“Take care of your land, and your land will take care of you.” I can still hear my grandfather quoting this wisdom. In his time, taking care of the land meant mixed farming, with animals and diverse crops. Every year some fields lay fallow, cover crops replenished the soil, and crop rotation was carefully planned. There were no synthetic fertilizers or chemical sprays. In this atmosphere, I started life with a strong sense of belonging to the earth, and of being part of the process of growth and rest. As I grew older, my love of the land extended to a love of water, forest and mountains, where I could breathe clean air, hike, or canoe, enjoying the sounds and smells of nature’s richness.
Also from my family I inherited an understanding that we are all part of communities, and that our abilities and gifts were there to be shared with those around us. Particularly those who were disadvantaged deserved our care and respect. Later, as a church minister, I learned just how hard life could be for some people, often through no fault of their own. I worked towards a compassionate society where appropriate help for those in need was never questioned.
When I started to become involved in politics, with these two influences in my background, it was clear to me that the Green Party platform spoke directly to my main concerns. So much of our natural world has been subjected to brutal treatment, and so many diverse species have been lost, at the same time as greenhouse gas emissions have increased, that those who are concerned about the importance of truly respecting the environment recognize that major changes have to come.
The system which destroys soil and pollutes water and air has also shown a lack of respect for the people affected by these activities. When the environment is attacked, so are the livelihoods of those who depend on them – as all of us do. The false choice between jobs and the environment simply does not make sense. All of us on this planet are dependent on global health of people and the environment. The Green Party plans recognize that the economy, the environment, and quality of human lives are all part of one picture. We want a government which serves the health and well-being of everyone, and an economy which is not just a market of financial products, but which serves the real needs of all of us.
I am pleased that such a capable person as Ken Burns agreed when I suggested he run in Brant in this election. Ken is very hard-working and intelligent and will certainly serve the people of this area in spirit of cooperation and respect.