The power of young peo­ple

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Shirley Hallee Shirley Hallee is a free­lance writer liv­ing in Amherst. Her column ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News.

Young peo­ple never cease to amaze me. A while back I wrote about the stu­dents at the Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Florida and how they man­aged to or­ga­nize huge num­bers of peo­ple, mostly other teens like them­selves, to first march as a memo­rial to the 17 fel­low stu­dents who died in the Fe­bru­ary shoot­ing. They then or­ga­nized ad­di­tional marches to protest the lack of gun con­trol...and man­aged to put the NRA on the de­fen­sive.

Through TV cov­er­age and by us­ing so­cial me­dia the young lead­ers at that school were able to make a change. The age for le­gal pos­ses­sion of a firearm was raised. They would have liked to have seen a ban on as­sault ri­fles, and even though that didn’t hap­pen, they did make a dif­fer­ence. Also, they put those in gov­ern­ment on no­tice. They in­di­cated that most of them would be able to vote in the Novem­ber 2018 elec­tion.

Another young per­son has made front page news. Stella Bowles, a Lunen­burg county en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist in her teens, has suc­cess­fully worked to get the Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment to come clean regarding is­sues deal­ing with poop. It seems that home own­ers along the LaHave River, and in other ar­eas of Nova Sco­tia, have been send­ing waste out via straight pipes into wa­ter­ways.

Straight pipes are il­le­gal in Nova Sco­tia but it seems the law was not be­ing en­forced. Bowles be­came aware there was a prob­lem and she be­gan test­ing the wa­ter her­self. It took a bit of per­sis­tence on her part but af­ter send­ing a cou­ple of letters Per­spec­tives to the en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter she be­gan to get some ac­tion. She noted the gov­ern­ment of Canada is fund­ing her kits to train kids, so she can bet­ter draw at­ten­tion to the need for the gov­ern­ment of Nova Sco­tia to en­force their own laws.

In ad­di­tion to her work as an ac­tivist she has a book com­ing out in Septem­ber. The ti­tle of the book is My River: Clean­ing up the LaHave River. Bowles was able to get me­dia at­ten­tion and she also cred­its so­cial me­dia with al­low­ing fo­cus on this prob­lem.

At this time it is my hope there are other young peo­ple who are will­ing to use their voices to bring another en­vi­ron­men­tal and health is­sue to the fore­front. There is ex­ten­sive use of glyphosate in this prov­ince...and ac­tu­ally through­out the world. The man­u­fac­turer of Roundup and Vi­sion Max in­sists their prod­uct does not cause can­cer. How­ever, the state of Cal­i­for­nia dis­agrees. A grounds-keeper was awarded $180 mil­lion be­cause it is re­ported he de­vel­oped ter­mi­nal can­cer from us­ing Roundup. Carey Gil­lam, an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist has pub­lished a book, White­wash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Can­cer, and the Cor­rup­tion of Science.

Gil­lam, who works for Reuters as an agri­cul­ture re­porter, spent years in­ter­view­ing re­searchers and read­ing re­ports. Her book is filled with fac­tual ma­te­rial that is well-sup­ported. Not only is glyphosate can­cer-caus­ing, but there are other health prob­lems ap­pear­ing in much greater num­bers in ar­eas where this prod­uct is used.

When I wrote about this is­sue in my July 11th column I noted that glyphosate is likely in my morn­ing oat­meal. It seems farm­ers spray this prod­uct on their oats so the crop dries up and al­lows for an ear­lier har­vest. It has been noted glyphosate is now de­tected in a num­ber of pop­u­lar break­fast ce­re­als and bars that are favourites with chil­dren.

A re­cent ar­ti­cle in­di­cated our gov­ern­ment has given the go-ahead for the spray­ing of large amounts of for­est with Vi­sion Max to kill hard­wood and leave soft­wood stand­ing. I have also noted we ex­pe­ri­ence a fair amount of wind. I doubt that air­borne sub­stances stay within a spe­cific area.

I am won­der­ing if there might be some re­ally in­tel­li­gent, en­er­getic young peo­ple out there who would like to do a bit of re­search...and take a bit of ac­tion?

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