Via the Ottawa Citizen: Shifting boundaries.

There was an interesting letter in the Citizen this morning.  It made me wonder if this “sacred ideology of growth” which Madeline Weld writes about could be successfully shifted to focus on (or include) plants and animals.

The Letter:

Shifting boundaries
By Madeline Weld, The Ottawa Citizen May 18, 2010

Re: Councillor muses about Terry Fox land swap, May 16.

This Citizen article illustrates the fact that unrestricted growth destroys the environment, while smart growth destroys the environment more slowly. As our expanding human population requires ever more space, we will just take it, wherever it may be and, however, it may be zoned.

Boundaries established to protect the habitat of endangered plant and animals will simply be shifted to accommodate relentless growth, as is occurring in the case of the planned expansion of Terry Fox Drive.

Developers know that the Ontario Municipal Board will almost always rule in their favour if recalcitrant residents or environmentalists give them any trouble.

What is playing out in Kanata is repeated countless times in Canada and around the world, as the global population soars from its current 6.8 million to a projected 9 billion-plus during the next 40 years and Canada’s population soars from 33 million to 44 million, an increase of 33 per cent driven primarily by the government’s own policies.

Environmentalists may win the occasional battle, but as long as they refuse to recognize growth as the enemy, as most steadfastly refuse to do, they will lose the war to preserve the habitat that biodiversity depends on. When push comes to shove in an increasingly crowded world, human needs for space to live, grow food, and meet their energy needs will always trump the needs of other organisms.

The developer may seem like the obvious villain in this case. But the real villains are the sacred ideology of growth, our governments who embrace this ideology, our environmentalists who refuse to challenge it, and the rest of us with our silence. The developers are merely implementing this sacred ideology at whose altar we all worship.

Madeline Weld,


Population Institute of Canada