In case you missed it – and chances are you did – we are now wrapping up something Environment Canada has dubbed Canadian Environment Week.
Unlike the annual Earth Week initative, which has managed to maintain a relatively substantial public profile locally, you would be hard-pressed to find any mention close to home about Canadian Environment Week.
According to the Environment Canada website, June 5-11 is “a time for grassroots action to help preserve, protect, and restore our environment … we can all make a difference by taking simple steps to build the future we want by ensuring our environment is clean, safe and sustainable.”
The website has a link to a Facebook page and encourages Canadians to organize corresponding green events and activities and share ideas.
However, as one wag on the Facebook page posted: “Someone from Environment Canada might want to update this event for 2012, if they expect us to believe that anyone in government really cares any more.”
Yes, Ottawa seems to be dropping the environmental ball. For evidence of that, one only has to look at the looming C-38 omnibus bill which, if passed, would rewrite several environmental laws.
But it’s not just the government. Grassroots concern for traditional environment causes seems to be waning, as well.
It certainly seems that Canadians have decided there are more important fish to fry these days – such as coping with daily ongoing economic woes. Proactive support for the environment appears to have lost much of its in-your-face passion and zeal.
Yes, there was an internet protest this week, coinciding with with Canadian Environmental Week, where 500 factions, including green advocates, church and social justice groups, political parties, First Nations and private companies, blacked out their websites for one day.
The online campaign, dubbed Black Out Speak Out, saw the participants, listed on the website, state that “our land, water and climate are all threatened … proposed changes in the budget bill will weaken environmental laws and silence the voices of those who seek to defend them.”
A quick scan of the list, by the way, did not show direct involvement of any web portals in Brantford or Brant County.
So the websites involved ‘went black’ on Monday, June 4. And an accompanying online petition fighting against the proposed Bill C-38 had over 50,000 signatures as of mid-week.
But, unlike a few years ago, there does not seem to be any real outrage brewing; no take-to-the-streets cry to protect the environment. Instead, there’s a petition, and it doesn’t take much effort to add one’s name with a single click of the mouse.
What speaks volumes, however, is the general community apathy; the lack of positive, publicized activities and events surrounding Canadian Environmental Week.
Welcome to a new green reality. It’s about lifestyle, it’s about jobs. And, plainly, it looks like the environment movement, as we knew it, is taking a back seat.
Notes: Former Brantford councillor Mary Ellen Kaye tells Green Matters that she has submitted her resignation as a volunteer on the city’s brownfields community advisory committee … Ella Haley, executive director of Sustainable Brant, wants to make sure residents are clear about the mandate for her group, which is “committed to supporting local food and healthy communities, fostering rural/urban planning, protecting prime farmland and preventing rural sprawl.” While SB has certainly been proactive lobbying for the County of Brant’s inclusion in the Greenbelt, Haley stressed that SB “ has focused on helping individual farmers to protect their land, if they so wish, with tools such as conservation easements and conservancies, etc.” A recent example would be the group’s involvement with the Tutela Heights Phelps Road Association (THPRRA), to draw attention to the “importance of protecting food lands and being wary of encroaching large scale residential developments in rural areas.”
Greg McMillan is a founding partner at TheGreenHub.ca – Canada’s green news and information web portal. Feel free to contact email@example.com with any comments or suggestions for topics to be covered in the Green Matters column. That could mean green lifestyle, business or human-interest items, including any personal or school-related projects or initiatives. In this column, we’ll write about people who live in the Southern Ontario Green Hub area, which includes Brantford, Six Nations, Brant, Norfolk and Haldimand counties. Also, follow us on Twitter / @the_green_hub and @TheHubMan or Facebook / thegreenhub or Linkedin at gregmcmillan