Set Your Own Slaves Free First

The following letter was sent to the Driftwood by Jan Slakov. My response is below.

 

Take Time to Learn About RAR

Once upon a time, people could legally own slaves, could do what they wished with another human being because that human being was their private property.

Those who tried to abolish slavery were up against a great hue and cry from people who were convinced that the British (or U.S., etc.) way of life was in jeopardy because the economy relied on the cheap labour of slaves.

Now we have a very similar struggle about whether or not owning land gives one the right to “trash” it — to clearcut it, or bulldoze it or otherwise destroy nature’s ability to nourish the great variety of life we love.

I support the RAR because I think we need the ability to prevent the kinds of “development” that have already so seriously damaged many of our streams, lakes and other wetlands.

Given that enforcement of Trust bylaws ultimately rests with the Trust’s ability to take offenders to court, which is a very labourious and expensive process, people who inadvertently cut down a tree where they shouldn’t, or plant some daffodils alongside a ditch, are not going to be taken to court. But hopefully the fact that the new regulations cover even such relatively low-impact activities will help all of us learn that everything we do, not just the big things like how we build roads, homes, stores and landscaping, but even how we grow gardens, make a difference.

If you are worried about what the RAR means, please take the time to learn from people who have been working to protect our water and environment for years before you believe those who are mainly concerned about protecting property rights. For example, the Salt Spring Water Preservation Society  (ssiwps@hotmail.com) and the Salt Spring Island Conservancy (250-538-0318) have members who have studied the bylaw and can answer questions.

JAN SLAKOV, Salt Spring

My Response

Really Jan? Comparing property owners to slave owners? This is what the debate has come to?

While it is clear the proposed over reaching, unnecessary regulations are OK with you, it is apparent they are not OK with over 70% of islanders.

When will adding yet another layer onto the layer upon layer upon layer of existing land use bylaws and regulations be enough for you?

I would love to see all of the people who agree with you covenant and then donate their property to the Islands Trust. That way you can all set yourselves free from the guilt you must be feeling in the participation of (a) the perceived destruction of the environment and (b) the free market economy.

Make sure that covenant includes a clause that any manmade structure on the property cannot be repaired, rebuilt or replaced. That way, over time, your property will revert back to nature, as you apparently wish it so.

The shining example of selflessness you will set should act as a beacon in the wilderness to those who are like minded, lighting the way to a new Salt Spring, one where only those you see as selfish property owners actually live here.

By starting this kind of a movement you won’t have to deal with the rest of us, just your own fellow left-wing, anti-capitalist, extreme environmentalists. Surely there won’t be any further debate necessary. You must all be in agreement with restoring nature through self sacrifice. How much easier could it get?

I’ll even offer to write a model covenant for your group for free. Just send me the legal description of your properties. I’d love to help you fulfill your dreams.

Who knows, maybe the rest of us will catch on eventually. On the other hand maybe we will continue to be on the vigil against those who would suggest taking away our property rights on one hand, while comparing us to slave owners on the other.

You first. Set an example.

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4 Responses to Set Your Own Slaves Free First

  1. Kol Ayre says:

    “Now we have a very similar struggle about whether or not owning land gives one the right to “trash” it — to clearcut it, or bulldoze it or otherwise destroy nature’s ability to nourish the great variety of life we love.”

    If the RAR prevented people from trashing their land, I’m sure it would have popular support. But it goes way beyond that. It stops them from turning over a spadeful of dirt or interfering with a leaf. It’s the other end of extremism and reflects control freakery of an extraordinary order.

  2. Kimberly Lineger says:

    I seem to remember offering free downzoning to any property owner who wished to remove all development potential from their property in order to preserve and protect it. There was not a single person interested, nor do I expect there will be any interest for the covenant model proposed either. Even through the NAPTEC program, which offers a substantial tax rebate on convenanted lands, is there a huge interest in protecting land.

    It is very easy to point a finger at someone saying you are not doing enough to protect the environment, it is another thing entirely when it is pointed back at you. It always struck me as speaking out of both sides of their mouth – do as I say, not as I do.

  3. getting poorer says:

    “I support the RAR because I think we need the ability to prevent the kinds of “development” that have already so seriously damaged many of our streams, lakes and other wetlands.”

    This trite commentary incites me to burn my 500 square foot nylon rug that I have stored safely until dump day. I won’t, but I want to.

  4. getting poorer says:

    Jan’s editorial brings to mind the self victimized community in the novel The World According to Garp and her words send shivers up my spine.

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