A Commentary by Linda Babb
Posted July 12th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
We, “The People”, are strong.
We are even stronger when united in spirit and heart to support a shared cause or goal. When the shared cause is rooted in humanitarian intent or when the people focus their heart intention on environmental protection or preservation, the seduction of money or power is superseded by the higher purpose.
In and of itself, the concept of the proposal for Thundering Waters land in Niagara Falls, Ontario is nothing new, threatening or necessarily bad.
Looking around our region there are many suitable sites for such development, ripe for an influx of money and ideas. There is no denying that potentially the elements of the proposal could contribute to growth, a stronger tax base and perhaps prove to be beneficial.
In considering the potential of any venture one of the considerations is an analysis of “opportunity cost”. Simply put, opportunity cost is what you must forgo in order to get something. The benefit or value that was given up can refer to decisions in your personal life, in a company, in the economy, in the environment, or on a governmental level.
In the context of the Thundering Waters Slough Forest the most meaningful application of the question of “opportunity cost” lies in “what you must forgo in order to get something”. What is the “cost” of the “opportunity”? When “the People” consider this in sober contemplation, the seductive glamour of a glossy proposal, replete with bells and whistles and ephemeral promises, can be seen through a different lens.
What is the “cost” of the opportunity? Destruction, either immediately or gradually, of a unique ecosystem; annihilation of endangered species of trees, plants and wildlife, irreparable damage to an entire water system by disruption of the natural flow, increased encroachment of the human element into an area which has value beyond money.
One has to ask why humans appear to be driven by paradoxical ideal visions. On the one hand thousands of people extol the therapeutic value of “finding nature”, “reconnecting with the earth” in their hikes and camping trips, the wonder, majesty and beauty of the “wilderness”.
The paradox is that many of those same people have no awareness that tdevelopment that is not curtailed or controlled systematically destroys or corrupts all that they claim to revere and cherish.
All it takes is one development at a time, insidiously introduced, approved without stringent oversight by the authorities charged with protection and conservation, and all the special, sacred spaces, all natural, pristine, undisturbed land will disappear and it will be permanent.
How many generations have been aware of the term “concrete jungle”? Is that what we are prepared to allow throughout our region?
There exist “brown fields” perfect for development purposes. The developer’s concept for the Thundering Waters land could easily be relocated.
With the expertise and vision they claim to bring to the project, there should be no difficulty in taking a brown field, creating new wetlands and planting trees to transform and repurpose land thirsting to be renewed.
There would be a blank canvas on which the “artists’ impressions” could come to life in a meaningful way. They could, indeed, create the “Paradise” they wish to bring to Niagara. That would be exceptional.
The perspective of First Nations of being responsible to seven generations is meaningful. One of the speakers at the Save Thundering Waters Forest explained this in terms of – three generations preceded her; great grandparents, grandparents and parents. Three generations, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, in turn, will follow her.
She asked, “When the land, the wildlife and the water have all been permanently destroyed what are our grandchildren and great grandchildren going to do with a million dollars? “Can money ever be the answer to the “cost” of the “opportunity”?
According to the I Ch’ing, there is opportunity in crisis and crisis in opportunity.
Do we see this as a crisis or an opportunity? I see it as a crisis for the fragile ecosystem, the water, the species that cohabit there and for future generations.
The opportunity lies in the choice available for the people to stop the destruction. What will you choose? What do you envision for your grandchildren and great grandchildren?
Do you hope they will be able to experience unadulterated nature in its beauty, simplicity and restorative qualities or more concrete jungle and man made replicas of nature?
What is your choice?
Linda Babb is a resident of Niagara Falls – a teacher by vocation and profession, she turned to politics as a means to “make a difference” at the constituency level then progressed to being a Legislative and Ministerial Assistant in BC. Through learning three Portfolios, one of which was Lands Parks and Housing/Environment, then Forestry she became passionate about Land and Environment and the necessity of true conservation .
Find Linda Babb on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/linda.babb.94 . and find more at The Peoples Platform site at – https://www.facebook.com/n/?groups%2Fpeoplesplatformnf%2F1686478968271144%2F&aref=1464524040696344&medium=email&mid=53404dbde6420G6198f27dG533fa1335f218G96Gc27e&bcode=1.1464571591.Abk3nLFNx0MSqDCB&n_m=drapers%40vaxxine.com
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