There Are Great Words Here For Niagara’s Thundering Waters
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted September 2nd, 2016 on Niagara At Large
To all of you out there who are fighting the good fight to save the rich biodiversity in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara from municipal politicians and the Darth Vaders on the board of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority who would see that natural place and others in the region ravaged for ever more urban sprawl, here’s one for you.
Here is hoping you find more inspiration for the fight in a brand new message from Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.
The message, delivered by the Pope this past Thursday September 1st in honour of the church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, includes the following words –
“God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted wasteland of ‘debris, desolation and filth.’ We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behaviour. “Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.”
One need not be a Catholic or a person of faith at all (and I confess that I am neither) to respect this Pope as one of the world’s great moral leaders and as one who certainly lives up to the care shown for the natural environment by his eight-century-old namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
The Day of Prayer, said Pope Francis in his message titled ‘Show Mercy to our Common Home’, offers “individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
Take away any references to the Christian faith, if you will, or leave them in and the spirit of what the Pope is saying here sounds a lot likewhat Native and non-Native people across this region have been saying for months at meetings and rallies to save the Thundering Waters Forest.
Perhaps someone should pass these words on to members of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board – especially all of the developer friendly regional councillors dominating the board – but any group that would peddle a scheme like “biodiversity offsetting” to bulldoze away forests and wetlands to make way for more pavement, and that would try to tell us that you can grow a slice of provincially significant wetland similar to that in Thundering Waters Forest someplace else in just five years, would probably not comprehend the meaning of the Pope’s words anyway.
When it comes to environmental conservation, most of what we’ve got here are hopeless sinners – and shamelessly proud of it.
So for everyone else who may comprehend find the Pope’s message inspirational, I am including a link to the full text below, followed by news clip you can watch from CHCH TV in Hamilton that was aired on the Thundering Waters Forest/biodiversity offsetting issue this spring.
In the video, you can hear the NPCA’s board chair Bruce Timms, who along with the likes of Andy Petrowski and Al Caslin, sits on Niagara regional council for the City of St. Catharines, says a wetland comparable to one that took generations to evolve in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, can be grown somewhere else in five years.
The rest of us, by the way, have yet to find anyone in the world who is schooled in environmental sciences and biodiversity , and is not bought and paid for by the development or building industry, to back up Timms’ claim.
But first, here is the link you can click on to read the Pope’s message – http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2016/documents/papa-francesco_20160901_messaggio-giornata-cura-creato.html#_ftn2
To view the clip from CHCH TV News earlier this 2016 on wetlands, biodiversity offsetting, including Timms’ comments, and plans to develop the Thundering Waters Forest area in Niagara Falls, Ontario, click on the following – http://http://www.chch.com/niagara-wetland-worries/
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