The power of young people
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?