On becoming a localist

By Tom Read

Low tide reveals old pier posts made of African Mahogany at Shelter Point. Texada farmers cooperatively built the pier in 1913 to facilitate their exports of agricultural goods. Unfortunately, World War I turned many of the farmers into soldiers, and Texada's agricultural activity fell into a long decline.

Low tide reveals old pier posts made of African Mahogany at Shelter Point. Texada farmers cooperatively built the pier in 1913 to facilitate their exports of agricultural goods. Unfortunately, World War I turned many of the farmers into soldiers, and Texada's agricultural activity fell into a long decline.

Some people are nationalists, fervent embracers of flag and anthem; some folks are regionalists (think Alberta) and some of us have realized that we are localists. Yes, it’s a made-up word, but to me, “localist” best describes my political, economic and social loyalties. One of my favourite writers, Wendell Berry, once summed up the localist perspective with a seemingly simple sentence: “I stand for what I stand on.” In my case, the ground I stand on is Texada Island, and I stand for (am in favour of) what is best for this island and its residents.

Well-defined geographic boundaries make being a localist easier. Texada is surrounded by enough ocean that, by choice or necessity, we localists find ourselves meeting many of our needs on the island — especially in rough weather. Trips to Powell River or further afield cost us in time and money, so in the course of daily living we gradually compile a “Powell River list” of things to do or buy that are best addressed on the mainland. Then, about twice a month or so, we travel across the water, list in one hand and open wallet in the other.

Localists feel dismay when Texada suffers losses, such as when families leave the island seeking more diverse economic or educational opportunities, or when jobs here are filled by commuters coming from Powell River, or when corporations and governments impose urban-style regulations on our rural backwater. My pet peeve at the moment is Canada Post’s new requirement that I must show personal identification every time I pick up a package. I’m told by friends and neighbours who work at the post office that this new policy is somehow related to preventing terrorism. From a localist perspective it is an absurd policy for a rural island.

There’s a long-standing yearning for more local autonomy stirring within many Texadans, I suspect, but accepting our resource-colony status quo is, for now, the path of least resistance. Rather than despair about this situation, I find comfort in an old truism: “change is the only constant.” As the global economy contracts, as supplies of fossil fuels start to run down, as weather extremes hit harder year after year, the pace of change in the world, and on Texada, will accelerate. The need for living more locally will become increasingly obvious. That’s worth further thought, and a future post, on how our community might prepare itself.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “On becoming a localist”



  1. 1 Preparing for Triple-E « Slow Coast Trackback on March 6, 2009 at 02:07
  2. 2 And now we are one « Slow Coast Trackback on February 23, 2010 at 08:04
Comments are currently closed.



Post facto

February 2009
M T W T F S S
    Mar »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728  

RSS recent posts: dmitry orlov

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

slow tweets…

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Creative Commons License
The content of this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License.

%d bloggers like this: