By Laurie Sattler
Esteemed Canadian artist and environmentalist Robert Bateman has thrown his support behind the concerned citizens of Mississippi Mills hoping to stop Enerdu Power Systems from expanding their facility in downtown Almonte. When he learned that Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, had endorsed the petition and offered assistance, he said, “Maude is one of my heroes! What can I do?” Bateman has now become signatory number 4,241 of the on-line petition. Several hundred others have signed paper petitions.
Robert recently founded the Robert Bateman Centre, which displays the largest collection of his work and encourages education and interaction with the natural world. This November he will participate with his friend David Suzuki in the Blue Dot tour, organized by Suzuki’s foundation. The tour features many other prominent Canadian activists, including Bruce Cockburn (Stop Enerdu signatory number 4186), Neil Young, and Margaret Atwood.
Bateman, a high school teacher for over twenty years, makes education a top priority. He says, “We must rebuild the child-nature connection … It is essential for healthy bodies, minds, spirits, and society.” Here in Almonte, generations of our children have enjoyed using the Mississippi River ‘bubble’ by the old CPR railway bridge as their local swimming hole, participating in exactly the type of healthy unstructured play that Bateman espouses. This privilege, along with fishing and boating in the nearby waters, would vanish forever if the new power plant and weir are imposed on our town.
For more information about Robert Bateman see http://robertbateman.ca/ and http://batemancentre.org. Also tickets for the Blue Dot tour event in Ottawa (Friday 17 October) can be obtained at http://bluedot.ca/. To add your name to the petition go to http://almonte.com/petition/.