, and all that depend upon them are degraded to the point of an inability to function and perform their role in sustaining a healthy planetary ecology.

What is needed is simple in concept; healthy forests, clean water, and clean air. The solutions need to be narrowed down a bit. I’m of the opinion that if there are healthy multigenerational forests and clean water the rest will take care of itself. It at least gives us a starting point that is broader than electric cars.

Here in the Cowichan Valley we are exceptionally fortunate to already have in place a large number of dedicated, hard working, skilled individuals who have been working together tirelessly on both the Watershed Board and the Somenos Marsh Society. To stand under their guidance and take the steps necessary to ensure that every watercourse that runs through the municipality, no matter how small or seasonal, is remediated and protected as an integral part of the watershed is a bold and fundamental step; not easy but attainable.

We are doubly fortunate to have municipal forests! To acknowledge these forests as the single greatest proponent of a healthy valley ecology would be another step in bold thinking and manageable action. If the municipal forests were taken out of the economic equation, as is the case for 99 per cent of the the rest of B.C. municipalities that don’t have any; we could let them stand in their glory and highest function with clear water coursing through an intact understory.

These two actions: take all necessary steps to protect all water in the watershed and take all necessary action to protect the integrity of municipal forests, are powerful actions. They address the root causes of the failure of the systems that would otherwise be sufficiently performing their functions and creating healthy ecosystems and habitats in which all living things could thrive.

I appreciate all those who have stepped forward to volunteer on the Environmental Advisory Committee, to dedicate time and effort to inform and advise council based on their expertise and perspectives. However, we don’t have time. The destruction of natural systems is happening at an alarming rate as last ditch efforts are being made before the axe falls, be it the collapse of nature or the passing of effective regulation.

I encourage this committee to step outside of the capitalistic economic model which, overcome by fear and greed, has destroyed the self sustaining ecology of the planet. Acknowledging the problems this mindset has created, putting a halt to the destruction, and creating systems that will allow Nature to renew itself, needs thinking outside the worn out paths of capitalism. We must widen our vision leaving “cost/benefit” types of analyses to other scenarios in which they are more appropriate. We need action; unorthodox, bold and basic; and now.

Please step up!

Martha Lescher

North Cowichan