Solution to mill’s effluent treatment does not need to divide community

Opinion
Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

As a former resident of Westville who has now lived “away” for many years, including Ireland and touring throughout Europe, it’s always lovely to come home to Nova Scotia. I came home this holiday season after two seasons abroad to a controversial topic that I can remember as far back as elementary school, only the controversy was different.

It was around Northern Pulp.

What I noticed was that there seems to be two sides, one is pro environment and the other is pro employment. What I’m confused about is the misunderstanding that just because one cares about the future of their planet, their environment, the air they breathe, it does NOT mean they are suggesting people lose jobs, stop working, or that our neighbours have some sort of dislike for one another based on where they work.

I think we need to see things in broader terms, the bigger picture. The pro employment side throws out comments about mouths to feed, families to raise and that the pollution is not their problem.

Let me be clear: this is as a community, as a human, as a resident of this place we call Earth, a shared problem and on top of that, a shared responsibility.

When diagnosed with cancer at the age of 13 the first question they asked, given the rarity of it was: Do you live near a paper mill? So, if you do have mouths to feed you might take concern to the air that those mouths are breathing.

It is absolutely possible to both care about the future of our collective home and support local employment. Why do you feel the need to choose one or the other? Can it not be both?

I was fortunate enough to attend the first Laudato Si Challenge in Vatican City, Rome where innovators have devoted their lives to changing the world through technology and innovation. Amongst the eight inspired companies was innov8tia.com a focus on a resource recovery system originally designed for the toxic sludge waste in China. Can we not start looking to a solution such as this rather than slandering one another for our views? Can we not try to educate on both sides, explaining that gain of environment doesn’t necessarily mean loss of employment?

In my own opinion, yes, I’d be delighted to see that toxic eyesore gone, but I do not say that without consideration to those who work hard for their families.

Will there ever be any resolution?

It’s my hope that when I come back next there’s more consideration and collaboration to solve a problem and less finger pointing.

Words from away…

Nova Johnstone

Westville

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