We shall fight near the beaches, we shall fight in the fields and by the streets. We shall never surrender!
— with apologies to Winston Churchill
There’s not much you can do to stop a hurricane. The best you can hope for is to hang on and hope you get through it.
You can’t do much about a drought, either. If there are surpluses elsewhere that can be brought in, great, but otherwise, you just have to hope you can muddle your way through to the other side.
Those are just the big boys of environmental threats, but there are many others and most of them are also pretty big and very scary — hard to tackle, by yourself or in a group.
Faced with such challenges, it’s easy to feel powerless.
Our governments are no help. Firmly ensconced in the pockets of the very interests that are destroying our world, they have proven themselves worse than useless.
But you know what? Despite all this, I don’t feel powerless at all and there’s a reason for that.
I’m not just holding on any more. I’m fighting back.
Now, before someone calls in the anti-terrorist squad to whisk me off to Syria for torture, let’s be clear. I’m no Weibo Ludwig or Squamish Five. I’m not fighting back with bullets or bombs, airplanes or suspicious white powder.
I’m doing it with just an old set of loppers — and I’m winning.
Well, we’re winning, actually. I’m just one of a growing number of people who have decided to do their little bit to help the environment by rolling up their sleeves and getting out to the side of the highway with Joanne Sales and Broombusters to take on the invasive Scotch broom plague that is sweeping our beautiful island.
I just do a little bit, joining a cut here or there for a couple of hours at a time. In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty small change. But you know what? When you get some enormous yellow monster in the grip of your loppers and you bite down hard and bring the whole thing crashing down in sap-soaked victory, it’s really quite empowering.
Take that! Hiyah!
Right now, Broombusters is gearing up again to go over the top and take on the enemy, head-on in the spring cut.
They know that if you cut it close to the base when the plant’s energy is concentrated in the flowers, it’s far more likely to die. As they put it, cut broom in bloom.
They could use some help. At the very least they would be heartened by a friendly honk as you drive by, but why not give it a try yourself?
It’s physical work but it’s not complicated. Joanne and her team would be delighted to show you what you need to do and where you need to do it.
It’s great exercise and even better than that, it’s great for the soul. Every field cleared is a hard-fought victory and that victory — take it from me — really does give you a feeling that no, you’re not powerless after all.
And that’s priceless.
Visit http://www.broombusters.org for more details.
Neil Horner is the assistant editor of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News and a regular NEWS columnist.