Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for January 31st, 2009

Praise the Lord and Green the Roof

with one comment

The author sent me an email to let me know about this article in today’ New York Times .

It chimes nicely with a book I have just started to read about the world wide movement to save the planet. The book is “Blessed Unrest” by Paul Hawken and its very long sub title is “How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming”.

The following is taken from the dust jacket:

The dawn of the the twenty first century has witnessed two remarkable developments in our history: the appearance of systemic problems that are genuinely global in scope, and the growth of a worldwide movement that is determined to heal the wounds of the earth with the force of passion, dedictaion and and collective intelligence and wisdom.

The New York Times story about how one determined sister took 15 years to turn around a convent – and how they came to change their view of the world and their place in it – is a very nice illustration of one of the better outcomes. And we need to know about and celebrate these positive stories. This blog has been, perforce, the journal of a very much less satisfactory direction that is being taken – in this region and indeed in Canada as a whole.

Why would a community of nuns, devoted as they presumably are to spiritual matters, take the relatively unusual step of embracing environmentalism so energetically? “It’s a question of stewardship,” said Sister Faith Margaret, a Staten Island native. “Of responsibility.”

Which applies equally here. We have actually abandoned environmentalism. In the time that I have been here in BC, I have seen this province take deliberate steps to dismantle what was at one time a leadership position. And the region has simply thrashed around ineffectively – expressing all kinds of pious intentions and hopes but far too often not following through with effective action. In the case of the provincial government what has been even more offensive has been the professed desire to be seen to be green – but the actual agenda has been to ram through changes that a almost wholly destructive in nature.

Blessed Unrest is the story of what is going right in this world, an account of how people use imagination, conviction and resilience to perform daily miracles of redefining our relationship to the environment and one another.

I don’t know about you but I need to know more about that – because there is not much going on around here that I feel I can celebrate. So if you are going to comment on this story make sure that you are writing about the good things that are happening that I don’t know about or haven’t written about. We have spent quite enough bandwidth here on what is going wrong. Please tell us what you know that is going right in BC. Or where you are.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 31, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Posted in Environment