News Local

Cobourg supports Blue Dot ideals

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


Bruce Bellaire and Tony Shea want Cobourg to become Northumberland’s first Blue Dot community.

Making the appeal to council at this week’s committee-of-the-whole session, they described the Blue Dot Movement that began in the fall of 2014 as a grass-roots initiative inspired by Dr. David Suzuki.

And its name comes from the way the planet looks from space, Bellaire explained.

“We only have the one planet.”

Suzuki is pursuing the goal of having the right to a healthy environment codified in law as a human right. As Suzuki said, “What’s more important than the right to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat healthy food?”

In response, more than 150 Canadian municipalities have issued declarations in support of their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. They hope provinces will eventually draft their own environmental bills of rights. And within five years, they hope the Federal government will amend the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms to entrench the right to a health environment — “namely, access to clean air, fresh water, healthy food, nature, information about local pollutants, and the right to participate in environmental decision making,” the presentation said.

Figures they presented indicated that pollution costs Canada more than $100-billion a year, and that half of all Canadians live in areas where they are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.

The municipal declaration they request Cobourg to make is not binding, not a legal agreement, but a statement of principle, Shea said.

“It’s pretty hard to argue with safe air and water and good food,” Mayor Gil Brocanier responded.

Council voted to refer their presentation to staff and have them draft a declaration.