Maria Rose Lewans makes no apologies for the extreme environmental measures she is advocating for in her current run for municipal government.
Lewans is one of 18 candidates seeking a spot on Swift Current City Council, but she is again taking aim at the city needing to implement a series of societal changes in order to help save the planet.
“I see the problems we are facing as a society are quite serious and I think they really need to be addressed. I don’t think we are really looking at the big picture in society. And I really want to just bring that up until it kind of resonates with people and we decide that we’re actually going to tackle these big issues and get to the root causes of our problems and finally work on them instead of focussing on growth and a lot of superficial aspects of life,” Lewans said during a recent interview.
She is advocating for measures such the establishment of food forests and a seed bank to contribute to food security, a ban on cosmetic pesticide and lawn fertilizer use, rations on energy use, and a reduction of pavement in the city to keep it cooler in the summer.
“I think that’s what we need. There’s baby steps people talk about, but I think we’re beyond baby steps at this point in time. I do think we need radical changes, and I think they are completely possible.”
She feels the city needs to focus on a localized economy instead of a globalized economy.
“We’re focused on growth, but I don’t think a city solves problems by growing. I think you get more stuff swept under the carpet. You end up getting more problems.”
“And I think we have to be creative with the way we talk about jobs. Right now we’re so focused on industries that we don’t realize that Saskatchewan could use 5,000 more butchers. Why is a loaf of bread shipped into Swift Current. Can’t we have enough bakers in Swift Current. And I’m thinking about a more localized way of living and creating more of a small-town kind of simple life feel. Maybe if we focus on the jobs that need to be done, we could live a lot less stressful life.”
Lewans proposes these and other significant changes as she does not like the direction the city is heading.
“I don’t like it. I feel like there’s so much waste. You’ve got these fake rocks, you’ve got beautification projects that don’t make sense, renovations that are way over quoted and mostly unnecessary. And I see this real push for growth, and I think we are ignoring a lot of the social problems we have in this city that I don’t think are being addressed. I see a lot of money being spent on trying to sell ourselves to the world instead of trying to really create a healthy community. We’re trying to be a big city instead of being a community and that’s what really frustrates me.”
She fells the community should be more people focused, and people need to live their lives according to what kind of world they want to live in.
In the 2016 election Lewans ran for mayor and placed third with only 218 votes among 4819 ballots cast. She admits that running for council is still important, but she feels she could get her foot in the door as a member of city council first.
“I was originally going to run for mayor again because I’m kind of presenting a unique and very different opinion. But I also realized that maybe if I ran for council people would be more willing to give me a chance and I could help contribute with the other minds in our community.”
“I want to really focus on the quality of life and the quality of our environment. I think we need to be realistic about the course that we’re going in history because you don’t often realize you’re at a major point in history until a few hundred years later. So I think we need to recognize that we’re at a somewhat big point in history, and we can either hit us like a ton of bricks or we can prepare and really change the course of history.”