Caring for and Healing the Earth

Take Action

Tips on saving a local environmental or ecological feature

by Julie Liptak

  • Recruit help from the local naturalist club, Audubon society, hikers club, outdoor club, historical/heritage society, etc.

  • Do your science. Your opponents will only listen if you have scientific reasons to support your claim that the ecological feature needs to be preserved. Recruit some biologists to do proper research for you.

  • Simple emotional appeal will not work. Politicians and business people despise emotional appeals.

  • Call each member of your local council. If you can get one or two of them to agree with you it would be helpful. However be careful - council members cannot reveal their bias before something is brought before council; if they do they will be disqualified from voting on the issue. 

  • But beware, politicians sometimes intentionally reveal their bias prior to voting in order to purposefully disqualify themselves. That way they're "clear" so they won't look "bad". 

  • Also remember that politicians will often switch their view when it comes to an actual vote. Don't rely on them at all.

  • It would be best to come up with good solid evidence as to the value of the ecological feature, such as Pierre Trudeau's grandfather ate lunch under it. In other words, point out the historic value as well as the aesthetic value.

  • A good question: why do you want to save the ecological feature?  
    For example...a tree: Where is it? If left, will it be next to a 12 story office building? Why do they: want to cut it down? Is it in a park? Is it on a street or next to a building, in danger of losing limbs during a storm that might cause damage to people or property? These are the types of things that will be considered when making an appeal to council. It must be made to look like the tree is not endangering anyone or anything, is not in anyone's or anything's way, & has some value as is.

  • It would be beneficial to get a good number of local residents onside, all appearing at council at once. Get the media involved. Write letters to the editor. Do this before the 11th hour. If there is a local naturalist group, contact them for assistance &/or advice. 
    Using the example of the tree again....Is the actual age of the tree known? Write a history of the area from the time the tree was planted & send it to the local newspaper. Perhaps it could designated as having historical significance.

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