COLUMN: Making a better world starts with us

We live in a pluralistic society in which many different interest groups compete for the right to determine how things go.

Michael Dailly

We live in a pluralistic society in which many different interest groups compete for the right to determine how things go. In Nelson we have a population of just over 10,000 people, some with louder voices than others. An extremely important part of any elected representative’s job is to represent all voices both loud and soft. Transparency, public discussion and the freedom to express one’s views is at the foundation of our democracy. Emotions can run high, stances can be taken, people can even get upset.

This is democracy, this is freedom, this is how we grow and become more understanding of each other. This is how we collectively find our way and move closer to becoming an inclusive, caring, sustainable community that leaves no one excluded. Nelson is a community that cares. This is evident by the number of organizations and people engaged in helping others.

To each and every one of you who has taken the time to attend a council meeting, send an email, or write a letter, thank you! To everyone who volunteers or contributes to help out in any way, thank you!

We are living in a time of great change and transition. We are awakening to the fact that we must pay attention to how we treat our planet and each other. The environment, economies, politics, extreme weather events and acts of war are all influenced by decisions that we make every day.

Educating ourselves about how to be better stewards of the planet means learning best sustainable practices around our use of energy, water, transportation, waste, and food.

At the municipal level this means exploring a central heating plant which uses bio mass fuels, offering an opportunity for you to buy into a Nelson solar project, and supporting our ecosave program. We are investigating alternative water sources while rolling out a water conservation plan, coupled with an aggressive infrastructure maintenance schedule.

We are working to implement our active transportation plan with a goal of having more people leave their cars at home in favour of walking, biking, car sharing or transit. Along with our regional partners we are working to reduce waste and best manage recycling. Advocating for local food production, supporting local markets and composting has become an important discussion around the council table.

It is important to remember that every action no matter how small, even sharing a smile or picking up a piece of litter is contributing forward momentum to a better world. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the speed and magnitude of world events, shrug our shoulders and think “What difference can I make?” Please, lift your eyes and look around. We are not alone. It’s an exciting time to be alive and each one of us by our choices can make a positive difference.

It starts with ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbours. Someone in your space right now would benefit from your smile. Go ahead, start a conversation about how we can make the world a better place and begin right where you are.

Nelson city councillor Michael Dailly shares this space each week with his council colleagues.