Saving Niagara’s threatened landscapes

Niagara’s threatened landscapes will be one of the topics covered at the fourth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum at Pond Inlet on Saturday.


John Bacher

John Bacher, a founder of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS), will host a workshop called “Niagara’s Threatened Beautiful Landscapes”. Niagara is mosaic of natural landscapes, Bacher says, but it is being threatened by reckless development and urban sprawl.

Other workshop topics at the forum include:

  • Building Global Solidarity with Migrant Farm Workers in the Niagara Region
  • Food Sovereignty in the Global South: A Development and Peace Appeal
  • The Other Side of Consciousness: Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer Films
  • Naming Homelessness
  • Proper Shelter Saves Lives (Habitat for Humanity)

The plenary will be Six Miles Deep, a 2009 documentary by Sara Roque about the Haudenosaunee Women and the Six Nations/Caledonia conflict. The forum is free and no registration is required. For more details, visit the 2010 Niagara Social Justice Forum.

Bacher, a lifelong St. Catharines resident, has authored two books — Keeping to the Marketplace and Petrotyranny. He described to The Brock News why he’s participating this weekend.


Can you tell me a little about the workshop you’ll be leading?

This workshop is intended to address the threats to our beautiful landscapes in Niagara, and suggest ways that they can be protected and improved. Although there are terrible threats to our landscape, there are also inspiring examples of people working to protect them, and improve them through efforts such as reforestation and other ecological restoration projects.

How did you become interested in this issue?

I have been involved in this issue since a little child growing up in St. Catharines. Largely because I had parents who were concerned about protecting heritage and the environment, I soon became horrified at such things as the destruction of our unique fruit orchards, the destruction of our once beautiful tree-lined streets for road widening, and the demolition of once beautiful historic buildings.

Why is it important for the people of Niagara to educate themselves about this issue?

It is very important for people in Niagara to be concerned about this issue. Every time we leave the shelter of our homes, we are confronted with our landscape. It certainly makes me happier to live in beautiful surroundings, rather than ugly ones. There are also important environmental reasons to be concerned. Our fruit lands are the best place to grow fruit in North America- and will become more important for this purpose because of future climate change. With climate change, we need not only to protect our existing forests, but to expand them considerably, especially to save our streams from becoming sterile storm drains — either dangerously flooded or lifeless and dried up.

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