- Our Town
Sacrificing for the greater good
To the Editor:
It requires courage to raise a lone, dissenting voice among the loud chorus of discontent for BC Ferries’ proposed service cuts to Bowen Island. It feels like throwing oneself into a pool of hungry sharks waiting, with jaws open, to gnarl any perspective which might put these cuts in a positive light. But I feel brave and compelled, as a Climate Justice activist, to offer my perspective that highlights opportunities rather than scarcity. You could also say I’m just acknowledging the elephant in the room when I remind us all that Bowen Island, with nearly hourly service every day of the week, has a carbon footprint which should make us feel embarrassed due to our enormous per capita contribution to climate change. It doesn’t matter if you are a person who stays on island six days a week or one who travels across the water every day. Collectively, we create this huge carbon footprint by our demand for almost unlimited options for travel.
As a dancer, not a statistician, I won’t bother speaking in exact numbers about how much carbon each sailing burns or how it compares with single occupancy vehicle traffic elsewhere in our region. I know in my bones that every time our ferry sails in order to maintain a voracious appetite for options, we as a community are demanding more than what is fair in this heating-up world.
When looked at differently, we can see this current proposal by BC Ferries as an opportunity to condense our community’s needs into less. Fewer sailings, fewer carbon emissions and less hypocrisy about the self-respecting global citizens we care to be. According to my read on Bowen Islanders, most of us hold a value system of living lightly on the Earth and here is our chance to align our values with our lifestyles. This is something to be thankful for.
I grew up with parents and grandparents who spoke of the sacrifices they made during the Second World War for the future of democracy. I thought I understood what that meant, but sacrifice is only understood when it is felt and now collectively we must begin to understand sacrifice. The ferry may be our lifeblood to the extra things we desire in our lives but we live on Bowen Island and we need to find ways to expect less and contribute more as global citizens.
The proposed ferry cuts will eliminate ski team practice for my child on Sundays. That will be our sacrifice for a better future so that we collectively have a healthy future to look forward to.