Letter to the editor 4, Jan. 23, 2020

Hudson wetlands

Dear Editor,

Our quality of life is shaped by the environment so most homeowners in Hudson probably favour better wetland management. To that end, I think we can draw lessons from the recent controversy over the proposed 30-metre buffer zone for protecting wetlands.

The climate emergency poses many problems for the town, province, country, and world. To address these problems we must build consensus on what needs doing and by whom. Concerning local wetlands, one way forward is to focus on limiting the future misdeeds of outside developers and speculators. It’s not easy to rectify past mistakes and it’s extremely difficult to agree on how to regulate the activities of our neighbours. Because we need to learn how to work together on environmental problems, let’s tackle the easier stuff first.

I believe there’s a growing consensus on environmental ideals but ideals are not enough. We need to figure out the practical steps forward. Are there people in our region who can inform us about emerging best practices in other towns? How can we assess the harms done to our environment and how assess the practical steps that might reduce those harms?

Decades ago, a Hudson doctor, June Irwin, started a campaign to ban the use of chemical pesticides on our lawns. From blood tests on her patients she became convinced that pesticides were causing severe health problems. Her proposal was bitterly opposed but Hudson became the first town in Canada to ban lawn pesticides. Her efforts shaped new directions in environmental medicine, law, and public policy. We need that sort of focused activism.

Donald Attwood


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