Telegraph Profile: Accidental Environmentalist Runs for Council
This week’s all-candidates’ meeting was a good introduction to the great majority of the candidates in this year’s Rossland civic elections. One candidate, however, was not present at the meeting.
“It was raining and I wasn’t about to drive eight blocks. And if I’d walked, I’d have got soaked and had to use the clothes dryer,” states 68 year old Lou Harmon who is running for councillor this fall. “And I wasn’t about to do that either.”
Harmon, a self-described ‘accidental environmentalist’, sticks to his green principles even when they hurt him politically. When asked what an accidental environmentalist is, Harmon adjusts his glasses and tilts his hat back on his forehead, ready with a reply.
“I never set out to be environmental, and that’s a fact. But then I lost my job at the mill and going green suddenly seemed like a pretty good option.”
At first, Harmon made small changes to his lifestyle, eschewing, for example, his annual trip to Florida’s Walt Disney World. After his EI benefits ran out, however, Harmon began to get serious about his conservation efforts. “Next the car went. I didn’t need it anyway. Then I stopped turning on the lights at night. Nighttime’s for sleeping, right? I can take care of my business pretty well during the day, I think.”
Despite his dedication to conservation work, Harmon didn’t realize he was a green activist until a fateful encounter on Columbia Street one sunny afternoon. “This young lady with that really chunky hair you see nowadays stopped me as I was looking for bottles in the trash, and she told me she’d seen me walking all around and how I was a role model for the planet. At first I figured she’d been smoking locoweed, but eventually I came around to her way of seeing things. Then her and her friends started telling me how I should run for council. And I went to a meeting or two and the chambers were warm and the work looked easy enough, talking mostly, and I thought ‘why not?'”
Sitting in his cabin high above Black Bear Road, Harmon pauses to reflect. “Even when I had a job, people said I was cheap. My wife said that when I wouldn’t let her buy a microwave oven back in ’78, before she walked out on me. Turns out she was wrong. They were all wrong. Turns out I was a lifestyle revolutionary all the time.”
Harmon leans back and smiles contentedly.
Note: In order to allow Harmon a proper forum for his views on government, the Telegraph will be running an exclusive interview with the candidate immediately prior to the November 15 elections.