LETTER: Nelson owes a lot to Michael Jessen

From reader John Armstrong

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Jessen. Michael was a leader in developing our community’s awareness of the need to care for the environment here in Nelson 40 years ago.

He co-founded Preservation House Espresso at the foot of Falls Street in the late 1970s, a coffee house that brought people with common interests together and became a centre for environmental studies and action.

While it’s hard to imagine now, it was the only place in Nelson to have a cappuccino and enjoy meeting friends and listening to local musicians like Bob Eddy and Pat O’Neil. As a volunteer, I was one of many who found a sense of community along with new ideas, new friends, and good coffee, while in the offices upstairs, Michael and SPEC volunteers pursued environmental research and outreach that would benefit all of us and the world in which we live.

Michael served on city council and later opened a small recycling centre on Front Street, where people brought their old newspapers. It was a small and very important step in getting us to where we are today, long before regional recycling depots and curbside pickups became common.

He was dedicated in his work to open our eyes to new, and old, ways of living. We owe much to Michael Jessen for his environmental leadership, and with others, I thank him for his very valuable contributions to our community. We will miss him.

John Armstrong