Posted in New thinking

Neither Black nor White: shades of grey

08Feb18_goldIn Saturday’s Chronicle Herald, Bill Black wrote an opinion column “How can rural NS prosper without resource extraction ?” and Joan Baxter (White) wrote ” For rural residents, all that glitters is not gold”. This resulted in the following Letter to the Editor.

Black’s last paragraph states:

“Those who want strong rural communities, but want to abolish all mining and quarrying, marine-based salmon farms, oil and gas development, and paper mills are invited to explain how they imagine those communities can keep their young people and thrive.”

I accept the challenge, although I don’t see it as an either/or proposition. Those of us who live in rural communities seek to manage our landscape, without compromising its long term value.

In this corner of rural Nova Scotia, Annapolis County, we have recognized that the management of our natural resources can be achieved through the provision of high quality education and research. Last week, I was once again reminded of this fact when the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) and the Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG) hosted a two day workshop on three dimensional data; its collection, analysis and visualization. ( see my previous blog for a more detailed discussion,  or go to for the workshop agenda).

This type of alternative educational model can assist in the identification of rural economic development issues, supports rural communities, and offer technology/science solutions that can be exported world wide. It is not unique to this part of rural Nova Scotia. But it does require different thinking, away from the either/or approach as presented by Bill Black.”

I received a positive acknowledgement from the Chronicle Herald.

One further footnote related to the title of Joan Baxter’s piece. There are many ‘nuggets of gold ‘ out there in the rural landscape of Nova Scotia: individuals and groups, with wonderful stories, ideas and dreams.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the intellectual support, and technological savvy of Edward Wedler.


The Chronicle Herald. Saturday February 3, 2018 Page: E3

Bill Black. How can rural NS prosper without extraction?

Joan Baxter. For rural residents, all that glitters is not gold.


3 thoughts on “Neither Black nor White: shades of grey

  1. Living in any part of Canada outside the city states requires a new state of mind – I agree. “Hewers of wood and drawers of water” has been the slogan of our country for many years but now that more of our population “lives” in the urban areas, we who live in the boonies and still have our minds working and may even wish to make a living out here need to shift gears. A monumental shift but if we are to keep peopling our whole country, we need to rethink some things.


  2. Thanks Bob,

    As you might imagine I am very , very dark grey on this.

    Although, I hope that I can see your point of view clearly, and support it. There are many ways to peel an onion.

    I would enjoy a further discussion with you and Ed Wedler on this topic.

    I will be at home next Wednesday 14 February should you be available ~ 4 PM.


    John F. Wightman, M.Sc., FGAC, P.Eng. P.O. Box 485, 142 Granville Street Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, Canada B0S 1C0 Phone: 902-665-2521 Fax: 902-665-4232 Cell: 902-483-6616 E-mail:



    1. John: Feb. 14 th. is my birthday. Heather and I will be away celebrating. Home late on the 15th. Will reconnect after that date. I leave for England on the 26th. Bob Ps I appreciate that you would be dark grey.

      Sent from my iPad


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