Climate change only one aspect of Green New Deal

Thank you for covering the launch of the Green New Deal (GND) campaign in Belleville (Green New Deal discussed in Belleville, May 30, The Picton Gazette).
Canadians from coast to coast to coast who recognize the significance and urgency of the growing climate crisis have come together to discuss, create and test rational solutions. Many of us accept climate change is a result of inappropriate land management and human lifestyles and it’s seen as a dire warning to heal our traditionally destructive relationship with the land now in order to protect all life here.
As the work of the GND examines our relationship to the land it will inevitably extend into our relationships with each other and our human and property rights as defined in current legal structures.
There is a growing understanding among many climate change cannot be addressed until social and government changes take place in order to organize and marshal the political will required to support the long term goals of the GND.
As a lifelong community activist that interacts with various levels of government, I recognize that colonial thinking and practices have destroyed and traumatized human and natural communities across Canada, creating a lasting legacy of open wounds that need to be healed before ethical Canada can emerge.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRR) has exposed colonial crimes against humanity. It has inspired Canadians to rise above, or transcend our cultural conditioning in order to see the real Canada and guide us toward ethical governance. The GND demands immediate action on all the recommendations in the TRR.
Today, I live with evidence of colonial destruction in a largely treeless area with the ghost name “Woodville” in Prince Edward County, a starting node for Upper Canada.
Here, the same wasteful clear-cutting practices that devastated the great forests of Europe were repeated to produce farmlands at the expense of the natural communities that grew here in rich harmony. Many other scars like military-commercial canal systems constructed at enormous human and environmental cost and abandoned shortly after completion still haunt these lands.
In 1851, Ontario woodlots covered 67 per cent of southern Ontario, and today they cover a mere 16 per cent of our landscape.
The 50 Million Tree Replacement Program would create new, health giving forests on these idle lands throughout Ontario mostly near our population centers.
Trees create the essential conditions for life on the surface of the planet and are probably the main reason we bipeds left the security of our snug caves. They are our strongest allies in our struggle for life as they turn deserts and wastelands into ecosystems where communities can grow and thrive. Trees form social communities that communicate, as they create and control microclimates that allow other communities, including human ones to emerge and thrive from an otherwise barren landscape.
The Ford government has announced a return to colonial thinking as it scuttled the 50 million tree replacement program designed to correct government disasters. Taken together, these many trauma zones rise to the level of crimes against the environment.


-Steve Staniek