Editorials - April 28, 2023
Have you had the experience of a single quote suddenly bringing an entire subject into focus for you? While reading a news article about the effect that our lawns have on the environment, we had that moment.
Lawns require intensive fertilization, watering and maintenance, while providing no value to the natural environment. In fact, this sea of non-native and inedible plants “is the largest irrigated crop in North America”. While somewhere in the recesses of our minds we know this, this single sentence should give everyone pause. The crop we spend the most time cultivating provides no nutritional value to us. It seems to be an incredible waste of resources when you actually stop to think about it.
The biggest hurdle to naturalizing our environment is the learned behaviour that we all have had ingrained into us that tells us that a neatly trimmed, manicured, evenly-green square of grass around our dwelling is a sign of a well-cared-for property. In fact, a naturalized space of native plants is the best way to sequester carbon, manage the watershed, support native pollinators and plants at the base of the food web.
Easy steps to train our brains to accept natural lawns would just be to begin overseeding your turf grass with native species. Visit your local garden centres to discuss the options they have in plants that are native to the region. Let’s think about saving our time, water and energy for crops that will feed the planet. – DS
See you at the crossroads
Fewer than one in five Canadians want the country to retain its roots in the Monarchy, according to a recent poll. That’s right - 19 per cent.
With Charlie’s party set for May 6 - and also set to cost between 50 and 100 million pounds, maybe more, depending on who you ask - many Canadians are seemingly sending their regrets. Approval of the Royals - specifically King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla - is in the toilet in Canada (32 per cent approve of Charles, 22 per cent for Camilla) and many are wondering if it’s time to have the conversation.
You know... the conversation. With Queen Elizabeth now passed on, is it time for Canada to move on from its past, put its big-boy pants on, so to say, and let the Monarchy conduct its business back in the U.K.?
Apparently 81 per cent of Canadians want very much to have the conversation. But, the conversation is not cut and dry.
Should Canada take meaningful, practical steps towards distancing itself from the Monarchy, there will be consequences, such as opening its Constitution up. The system is set up in a way that unanimous consent is required, which will be nearly impossible to achieve, and, furthermore, it’s very possible that chaos would ensue if the constitution was opened up, especially given today’s political climate. Continuing to prop up the Royals has consequences, as many see them as the modern-day representatives of some heinous atrocities (in addition to a steady stream of unpleasantries from Prince Andrew to the treatment of Meghan Markle). Even doing nothing has consequences.
It’s a difficult conversation; one with many potential outcomes and no easy answers, but, with a changing of the guard days away, perhaps there is no better time than the present to have the conversation. – SL
The science of planning
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is obviously a man with many plans. In fact, he has so many carefully considered ideas that it can sometimes be difficult for the public to keep up with what Ford would categorize as his clearly cohesive and comprehensive vision for the province’s future.
Recently, Ford announced his government’s intention to relocate the Ontario Science Centre from its current home in Don Mills to a brand new location downtown as part of the redevelopment of the waterfront grounds at Ontario Place, but that the existing, masterful example of Brutalist-style architecture designed by revered Toronto architect Raymond Moriyama would need to be razed to make way for much needed housing. Soon after, Ford mused about the possibility of a school or community centre replacing the vacated educational science facility and expressed his desire to create something “spectacular” for the community, without getting into specifics. Clearly a lot of thought, consideration, and consultation went into both of these announcements.
Premier Ford’s leadership style is effective because it doesn’t get bogged down in complicated details. The Ford plan is to destroy the old, irreplaceable building that houses the current Science Centre, regardless of the fact that the land on which it is situated is jointly owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the City of Toronto, not the province of Ontario. The building is currently under lease to the centre for a 99-year term that doesn’t expire until 2064.
Ford obviously understands the implications of a long-term lease. His government has signed a 95-year agreement with a private Austrian company that specializes in spas to be the main attraction of the redeveloped Ontario Place. There is nothing that says “Ontario” more than a private Austrian spa. – SBS