By Letter to the Editor on July 31, 2020.
Lethbridge citizens recently learned about misconduct by Lethbridge Police Service officers, who were trying to prevent the protection of the eastern slopes watershed and to enable harassment of environmental advocates. Chief Scott Woods released a statement in which he said he was satisfied that the officers were held accountable, by a reduction in rank.
No apology for the specific actions was forthcoming in this statement, nor any offer to follow up with the victims to see if further investigation is warranted. This highlights a prevailing local attitude backing environmental destruction that is disturbing. When authorities such as the LPS tolerate such activities with a wrist-slap, it gives the community at large the impression this is an attitude our leaders generally endorse.
The Lethbridge Herald is among the public entities responsible for encouraging anti-environment activism. The Herald has been known to publish editorials of climate denialism, such as on June 30, in spite of the scientific consensus that humans are causing catastrophic climate change. One has to wonder what reason the newspaper has for doing this. Are the publishers stockholders in fossil-fuel companies? Are they beholden to such companies for advertising dollars? Are the editors simply too lazy to Google the fact that 98 per cent of the world’s scientists agree on the causes of climate change or too irresponsible to care about promoting harmful practices?
Regardless of the reasons, the effects of this attitude are clear. Law enforcement officers are willing to abuse their power to intimidate and harass citizens. Our community fails to embrace opportunities to reduce fossil-fuel consumption and too many people don’t understand the pollution-based causes of catastrophic floods and hailstorms.
We must call out our civic leadership whenever they promote and excuse these dangerous actions and spread misinformation. Our community deserves to hear fact-based reporting and condemnation of activities that put the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
We also need to commend Shannon Phillips and the other members of the community that took the lead in crafting solutions to lead us to a more sustainable future. In our city, they shouldn’t have to fear retaliation for making such a contribution. These are the true leaders in our community. Let’s hope the rest of our leaders learn from them.