Andrea Rondeau column: Positives on the environmental front

Does hearten me so many people concerned about future of environment they’re taking it to the polls.

Things have been pretty depressing on the environmental front of late.

A recent report from the UN warns that one million species worldwide are at risk of extinction, a number unprecedented in human history. People, including our world leaders, persist in denying that man-made climate change is happening, and that we need to do something about it, even in the face of the latest science that tells us we have only a dozen years to prevent catastrophe. Our governments, even if they say all the right things, nurse along the fossil fuel industry billionaires in a way they sure never did when it was forestry jobs on the line. One could be forgiven for being cynical. But there have also been some bright spots. Paul Manley was elected member of parliament in a byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and he’s from the Green Party. Indeed, the Green Party has made inroads in many areas of the country, including PEI and New Brunswick. Even if I’m not expecting a Green government takeover, it does hearten me that so many people are concerned enough about the future of our environment that they’re starting to take it to the polls.

And in the Citizen on Wednesday we had a couple of good environmental news stories. First was notification from the Municipality of North Cowichan that it’s trying a new, more environmentally friendly way to kill weeds along roadsides and sidewalks. With no toxic herbicides involved, this new product uses mostly super-heated water, with a tiny bit of plant oils and sugars. Foamstream, as it’s called, has been proven successful in other places, so I see no reason why it can’t be a success here as well. Now if could only kill broom on a large scale…

The actions that various levels of government have taken over the years to control weeds on their properties has been a problem for those who have been trying to avoid noxious chemicals. Sprays have been used in public places, and adjacent to people’s private properties that they would hot have chosen to be exposed to for themselves. This move to a new product is good news for all of us.

The second environmentally interesting story was about the Cowichan Valley Regional District monitoring a new waste facility in Nova Scotia. This facility is using new technologies to take solid waste and make it into high-value fuels and recyclable materials.

Garbage is a big problem. In the Cowichan Valley it’s one we’ve chose to hide away from, in recent years. We ship our garbage to the U.S. in an out of sight, out of mind arrangement that can’t go on forever. We have to take responsibility for the waste we create. Increasingly composting and recycling, and actually reducing the waste we produce (an often forgotten component of the three “r’s”) is vital, but realistically, we’re still going to have some stuff to throw away, and so far we’ve failed to find a good way to deal with it. If we can build ourselves a facility to deal with our garbage, it would be a huge step forward.

Just Posted

Music trivia tournament in Duncan a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

Pair of 11-year-old Cowichan highland dancers heading to Virginia for competition

Amelia Marsh and Maya Sundstrom are excited about the possibilities

Chris Wilkinson column: Where are you on the Happiness U-Curve?

With age and maturity, the focus turns away from social competition and toward social connection.

Drivesmart column: Wet weather driving dos and don’ts

Wet pavement alone can increase stopping distances by more than 10 per cent.

Guest column: Why “Weir” Ready: with James Buchan

This is part two of a feature series by the Cowichan Watershed Board

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read