There is no ‘us and them’ – only ‘us’ says reader

To the Editor:

The snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and our area farmers are looking eagerly forward to cultivating and planting the fields.

Many of our local churches are observing Lent, a traditional season for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Lent is a time for doing without, eating less, praying more, giving and being considerate to others.  For our ancestors, who lived without modern conveniences, I’m sure it was particularly appropriate to observe Lent at this time of year, as food would have been scarce for many.  The winter store of root crops, sauerkraut and other pickled foods would be waning, and it would still be a number of long, cold weeks before the rhubarb, fiddleheads and other spring greens emerged.  For the few who had extra, their gifts of food and other resources might be just what a less fortunate family needed to make it through.

Thankfully, most of us today will be able to make it through these final days of winter with enough food and heat for our homes, but I find the season of Lent still especially poignant.  It’s a time to tighten our belts and open our wallets, and also a time to open our minds and our hearts.

When it comes to the proposed Deep Geological Repository in South Bruce, emotions tend to run high, and one can easily fall into the trap of choosing sides, and seeing “our side” as “good”, and “the other guys” as wrong or bad.  Call me naive, but I prefer to believe that most people are trying to do the right thing, with generally good intentions.  With that in mind, I’d like to offer a fresh perspective on some of the various competing viewpoints.

First, there are those who see the DGR as a threat to the quality of life in their rural neighbourhood.  It’s a great gift to be able to live on a back road in a quiet agricultural area, and a person could be forgiven for trying to defend that.

Secondly, there are those who legitimately believe that the DGR will be a threat to the environment.  Despite a lot of research indicating the DGR can be safely built and operated, there are still many questions to be answered, and many people worry about the potential impact.  I don’t think I could fault anyone for that.  I think most conscientious people want to do what they can to save the environment, myself included.

There are many in our community (like, I think, most of our South Bruce Council), who see the DGR as a means to economic prosperity and a higher standard of living, not for themselves, but for future generations of local residents.  This certainly seems like a noble and selfless goal.

Finally, there are those (and I count myself in this group), who see nuclear power as a vital and essential part of the fight against the clear and present threat of climate change. We want to do everything possible to ensure the future success of nuclear power, including finding a permanent solution to high-level nuclear waste.  I hope even ardent opponents of the DGR can respect that point of view.

In summary, this Lent, I invite my fellow South Bruce residents to give up any resentment, anger or disdain for those who hold contrary opinions, to open their minds and hearts, and consider that there are no “good and bad” sides to the discussion.  We have many different viewpoints, but there is no “us and them”.  There is only “us”, and we need to make a decision whether to host Canada’s DGR.  I would prefer to reach that decision through research, education and dialogue, however long it takes.

Tony Zettel
RR5 Mildmay