A Mainstream Media Revelation in Mickey Dee’s

As I sat under the Golden Arches eating my McMuffin and drinking as good a cup of coffee as you can buy anywhere, at any price (I’m not into logos), I opened up a copy of the Vancouver Sun and thought I heard the faint sound of trumpets and horse’s hooves. I don’t usually read the Sun, or any mainstream newspaper but I had neglected to bring a book and needed something to go with the caffein and shift my brain into gear.

With all my usual sense of scorn for the corporate-owned-news, I scanned the headline – POLITICIAN SEEKS MASS CULL OF SNOW GEESE. Naturally, my immediate and gut reaction was that a mass cull of politicians would do far more good and cause less negative reaction, demonstrations and arrests. Better to save all the time and effort for more important issues. As I read on about the Richmond councillor’s reasoning, his statistical back-up became far too familiar – 1972, 20,000 snow geese, 10 years ago, 80,000, last year year 100,000, this year maybe 120,000 – OMG they’re multiplying like humans, maybe they DO need a drastic approach to population control.

My final conclusion on whether or not to goose the geese came from this line – “. . . the birds have become almost domesticated and are used to feeding inland. Walk into a flock of thousands of geese feeding in a field, he said, and they’ll open a pathway that will close in behind.” The possibility of a simple solution presented itself. If they want to be domesticated, make it so. Assuming that properly set cannon nets could trap a large number of the birds at one time with little risk of injury, they could then be transported to a licenced abattoir and become a sustainable part of local food production. Better than injuring many of them with pellets and alienating people who would otherwise benefit from some reasonably priced protein in their diet.

Next on the page was a story about a construction worker in Terrace who had won a $25,000,000 lottery and was giving it away to friends, neighbours, charities, whoever it gave him pleasure to share with; a personal Jubilee – Excellent!! I made a mental note to campaign for the exclusion of construction workers from any future mass cullings.

A smaller headline proclaimed “FOREIGN WORKERS POUR IN DESPITE PERSISTENT YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT”. This story would get me riled I figured, no matter which side of the argument the writer was touting. He wound up pretty much arguing for both sides, sometimes being Canadian is a pain in the ass, so it did pmo . . . twice (no, not Prime Minister’s Office).

Turn the page. The NDP have picked a dark horse candidate for the Vancouver-False Creek riding who describes himself as a “moderate, business-minded candidate.” Good, they’re still turning right and leaving the left for my friends to take ownership of. At the risk of sounding like a romantic – our day will come. OK, that may be a smidge obscure – “Our Day Will Come” was a #1 hit for Ruby and the Romantics in 1963. The candidate is also a math whiz and bemoans the decline in the high-tech industry in BC, in particular digital gaming. He says, “If you’re starting to export all your young people with good ideas, you’re heading for a fall.” Hold that thought to put into the context of the story below.

Skip the sports and go to Science. Headline: “GAME MODELS EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE” – woohoo, a story on one of the current unmentionable topics only 4 pages back from the front. I told you, “Our Day . . . ” – never mind. This is it, REVELATION (cue the trumpets and horse’s hooves), this is the story that pulls my whole brain-awakening together for this day. A UBC Prof. has developed a video game which he calls Future Delta which allows the gamer(s) to make municipal management decisions and see the future consequences taking into account the best available scientific data on Climate Change. Unfortunately, for The District Municipality of Delta ‘consequences’ will almost always mean resembling the mythical City of Atlantis.

But seriously, here is an idea which could truly change the world, or even lessen the need for world change if all those “. . . young people with good ideas” were to latch on and run with it. Not only could they use it as a learning/teaching/recreational tool, they could also expand it to work for any location and include up-dated best available data (from approved sources only) for current climate and future projections. I sincerely hope that this model is released as open-source to allow it to be worked on by the armies of open-source ‘hackers’ around the world who could make it into ‘The Next Big Thing’. In this case, corporate backing would obviously kill the usefulness of yet another valuable tool.

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Lest we forget . . . . . but maybe we already have

Before I begin, I want to say that I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who went to war in WWI, WWII and the other actions we remember on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, of each year. Those who stood up for their principles, took risks and made sacrifices, for many the ultimate sacrifice. I was lucky, my Dad came back.

I do remember a little about those sacrifices however. I spent the first 5 years of my life without a father and I remember the stress and fear my mother endured as he sailed the North Atlantic on convoy escort duty. I remember living in a rural area with no car, little money and a partially built house with few neighbours and no children within walking distance; a pretty sparse childhood although it didn’t seem so at the time. I also remember hearing about the horror of the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and going to bed every night for a decade or so wondering if the same thing might happen to us during the night. So I do not take writing about the great wars and the remembrance of them lightly.

While we continue to be faithful to the remembrance of wartime and those whose lives it changed and ended, we don’t seem to put the same kind of thought or effort into remembering what their wars were about and why they were willing to give their lives to prevail. Looking through an account of the advent of WWI, the reasons seem to boil down to Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarism and a few other “isms” all too familiar to us in the early 21st century. If we remembered the reasons and realized we were headed down an updated version of the same path, would we continue on? Almost certainly. But would that not be the ultimate dishonouring of the sacrifices made almost a century ago? What would the widows and orphaned children of the 16,000,000 killed in that effort have to say about the value of our remembrances?

