Council misses nature’s value

It was a predictable decision, and once again demonstrated council’s unwillingness to acknowledge nature’s inherent value

Those who understand, respect and seek to protect and preserve nature needn’t be surprised by city council’s endorsement of lake-shore dog-walking.

It was a predictable decision, and once again demonstrated council’s unwillingness to acknowledge nature’s inherent value, presuming, instead, that its sole worth is nothing more than a mere ‘entitled-utility’ to us and our excessive whims.

Over the years, councils have chronically undervalued nature and natural systems, such as when they chopped-off part of Little Mountain Park for – are you ready? Joni Mitchell is! – a parking-lot.  They took the bait of minority fishing interests and permitted unnatural fish-stocking of McGuire Lake – twice.  And, they ignored significant public opposition to the potential wetland-threatening impacts of foreshore development for a shopping mall on the west side of town.

This behaviour and these decisions, past and present, are simply the cultural expression of a deeply-entrenched,  nature-devaluing mindset.

Sadly enough, in spite of today’s long overdue ‘green thinking,’ governing-bodies  continue to act as if there is simply no other way of comprehending nature and what our relationship to it should be – other than us as its exclusive, dominating  exploiters.

Salmon Arm’s mayor revealed this embedded worldview when she stated (Observer, Dec. 16),  “Dogs more than ever are part of our family and we see them everywhere.” Good ecological words those:  “family” and “everywhere.”   In fact, ‘ecology,’ and its word-root ‘ecos,’  derives from the Greek ‘oikos,’ or ‘household.’

It makes you wonder when the time will come when we expand our moral sensibilities to accept the foreshore, its wildlife, forests, grizzlies, lakes and other water-bodies – and ourselves – as part of the family of interdependent creatures and their natural systems and, as such, an Earth household to protect and preserve them and it, just as carefully and responsibly.

Tom Crowley