Land, land, land. For the last 500 years, the dominant mindset has been trained to see land as something to be bought and sold, developed and capitalized on, privatized, not shared. For those privileged with the resources to do so, buying and owning land is an investment, a quick way to turn a buck, especially in ‘hot markets’ like Squamish. For others, owning land translates into a simple abode where one can build a home and create community.
Nowhere in the discourse do we hear words such as stolen land, ongoing colonialism, expansion, inequality or classism. Nowhere in the discourse are the words reciprocity, respect, responsibility or being in good relation with our human and non-human relations taken into account.
Instead, everything is determined at all cost by the driving force, our economic system, capitalism. Capitalism relies on the violent and unjust seizure of collectively owned resources through exploitation, expansion, and enslavement by the state and the elite. Its unsustainable nature and ensuing environment destruction is largely ignored. This is seen in modern day attempts of “green capitalism” such as carbon engineering and the pursuit of electric cars. To use the same capitalist system to mitigate the damage it has caused is, as Dr. Mordecai Ogada states, the height of hypocrisy and contradiction and are mere attempts to save us from changing our Western high-consumption lifestyle.
To return to land, when does the selling and developing stop? When the last tree has been cut, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned? When will we honestly acknowledge that what we need can not be bought: time, well-being, clean air, open space, community, belonging, a healthy environment, communal lands… These things are built out of love and respect, not greed. They are not created through the marketing of investors, selling (stolen) land, and “owning more shit”.
Municipal elections are near. Please choose wisely. The options are slim and democracy even broken, but voting is (just) one tool that we can use to help create equitable communities where quality of life is the focus and the well-being of human and non-humans is prioritized.