Opinion

Healthy planet, healthy life

Frank Bucholtz’ article was superb (The Leader, Oct. 14).

The quotes, “Government must change,” “Helping to protect the environment is a duty to citizens,” and his final paragraph, “Governments have not done the job for citizens that they should be doing in protecting the environment. That needs to change,” summarize perfectly.

His comparison of people losing their housing with temporary dislocation to wildlife losing their entire habitat forever is telling. For most of the wildlife the consequence is, of course, complete annihilation, death.

Surrey Environmental Partners has been advocating on behalf of the natural capital of Surrey. We have been and are concerned that there is no green infrastructure plan, similar to the organized, integrated “grey” plan for roads, sewers and other utilities.

All we have are disparate items, incomplete in their organization and substance.

We have been asking for an updated environmental assessment of the city for years to guide development considerations and planning; for an environmental planner to vet all plans and proposals to ensure that environmental aspects are primary; for all institutional, commercial and industrial buildings to have green roofs to replace lost fields; for proper resourcing for maintenance and care for the natural areas we do have; for the creation of three more major natural area parks in the order of Green Timbers and Sunnyside Acres to provide for future increased population; for greater riparian area setbacks; and so on.

We promote public transit improvements now.

Environmental conservation and enhancement are essential to the health and well-being of all of us in Surrey.

We all deserve cleaner fresher air, healthier children and seniors, better learning environment for children, faster healing of illnesses, etc.

Research has actually demonstrated that people react more positively where bio-diversity is greater.

We are concerned that the Sustainability Charter will be more cosmetic than substantive and that there will not be a clear statement and follow-through that the social and economic aspects exist on the foundation of the environment, an equal but the basic element, not an add-on factor.

One if the world’s strongest advocates for the “e” word, Al Gore, was just named the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Mr. Bucholz was indeed correct that governments must change.

This is exemplified by Councillor Gill’s negative statement referring to “strident environmentalists” who advocate for the “e” word as if it were something foul rather than the absolute opposite.

Deb Jack, president

Surrey Environmental Partners

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