Twelve Nelson residents in matching blue shirts, led by Sandra Hartline and Barbarah Nicoll, asked city council Monday night to declare that its citizens have a right to clean air, clean water, and healthy food.
They are the Nelson branch of the Blue Dot campaign, founded by David Suzuki, that has so far seen 100 Canadian municipalities and 110 national governments sign on.
The declaration would, according to the organizers, fill a gap in the Charter of Rights.
“By signing a declaration, the city would show its support for residents’ rights to clean air, water, and safe food, signal municipal leadership in building a healthy, sustainable community and draw attention to the Canadian constitution’s silence on environmental issues,” said Hartline. “The declaration would also ensure that the city protects and fulfills that right within its municipal boundaries.”
The project was endorsed by the Union of BC Municipalities in 2015 in the form of an Environmental Bill of Rights, which recognizes the right to clean air, clean water, and clean food as well as “public participation in decision making regarding the environment and access to environmental information; access to justice when environmental rights are infringed; and … whistle-blower protection.”
Council will make a decision about the endorsement at a future meeting.