I am writing to demand meaningful consultation on tourism planning.
In 2019, Prince Edward County Council declared a Climate Emergency. This was a recognition that we are on a path of creating hell on Earth for our children, grandchildren and all future generations. It was a recognition that we are already creating it for Indigenous People and other species of the north, for people of the global south, for people in hurricane- and cyclone-prone areas, for the people and other species of low-lying nations, etc.
The Climate Emergency declaration was a recognition that the emissions path we are on, “business-as-usual”, otherwise known as RCP 8.5, will lead to a global surface temperature rise of about 4.3 degrees C by the end of the century, an unadaptable temperature rise for humanity and most other life on Earth. The Climate Emergency declaration was a recognition that, as a municipality, we must do everything we can to get off this deadly path.
Since their Climate Emergency Declaration, every major planning decision Council has made or continued with has kept us on the path to climate catastrophe. From paving over large areas of agricultural land and wildlife habitat for completely unsustainable housing development, to a mega-project to create new infrastructure to support the continuation of the completely unsustainable global shipping economy, to growing luxury emissions and consumption through tourism, County planning had been about staying on the RCP 8.5.
In this context, I felt a faint bit of hope when I read that County Council was giving the public the chance to have a say in tourism planning. The most important thing we can do in exercising our right to have a say in decision-making is to use that right to save a livable planet.
With this in mind, I tried to fill out the County’s public tourism survey. Not surprisingly, given their record, the survey has absolutely nothing to do with planning to save a survivable climate or a livable world. Apparently climate considerations are off the “profit at any ecological price” agenda.
The only question the survey really asks the people of Prince Edward County is “How can we stay on the path to creating hell on Earth, in a way that is most convenient and amenable to you?”
Staying on this path is not acceptable to me. I believe that if the people of the County were provided with the truth about the known climate consequences of continuing with “business as usual” in the context of developing tourism, tourism would not be acceptable to anybody.
In a climate-, not to mention ecological-, not to mention resource-depletion-, crisis, meaningful public consultation involves public education around the consequences of planning decisions, options that are consistent with resolving the existential crises we are facing, and action on the democratically-arrived-at conclusions.