LETTER: Against growth in Nelson

LETTER: Against growth in Nelson

From reader Charles Jeanes

Re: “LETTER: Nelson is no longer charming” Aug. 27

Your letter from C. Burton must surely provoke response among thoughtful Nelsonites. Can citizens “tame the beast” — the social pathology and economic defects – consequent upon successful promotion of this region as a place to live and do business?

Academic research on urban growth and healthy quality of life is, in my perspective, persuasive. A definite-sized population on a given land base, with allowance made for natural beauty, water, air, and social resilience, cannot be exceeded without negative consequences. The logic of growth in capitalist economic necessity collides with the dialectic of humans being. We are beings of both material and spiritual natures.

I situate myself among philosophers, cultural anthropologists, utopians, and anarchists against real-estate economists, materialists, growth-addicts and liberals. To my mind, the wrong path was chosen when growth is favoured; our elected leaders ignored that small is beautiful, believing in their own intelligence as managers of size, masters of technology, gurus of “the Nelson lifestyle.” We endorsed them; my own constant defeat in electoral politics on consistent anti-growth platforms is partly explained by voters’ preference for the gospel of expansion. (There were other reasons!)

Put these two books on your shelf and read them as dialogue: Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein, and Maximum Canada by Doug Saunders. The former is a polymath writer and philosopher with a dwindling following, the latter a journalist enjoying his peers’ respect. I align with the former. His comprehension of the human condition is profound.

Homo sapiens has been dominant on Earth a very brief moment. Colonizing Mars is said to be our logical next progress, since growing our dominions for species-survival has been the law of evolutionary history – if you believe that. The growth of Nelson nestles very well in the narrative of species’ success-by-expansion; Indigenous peoples do not have the same narrative as settlers, but “winners” write history, oui? Celebrate winners!

The “beast” Burton named isn’t just a Nelson problem. Humanity faces metaphorical beasts all around; I want to believe humans can tame them. History, my academic discipline, inclines me against faith.

Charles Jeanes


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Youth Climate Corps is seen here planting garlic at a permaculture farm while learning about food security. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: Canada’s first Youth Climate Corps gets to work

Fourteen young adults are working to advance local climate change mitigation

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Most Read