Dear Editor:

When you think of registered charities, you think of food banks, community living groups, church operations and other well-intentioned groups. There are also well-known environmental or social watchdogs that operate as registered charities but their activities are not always of a charitable nature.

Many of these well-organized and connected environmental groups use their charitable status to raise funds that are then used to apply political pressure on local governments in support of special interests. Very often the message of these special interests dominates the local political landscape. A diverse group with representation from the Kootenays has been formed to ensure that balance is returned to discussions on these issues that impact our region and our families: ThinkTwice.

Our goal is to bring balance to discussions regarding important topics and ensure that facts and science will trump fear and emotion in decisions that affect us all. ThinkTwices mission is to bring common sense back into the debate leading to decisions about the environment and our economy at the local and provincial levels.

Municipal and provincial politicians are continually pressured by special interest groups and non-governmental organizations which try and create a world based on their perceptions and ideologies.

There is factual, science-based information that counters many of the popular themes touted by environmentalists and preservationists. We are constantly bombarded with messages about climate change, toxins in the environment, habitat destruction and species on the brink of extinction, and while we acknowledge these topics are important it is also our belief that currently only one side of the story is being told.

In the coming months you will read letters from us about specific topics that will no doubt bring jeers and cheers from both sides of the issue. ThinkTwice believes our environment and our economy are vitally important to us all and we can all benefit from a little balance. We just need to ThinkTwice and consider all of the facts to make appropriate decisions.

Paul Visentin, Cranbrook