Sunday, July 6, 2008

"The earth provides enough to satisfy every one's need, but not every one's greed." - Mahatma Gandhi

For a long time I've been pondering need and greed, wondering how some can be so cavalier about taking more and more as if by right while the rest of us have trouble just getting by.

It's a problem that we all understand when we think in terms of the world: we see the unbearable poverty of Africa and the flaunted billions of the corporate baronetcy, but we don't seem to recognize the same disparity in our own little piece of paradise.

How can it be acceptable for someone to come to Central Saanich Council because they need variances for a 10,000 sq ft home on prime farmland?

How can others lobby for a water pipeline to serve 7-bathroom homes, homes with spas and indoor/outdoor pools, water features and other frills even though our aquifers are being drained and neighbours with more modest lifestyles are deprived of water they always had before the greedy came along?

It seems that our greed is boundless: as long as we can leverage the money we will do what we want.

We need a Council willing to say no to this kind of unsustainable 'lifestyle.'

We need bylaws that limit the size of houses (Oak Bay recently passed a bylaw to limit homes to 3,000 sq ft and other jurisdictions have had such limits for years).

We need environmental standards in place and we need them enforced: for water, for trees, for recycling and for every other environmental concern..

The best way to do this would be to hire an environmental planner for the District, whose job it is to prepare new bylaws; research new methods of water conservation, power production and reduction and other environmental innovations; find the funding to help homeowners, businesses and the District to get the job done; and to put in place tests, measures, reviews and enforcement to be sure we are doing what we should be doing.

Some have suggested funding as a problem, but Councillor Zeb King showed that if the time is spent doing the research and preparing the applications there is money to be had from senior levels of government and from foundations and organizations dedicated to environmental preservation.

Nothing is impossible.
Only greed will fail.

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