Growing a garden is a better idea for your backyard than building a laneway home, writes David Knox. Pictured here is Nelson’s GardenFest on Saturday. Photo: Tyler Harper

LETTER: Mitigation, adaptation, and resilience

From reader David Knox

Just a thought about the coming climate change and the role of the City of Nelson and its citizens in averting global warming and/or surviving it. Last month there was an article in your paper about a city council resolution to make climate change a focus of its strategic priorities. This month, there was another article about promoting laneway houses. Does anyone else see the irony here?

We used to be a Communities in Bloom city promoting gardens and greenery. Now city council wants to promote building houses in yards and potential garden spaces in town. Do we really want to mitigate, adapt to, and be resilient to climate change? I can think of quite a few reasons why promoting planting fruit trees and vegetable gardens would do all of that.

For example, it is quite easy to grow 10 per cent of your food in a modest size garden in Nelson, mitigating some food transportation emissions, creating more food security, and sequestering hundreds of kilograms of carbon in the ground per household as soil organic matter. If we are gardening, we aren’t burning jet fuel flying to the other side of the world on vacation (do you really need to go to Vietnam to have a beach holiday?). Keeping the city irrigated must lower the fire hazard in the summer. Now, we are discouraged from watering our yards.

I realize city council has a responsibility to make ends meet and balance the municipal budget, and that past councils’ failure to budget for maintenance of infrastructure has caused a need to find more revenue sources, as in more houses and people means more property taxes. However isn’t the growth solution just passing the buck to the future also as more city services and infrastructure will be needed someday?

How about being more creative, finding revenue sources that can mitigate, adapt to and provide resilience to climate change? Brainstorming by myself for two minutes I can think of a couple possibilities. How about a city-owned cannabis dispensary that exclusively buys local product, thus keeping local farms solvent? (There is already a precedent with the provincial alcohol stores.)

In order to entice Nelson residents to stay around for their vacation how about a city-sponsored music festival? (We are the only town in the area without a major annual music festival.) The point here is to think outside the box and be creative.

I can’t think of any reason promoting more growth mitigates, adapts to, and is resilient to climate change. Just changing over the city fleet of vehicles to electric in 10 years is not going to do it. This is not something that is just the responsibility of the city council either, though it definitely requires political will. It needs participation by all of us citizens looking at all aspects of our lifestyles if we are seriously considering adapting to the future. If we can’t do it in Nelson where could it ever happen?

David Knox


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