Yes, there is something we can do!

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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist


Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

It is amazing how many people still believe that our climate is not really changing (or, at least, that humans are not responsible for such changes) – and, so, there’s nothing much we should or can do. Interestingly, too, this view seems more common in Anglo-North American culture. Cultures which can claim, for example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau among their founders, may be less likely to delude or excuse themselves from the obvious effects of human activities everywhere.
Today, COVID is demonstrating that we are “all in this together”, not only as victims, but also as causes.
We have conspiracy theories, blame, and plenty of crazy suggestions regarding climate change – plus some simple measures which might actually help. Measures proposed by the scientific community, big ones, may require more explanation before being widely accepted. Very few of us, for example, wish to give up our petroleum-based lifestyles; plastics and gasoline are so
convenient and we are so accustomed to their use and to their positives.
Big changes are needed in our economy and life-styles, but they are large and must be incremental, not all at once. However, there are small but
effective things our Pontiac communities can do. 
For example: land-use planning. This is a subject which we, here in Pontiac’s small communities, have in our control. We can make a difference, and last year’s flooding makes improved land-use a no-brainer.
For years, municipalities have been over-looking many floodplain restrictions and cautions. With good reason – our municipalities need every cent they can squeeze out of property taxes. Expensive homes tend to go up on the waterfront (often the floodplain). However, if the province had a more rational method of supporting municipal governments, we would not now be facing the expenses of the last big flood and the government’s buy-out of flood-plain properties. 
We can do this: restrict building on floodplains and on dangerously-compromised areas. And require all new building to be done on properties already built-upon. No cutting of forest to build a home on the woods. No grab of farm land to build a country estate, complete with its own parking lot, Ontario-style.
This would use up the vacant lots and falling-down buildings, so common here. This would end the expense and losses of forest fires sweeping through communities. It would concentrate our towns and villages, renew them, and allow public infrastructure to be upgraded, rather than always expanded to cover new builds outside the existing water systems, sewage, fire hydrants, streets and municipal lighting networks.
This is something every one of our municipalities could undertake and which would directly contribute to easing the damages our planet and atmosphere
are suffering. It would bring us closer together.
It requires the province to fund municipalities more rationally.