Drawing Green Parallels
Commons supporters, climate change activists join forces to highlight need to protect nature
By MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE Staff Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
’Our vanishing Halifax Common(s) is a metaphor for the disappearance of our global Common, most urgently our atmosphere and climate’ SHEILAGH HUNT – Friends of the Halifax Common
Remnants of the original Halifax Commons are representative of the “disappearance of our global Common,” park lovers and climate change fighters say.
An event promoting today’s International Day of Climate Action and bemoaning the vanishing Halifax Commons was held Friday afternoon. Less than one-third of the Halifax Common’s original 95.1 hectares, granted in 1763 by King George III, is public open space, say Friends of the Halifax Common.
Members and supporters drew a line around the entire perimeter of the original Commons. Volunteers were supplied with chalk at various meeting points around the site.
“Our vanishing Halifax Common(s) is a metaphor for the disappearance of our global Common, most urgently our atmosphere and climate,”” said Friends member Sheila Hunt.
“Our air, water, and land — the common heritage of all people — are being degraded,” she said in a release. “How we choose to deal with the finite natural resources of our planet has lasting repercussions for future generations.”
Today, the climate change event begins at 2 p.m. near the pavilion on the Commons, which is by the park’s swimming and wading pools.
The event is part of the global <https://www.350.org/>350.org movement.
Similar happenings are being planned for Wolfville, Bridgewater and other communities in the province.
Canadian delegates in December will join those from other countries for a UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen.
Regarding the dwindling Commons, Coun. Dawn Sloane (Halifax Downtown) said many residents in her district would like to see land reclaimed for use as public green space.
This is a test
But priorities shift, she said, and decision-makers must address society’s needs.
Ms. Sloane pointed to the site of the former Queen Elizabeth High School, which she said is on original Halifax Commons land.
She said the property is part of a land swap with the province, and the government could end up using it for additional space for the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.
Having said that, Ms. Sloane said she supports at least considering the possibility of reclaiming Commons land when an opportunity arises.
“I think it’s something that we have to have in the back of our heads when we see land swaps or land deals going on,” she told The Chronicle Herald.
According to the Friends, halting the land swallowing that’s gone on is just what the politicians should be doing.
“The lack of appreciation of the need for green space allowed the land to be assigned other uses over the years, including hospitals, schools and other public and private institutions. It’s time to halt, or even reverse, that trend,” says the group’s website.
’Our vanishing Halifax Common(s) is a metaphor for the disappearance of our global Common, most urgently our atmosphere and climate’ SHEILA HUNT – Friends of the Halifax Common