What should “green” mean?

When applied to the Garden City Lands, words like green and sustainability were drained of meaning by the applications to exclude the lands from the ALR. The applicants even called their planned dense development of farmland “Smart Growth” until Smart Growth BC wrote Richmond council to be clear it was not Smart Growth.

However, the goal of the Garden City Lands Coalition is to keep the lands green in the ALR for agricultural, ecological, and open-land park uses for community wellness. So we can’t just give up on green. Perhaps we can help restore its meaning instead.

Regardless of which vision(s) are implemented on the lands, I hope that they will be green with substance, not pretence. That could describe the reservoir lakes concept in the previous post. I wonder what else would be genuinely green? Some possibilities:

  • Use geothermal heating if there will be much need for heating, e.g., for greenhouses.
  • For needed structures, keep permanent foundations to a minimum.
  • If the old antenna-tower use left too much on the lands to allow fully organic farming, focus on organic practices (without worrying about certification).

The last time I particularly invited reader input was with the “Btk gypsy moth spraying” post, and the response was excellent—about twenty comments, including a great deal of informed insight. In that case, reasons for and against were useful. In this case, in contrast, it would be more useful to receive brainstorming ideas that are positive and concise.

Request: Briefly, in your vision, what is a favorite way to make the Garden City Lands green? (Please add it in a concise and positive comment below this post.)


  1. 1
    kewljim Says:

    Green means Green.. The Garden City Lands should stay in the ALR. This is the only way to protect them…..It is not complicated and l will continue to work to keep the lands GREENNN

    Carol DAY

    (This comment appeared today, attached to another post. Because of the timing, I’m pretty sure it was meant to be a comment on this post, so I’ve moved it.)

  2. 2

    Consider me naïve Jim, but my answer to this question is “as is”.

    I am sure no other answer can match the brevity of this response.

  3. 3
    Maciej Says:

    Another ecological concept that fits under the term green is the use of native species of plants in any type of landscaping or planting projects as opposed to using plant species from other regions. The advantage of native plant species is they help support native wildlife which sometimes depends on specific native plant species for its survival.

    The use of a broad number of different varieties of agricultural crops in agricultural projects, including heirloom seeds, also helps maintain agricultural biodiversity and help the ALR stay green. The perpetuation of many seed varieties is necessary due to the loss of many varieties globally because of a lack of their use. A high diversity of agricultural crops also helps decrease the susceptibility of the crops to pests and disease in turn reducing the need for the application of pesticides.

  4. 4
    Suzanna Says:

    The Garden City Lands provides a rare opportunity for citizens and visitors to experience Richmond’s true environmental personality.
    What was here before us? Wet and fertile land full of berries, birds, insects and mammals.

    My present vision for a ‘green’ Garden City Lands would be to leave most of it the way it is, but to provide opportunities for human participation. I imagine walkways (boardwalks?) and interpretive panels that share information about the plants and creatures living on the Lands. Richmond has great diversity and some trails already exist in the forests, sloughs, dykes. Paths through the Garden City Lands offer the opportunity to explore yet another characteristically Richmond-y setting.

  5. 5
    brunov25 Says:

    To me green has a spring quality to it: It implies enthusiasm, a youthful spirit, something to buzz about, something to want to emulate, replicate, and propagate. Early Richmond had a spring green quality to it.

    [That’s just an excerpt from Bruno’s comment. For the full comment, please see the new post titled “Back to the future of green.”]

  6. 6
    Michael Wolfe Says:

    It is green, but needs our help to restore its ecological integrity. I expect a multi-year restoration of the edible lands it once was, with wild areas for Bog Blueberry, Bog Cranberry and more.

    I took one of my grade nine classes to the Lands today.

    Our highlights included:
    _watching a bumblebee visit a patch of Bog Laurel in bloom.
    _tasting the wild Bog Cranberry
    _poking into a patch of Coyote scat
    _observing a rare Bog Spider hurry away
    _seeing Sphagnum Moss, many of us for the first time
    _lifting an “old redevelopment sign” to discover 3 small mammal holes
    _finding a gnarly little Shore Pine

    We’ll be back again tomorrow, and the next…

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