Conservation authority

Whether it’s via lessons from school or his beachy adventures, columnist Chris Hunt’s son Riley continues to teach him the importance of caring for our planet

There was a period not long ago where my nine-year-old son was obsessed with saving the world. One afternoon, Riley came home and chastised his mother and I about what he deemed were too many lights on in the house, and how we needed to conserve energy because “global warming.” Apparently, he’d been learning about sustainability in school.

If I recall correctly, he gave us instructions on how we could help the environment. I don’t remember what he said, beyond they were likely just abridged talking points he’d learned in school and that he was delightfully obnoxious about it.
I do remember though, that I made the mistake of telling him the only advice any of my elementary school teachers gave me about sustainability: not flush the toilet each time you use it. Each non-flush saves water, I explained, rather tongue-in-cheek. He took this to heart. The conversation happened years ago, yet his mother and I still frequently happen upon unflushed toilets. Stumbling into the bathroom in the early morning hours while still drunk on sleep and finding the remnants of my kid’s supper staring back at me from a porcelain bowl is not an ideal wake-up call, especially if the supper in question had been Tex-Mex. However, it’s a small price to pay for encouraging a positive environmental mindset. That said, given how enthusiastic he is about conserving water, we do tend to shy away from asparagus for evening meals.

My kid has always loved the great outdoors. His favourite thing is to spend time with his grandparents at their trailer on the Ottawa River during the summer. He adores biking along trails and swimming at the beach. On lucky occasions, his grandfather will take the boat out to a sandbar a few minutes away, and they’d all spend the afternoon playing in the water.

It really is the greatest playground that I’m fortunate he can enjoy as often as he does.  Yet, I’m worried the older he gets, the less of it there will be.

Originally, the space behind them was all trees and foliage, however that’s all been removed to make way for more plots. More development equals more income, which is better for everyone right? This is an ideal proven true not only in rural Ontario.
We recently bought a home in Aylmer, not far from the Boucher Forest, a sprawling urban oasis of around 740 acres and home to around 30 vulnerable species. 

A recent plan devised by the municipal council earmarked 110 acres of Boucher Forest to be developed, citing the low ecological value of the land being utilized.

Low ecological value.  Admittedly, I’m not a biologist or an environmental expert.  Heck, I don’t think I’ve even seen an entire episode of “The Nature of Things,” so perhaps I am not the best person to be offering an opinion of the legitimacy of the phrase “low ecological value.” However, I sincerely doubt that developing a large habitat, even one with a low ecological value, will have a positive effect on the wildlife living within it.
But what does that matter against progress, right?