Nature primeval — let it be, for our sake

Are land, forest, birds, plants, sky and water valuable only if they generate taxes for its community?

Are land, forest, birds, plants, sky and water valuable only if they generate taxes for its community?

Should any part of these be demolished or lessened because they’re not on the tax roles or spending money? Are taxes and the economy everything in the greater scheme of things?

In the early days of North America’s European settlement, trees and forests and animals were endless and uncountable.

They were in the way; they were the enemy, and so they were hacked at, pushed back, and slaughtered to make way for humans. For hundreds of years, few people ever thought about the forests or the animals coming to an end.

It’s true it’s hard to see the forests for the trees when you’re standing on the ground. With the age of air travel, the continent’s growing bald spots became visible. Gradually, some realized forests and their inhabitants were finite. Some of them even began to understand that without our natural heritage we’d be without a lot of other things.

But haughty humans that we are, we too often turn a blind eye to the disappearance of “natural” things in our sphere. Our faith in the human technology that allows us to lead easy, comfortable and sheltered lives tricks us into believing that the loss of a chunk of bush here, some old growth there, a few bugs and weeds, a view of sky or mountains, or the mirror surface of the sea at our doorstep cannot possibly affect our well-being. What hubris!

Do you truly “see” the trees in those woods as you walk or drive by; do you thrill to the mountains etched against the blue vault of sky, feel the mystery, the secrets, the solace they encompass?

What about the homes, food and shelter they provide? (No, not for you, for the creatures who call them home.) Do you think of the life that surges there through all the seasons? Do you give any thought to the wonders that can be found there? Wonders that had evolved, been tested, and found satisfactory ages before we came up with our own “modern miracles”

But would a subdivision or higher buildings not be an improvement? After the land was cleared, the houses built, the owners moved in, how much and for how long would the predicted benefits be felt in our community? In the long run, would all the storefronts be full, would more people be spending more money (locally), would taxes go down, would Qualicum Beach be a better place to live?

What makes Qualicum Beach a “desirable address” right now? So far, it’s a community with some heart left in it. All, so far, has not been sacrificed to pavement, stores, condos and the dollar grab. We still have patches of true forest, relatively clean beaches, clear air, sensibly low-rise buildings and views of the mountains. These are what make Q.B. special — but they’re being chipped away at. That’s how the natural world which we enjoy is being endangered beyond repair.

And why should we work to save these attributes? They should be saved to save our souls. Deep in every human is a need to touch the earth and the earth’s wild things. It’s a need too often denied, to our own detriment. Not everyone living or visiting in Qualicum Beach uses or even appreciates the nature surrounding us, but not everyone comes here for the stores and the buying ethic, either.

There are many who cherish these wonders and benefit just by knowing that they are there. Some cherish them with their eyes, their ears, their touch and their breath. Others pay homage by learning from the life burgeoning around us.

The thing here, is that it’s rather imperative to make the right choice. If we decide that our natural surroundings are not that important, that they come too dear, and we go ahead and cut and build, there’s no changing our minds down the road. Neither we, nor our children nor our grandchildren, ad infinitum, will see that particular slice of nature again – ever.

A certain Gerard Manley Hopkins once entered his plea thus:

“What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

Long live the weeds and wilderness yet.”


Just Posted

Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville will host the 2021 B.C. Junior Golf Championships. (PQB News file photo)
Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville to host 150 of B.C’s top junior golfers

Provincial boys and girls championship begins June 28

Hannes Grosse, left, and Iris Steigemann, right, as they prepared for their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit. The father-daughter duo are showing at The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach until June 26. (Submitted photo)
Cortes Island artists exhibit at Qualicum Beach’s TOSH in first father-daughter show

Both artists will be present at shows on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read