By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Members of Chatham-Kent’s ‘Raging Grannies’ movement are calling on elected officials to preserve nature and adopt a municipal tree-cutting bylaw.
A representative of the group, jokingly referred to as a “gaggle,” says a group will gather in Tecumseh Park Saturday to make their concerns known.
The event, running from 2-4 p.m., is being billed as a rally to save C-K forests to councillors and administrators to stop clear cutting and prevent deforestation.
“We want council to know we want our voices to be heard,” said the woman, using the pseudonym Rageen Granny.
“We want them to know we want them to implement a new bylaw.”
The municipality should use all the tools at its disposal, Rageen noted, including the continued application of the Natural Heritage Implementation Strategy.
Although she is commenting on behalf of the group, Rageen is quick to point out that the Raging Grannies has no hierarchy, no leaders, and is an international movement. Each so-called gaggle is autonomous.
Older women are often ignored, Rageen explained, adding the demographic faces sexism and ageism that “belittles our point of view as older women.”
Often older women are viewed as powerless and meek, she said, immersed in demure, grandmotherly activities.
“We defy them,” she added. “We parody those stereotypes.”
The movement’s stance is non-combative, Rageen noted, adding the Grannies use humour to get the point across.
“It’s a non-violent peaceful way to attract attention to an issue,” she said.
As for sharing their identities, Rageen said many of the women in the movement fear repercussions for publicly supporting a tree-cutting bylaw.
“People are afraid to speak out,” she explained, adding the issue has polarized Chatham-Kent, often pitting “neighbour against neighbour.” Rageen said protecting tree cover is more important than ever with the municipality having the lowest tree cover in all of Ontario at 3.5 per cent.
“We need to get the dialogue going so council will understand people out there are horrified at the state of forests in Chatham-Kent.
“We want council to implement the woodlot bylaw so we can save woodlots and forests.
“We’re going to come out and keep raging until they do.”