I have the pleasure of de-staging one of the lovely houses I was helping to sell this week, and the sky above me is so hazy, it seems as if I am at a campfire at dusk. I feel like I ate a fire sandwich and the back of my throat is burning. It is such a dichotomy to me as I pull the pretty pillows and art from the house and take them back to my real estate storage locker. More and more often, I question how I can balance the way the world is running with the job I do.
The price of real estate in Toronto is staggering and the lucky or blessed or helped by parents, that can buy a home here, are fewer than before. But… We do have a magnificent city that is beautiful and liberal and inclusive and open. Rental properties are expensive to rent here, especially in the parked and treed areas of the city. We have a new Mayor who came to power this week on the platform that she will help house the homeless and build better transit and tax the wealthiest among us. I have heard such rumblings… Dissent… Unhappiness from those who may be affected the most.
Olivia Chow only wants to increase property taxes for people who own properties that are assessed at more than 3 million and that amount graduates up until you reach 20 million. Anyone who has property under that amount will not see any significant changes under her plan. The average property in Toronto now hovers around the million dollar mark. If you had the good fortune to own a house that was worth over 3 million dollars, (and that is good fortune), would you not want to contribute to others who were close by but not so fortunate?
I spent the majority of my early years as an actor with literally two sticks to rub together and now I help people buy and sell real estate. So now I have more than two sticks… And the one thing I can tell you for sure is that it is far better to give than to receive.
It just is.
It’s undeniable and clearer to me by the day.
If I am one of the lucky who can afford a house in the core of the GTA, I can afford to pay more tax to help people get off the streets or have accessible healthcare or pay off their student debt. I just can, and it will make my life better and fuller at the same moment. It’s not altruistic. It’s the hard, cold facts of the way things work. The tighter we grasp the water in our hands the quicker it flows out and onto the ground.
Climate change is not a theory. We see the effects everyday with Quebec wildfires and rising sea levels and floods and land cyclones… Look out Dorothy! We must find ways to live democratically still, own property, pay our fair share and keep the earth healthy. I want my clients to get the most they can for their well cared-for and stunning houses. I want my clients to be able to afford the place they live in whatever that may be, a house, a condo or an apartment. It serves none of us to keep the coal fires burning even if we think the coal fires are the only way, or it has been the only job we know. We have to change and adapt or we all perish. If seas rise to cover the earth and we don’t know how to swim so we keep on walking… We will all drown. We have to adapt.
Let’s keep this city great. Let’s pay money for good things if we can. Let’s pay more if we have more. Let’s change how we treat the earth and the trees and each other and that will trickle down… A trickle down theory that actually works. Whatever we do to the least of us we do also to ourselves.
The question is… Is armageddon the destruction of the planet or is it the end of kindness? We have all seen enough disaster/zombie films to know that even in the very end of times when all is ash and burning, small acts of goodness often rise like a tidal wave and change the whole world.
I think we can’t despair.
If we can give, let’s give. If we need to take, please take.
I think the lifting of one raises all.