General News · 22nd September 2008
On Cortes Island, and elsewhere, we defend our right to private property and what we do on our own land. This is a right that we think should have as land owners: to have control over our own space. However, contrary to general opinion, we simply do not have that right. Our lands are subject to a variety of laws and regulations that govern what is acceptable. Some laws are appropriate and are for the safety and well being of all. For example, we cannot stockpile stolen belongings or murder people on our own land. There are other good regulations, such as where you can build an industrial site or a slaughter house. These rules are here to protect our society and to put the greater good of our communities ahead of the autonomy of an individual or corporation.
But what about the laws that do not make sense? There are laws that allow indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides and herbicides on our land while other regulations prohibit us from recycling our greywater. There are laws that allow the poisoning of lakes and rivers, laws that allow the farming of genetically modified plants right next to natural ones, laws that allow raw sewage to be dumped into the ocean, and there are laws that allow large scale clearcut logging.
Such laws do not make sense and are damaging to our community, society, nation and planet. If people did not change and make new laws then there would never be new laws. Slavery would still be allowed, women would not have a vote, and anybody who did not practice a certain religion could be executed. If laws exist to put the greater good ahead of individuals then we must change those laws that simply do not.
We are told that clearcutting, though unpleasant, is good economics and therefore good for us. From a conventional economic perspective, it is beneficial to cut an entire forest in a short span of time and then move onto the next forest to do the same. These economics are deliberately based on faulty logic which gives a functioning natural ecosystem no economic value. In other words: as long as the trees are standing a forest is economically worthless.
However, a forest provides many products and services including: habitat for many animals, creeks for salmon, carbon absorption from the air, oxygen creation, fresh water filtering, recreation, teaching of stewardship, and even nurturing of the spirit. These apparently have no economic value. But they are not worthless, they are priceless. Clearcut logging removes the entire forest so that we are left with none of these things. Not even the wood. We know this is not for the greater good.
So what do we do? Do we let multinational corporations supported by stupid laws and unbalanced economics control the resources of our island? Do we turn a blind eye to the future of our community, our planet and our children? Do we sit back and make excuses about private property and the law? Or do we change things?
Carrington is owned by a multinational corporation which intends to clearcut. The laws that protect them are harmful to society and are unreasonable. There is no long term economic gain from clearcutting. We need our forests and have a responsibility to future generations. We cannot allow clearcutting to continue, to do so would be irresponsible.
The world is changing, perhaps faster than ever before. We can see it all around us. We cannot stop, or even slow that change, but we can—with action—have an influence on the course of that change. By sitting at home wondering where we should stand we will only be swept away wondering why we chose to do nothing while we still had a chance.
How do we change the law?
Comment by Gypsy Mama on 27th September 2008
Acorn, you have pointed out some valuable information, now what can we do?
Who, where and how are these laws created?
Knowing this we can propose and bring about new laws that would be uplifting and sustainable for Cortes.
We could propose a law to abolish clear cutting, and set some kind of standards to define sustainable forestry practices.
Along the same lines, I would like to propose a law enabling the availability and use of 100% electric vehicles on our island, with the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating petroleum powered vehicles. We are the change. Still off the grid and seeking an electric transportation option.