Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clover Point

When I was at Clover Point the other day it was clear but this morning a low-lying mist blankets Victoria. It's being quickly dissipated by the October sun's slanting rays. A foghorn's mournful tones seem to emerge from nowhere, everywhere, directionless. Here at Clover Point it is calm, the tide partway out, the water pooling among the rocks is still and clear. Birds skim the water.
Clover Point is the location of one of Victoria's notorious sewage outfalls. Notorious among some. Jutting out into the water in the shape of a tear drop, it's also a favourite place for Victorians to walk or just park their cars and look out at the sea. Every day the picture changes. Today it's fog and calm, other days violent storms whip over it. Exposed as it is to winds coming up the strait, it's a favourite spot for kite flyers and parasailers. Sometimes you can see sea lions or sea otters, even whales from Clover Point. The salmon are finished running for the year so I see no fish boats in the offing, only the Victoria Clipper heading into the harbour and a sailboat motoring out with it's rigging sailess. It almost feels like a holy place. Maybe that's why very few are rude enough to leave their stereos on while they park. Still, not everyone respects it, as the overflowing garbage station shows. And if you wander down among the rocks you can see that our "homeless" population uses it as a latrine.
I wish the activists who agitate against Victoria because of the sewage outfall would spend a little time here- but it's always futile to try to open a determinedly closed mind. They don't want to hear evidence that would contradict their apocalyptic mind set and their desire to control everybody's lives. The fact is that study after study after study, all by reputable scientists, has shown that the outfall is not only a good way of handling our sewage, it is better than any alternative... by far. More effective, safer, more sanitary, less intrusive, and economical.
The controversy has been dogging the city for longer than I have lived here. When I lived in Vancouver twenty years ago I recall going to a presentation on the subject. It was a very rational and sane presentation by someone very knowledgeable on the subject. Facts and figures were well attested. And yet that was not enough for some Sierra Club types in attendance. With them it was like my grandfather liked to say of some people- in one ear and out the other. They just wouldn't listen. I am a natural environmentalist and this was the beginning of my disenchantment of environmentalism with a capital E.
Periodically, the issue is resurrected and periodically new studies are commissioned- with the same result. Locally, most of us know that we have a good system in place, so the focus of the Environmentalists is to agitate in some far off place among audiences who are unfamiliar with the history and the science. The more remote the audience, the easier it is to mislead- and during slow periods when not much else is going on, the Environmentalists decide to pick on Victoria. What's it all about, as Alfie used to say? Fund raising. Environmental groups have become not much more than shakedown operations. From corporations they exert pressure for donations. From governments they strong arm. And from the suckers (that's us) they always have their hands out. That's all there is to it folks.
Except for one thing. Not only are they frauds, they do harm. So those curly cone lightbulbs are filled with poisonous mercury? So windfarms kill birds? So banning DDT has caused the deaths of millions of brown-skinned people in poor counties? So they are preventing the use of seeds provided by Monsanto that would improve the lives of Haitian farmers?
It doesn't add up does it? Unless you know that many in the environmental movement think of human beings as a plague on the earth. Our very own David Suzuki once mused that the population of the earth would be reduced by half. It's unclear to me whether he wanted half the population of the earth to perish, if he thought policies should be adopted to reduce the population to prevent ecological damage, or if he thought some calamity might transpire to cause a population collapse. But the logic is clear. Human beings don't count. Somehow, to the Environmentalist way of thinking human beings are not part of nature. That's us. We are invasive weeds that need to be uprooted.
It's true that most people who think of themselves as environmentalists don't think this way. They are mostly guilty of being gullible. But make no mistake. Big Environment wants to control the world.

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