Volunteers deliver where politicians won’t on Earth Day

Tomorrow will mark the 52nd annual Earth Day, encouraging earthlings from all pockets of the globe to do their part to help make our home a little greener.

Benefits of doing so are obvious-as the old cliché goes there is no Plan(et) B so it’s within everyone’s best interests to look after the only one we’ve got. Of course as we all know it’s never that simple-especially when politics are involved-and there’s a lot more to it than simply saying ‘let’s look after the planet.’ The debate gets muddled when questions of how much eco-friendliness is enough, who exactly is responsible for doing what and perhaps most difficult of all, who is supposed to pay for it are posed. Being earth-minded isn’t always profitable in the immediate, but in the long run there’s very little profit to be made in destroying the planet. Whether it’s forest fires, floods, landslides, drought or the like, short cuts taken today have a way of coming back to hurt not only our wallets but more importantly the quality of life of those around it.

This being an Ontario provincial election year, the environment is due to get talked about quite a bit over the next couple of weeks on the campaign trail, which has the potential to be a very good thing. Once limited to only to parties such as the Green, now all major parties’ campaign platforms will contain at least one plank relating to the environment. For some that could involve a pledge to do less, such as cancelling green-minded projects with the promise of saving dollars. But at the very least voters will have the opportunity to hear for themselves and then cast their vote based on that information and an opportunity to hold politicians accountable. One such example was one of Doug Ford’s first acts as premier when he ordered the cancellation of a handful of renewable energy contracts that were already underway under the previous government-one of which was under construction in neighbouring Prince Edward County. Though originally promised not to cost taxpayers a cent, the actual cost ended up being an estimated $231 million, as presented by the NDP during question period. The Conservatives didn’t rebuke those numbers, instead pointing to the fact PEC residents didn’t want the wind farm as justification for the cancellation.

That’s of course just one example of how political gamesmanship can bog down any green projects.

Thankfully Canadians don’t have to rely solely on politicians-in Ottawa or Toronto-to do what’s best for the planet. Volunteer community groups across the country-including right here in Greater Napanee-will be out in full force over the next couple of days to gather trash that inevitably shows up every year during the spring thaw. The cleanup will be taking place 9 a.m. at Springside Park-participants are asked to bring bags, rake and gloves.

As it often the case it’s volunteers who will ultimately end up picking up the slack and doing what’s right simply because it’s the right thing to do. Fortunately here in Greater Napanee, there never seems to be a shortage of those willing to put in the work to keep our community looking beautiful.

-Adam Prudhomme

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