Pellerin: In future, let's treat trees, mountains and rivers like people

By Brigitte Pellerin, Ottawa Citizen, January 15, 2021

When we finally get the pandemic under control — after we get used to respecting the rules of lockdown, I mean — we’ll have to turn our attention to new routines that don’t involve treating the environment like a trash can. And for that, we’ll need to think about the future at least as much as we think about instant gratification. And remember that trees are people, too.

No, really. But first, the future.

2030 is now less than a decade away and if we are to keep our word and limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius as per the Paris Agreementwe say we’re so keen on, we’re going to have to step on the electric accelerator.

It’s hard for any individual person or family to know what to do, beyond reaching for the low-hanging fruit of trying to drive less and tweaking consumption habits. Some people add solar panels to their home, or use geothermal, or invest in green research and jobs. Others do something much more fun: They build a little company called Robin Hoodies and use it to improve biodiversity.

It was founded a year ago by a mother-and-son team in Nova Scotia. Sheila Henderson and Justin Henderson Comeau initially invested $30,000 to launch a business in which half the profits go towards buying land that is legally protected against development. Land that is allowed to “rewild.” The initiative is called Robin Hoodies because the idea is to take from the present and give to the future.

So far, they have purchased 45 acres and hope for much, more more. The hoodies are swell, too. They come with a piece of twine to remind you to hang them to dry. Oh, and soon you’ll be able to send back your old hoodie, no matter how stained or tattered, to be turned into something else. A fine way to promote a circular economy.

(...)We need more people to speak up and act for the benefit of future generations. Given half a chance, Henderson will tell you how important it would be to have a “minister of the future” in every government, someone whose job would be to stop us from ruining our children’s planet for our own immediate economic benefit. Or at least slow us down.

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