It seems to me that for all those fathers, sons, brothers and uncles who joined up voluntarily to fight WWII the primary reason would have been to maintain a safe, happy and sustainable world for their families and descendants. So, how well has that worked out? Pretty well for half a century or so I would think.

Now, let’s look ahead and see what’s coming up for the next half century and beyond. In the context of the WWII world it was, and still is, easy to point to a concentration of evil in one person, Adolph Hitler, as the cause of the entire conflagration. With the exception of the celebrated Big Bang, reality has never been as simple as that. We are now at a point in the history of our species where ultimate power is being concentrated within another tiny group, euphemistically referred to as “The 1%”.

Where Hitler turned his lust for power on anyone who didn’t fit his mould of perfection and attempted to alter the face of humanity through murder and eugenics, this new group threatens to eliminate the species entirely (along with millions of others) through collateral damage to the biosphere caused by turning all the necessities of life into money, deposited to their accounts.

Often throughout my life this question would cross my mind – “What would life be like for me, at this point in time, if the “Allies” had lost WWII?” Part of one possibility might be glimpsed by reading this article although there is no way of connecting dots existing in so many dimensions. The article describes how Germany is making huge strides toward achieving 100% renewable energy, perhaps by 2050. Here’s a quote:

“This is a very American idea, . . . . . we got this from Jimmy Carter.”

“Germany adopted and continued Carter’s push for energy conservation while the U.S. abandoned further efforts. The death of an American [energy transformation] solidified when President Ronald Reagan ripped down the solar panels atop the White House that Carter had installed.”

World war II resulted in 60,000,000 deaths, those of “Allied” military personnel sacrificed for a just and sustainable world for future generations. We remember who, and perhaps how, but do we remember why?

Message from an Irrelevant Citizen to his Equally Irrelevant Government

Below is a piece of writing I sent out into the vacuum of Big Government Cyberspace one night in response to one of those incredibly earnest entreaties to “Write your MP while there is still time”. I weighed the relative merit of playing one more game of Freecell before going to bed against that of saving my country so that my great grandchildren might survive to grow as old and be as pissed off as I am and decided to “JUST DO IT”. If my elected officials (who, with one exception I consider to be irrelevant) don’t listen to me (who they definitely consider to be irrelevant), the missed game of Solitaire isn’t that big a loss anyway.

______________________________________________________________________________

I am writing to voice my opposition to the ratification of the Foreign
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) between Canada and
China. This treaty, and indeed all international agreements entered into
by government which limit future options for the citizens of Canada
requires full disclosure and debate in order for it to be legitimate,
regardless of legalities and the ideologies of the government of the
day.

As a result of these so-called “Trade Agreements” already entered into,
Canada has been made into just another mindless (and helpless) pawn in
the re-making of our global society into an instrument of extreme
injustice. This is much more than an injustice between people of
different circumstances and locations, this is an assault on our very
home, Earth. The global “Status Quo” economy of growth/consumption/waste
has resulted in massive over-population and the degradation of the
biosphere to a level that may already be irreversible . . . but we still
have to try.

If we wish to have our species survive long enough for the seventh
generation to experience life on Earth, a minimum start will be to scale
down fossil fuel use to essentially zero within the lifetime of those
now living and the cavalier attitude of both governments and corporate
structures must turn around 180 degrees immediately. More “Trade
Agreements”, more “Growth” and more “Status Quo” will seal the doom of
our species as surely as it is sealing the doom of a multitude of other
species even as you read this.

It is well documented that the building, operation and maintenance of
infrastructure to transition Canada away from fossil fuels and into the
future (where fossil fuels will obviously not be available at any cost)
would provide far more and better jobs for Canadians than any growth or
continuance of fossil fuel extraction, processing, transport and use.
This factor, as well as the environmental and social costs and benefits
must be brought into the discussion for a proper understanding of the
alternatives.

Collision With a Slow Moving Asteroid

I just watched an end-of-the-world movie. This particular one was an asteroid collision with a few weeks notice. Suicides,  a love interest, atonement, riots, orgies, all the usual things that happen just before the world ends. There were also references to keeping the status quo including the news anchor signing off a few hours before impact and reminding the audience to turn their clocks back as daylight saving time was ending.

Then, the movie ended with a flashbang and it was back to reality and the slow-mo version of the apocalypse with an ending that could be every bit as catastrophic but spread over generations of human suffering instead of weeks of debauchery.

If, instead of climate change we were facing an asteroid collision, discovered but not yet publicized,  would governments and corporate owned media be trying to silence scientists and covering up the impending disaster so another trade agreement could be signed, investors could be given a window in which to adjust their portfolios and environmental laws could be revoked so that mining stocks would jump . . . and would the markets stay open late on doomsday to optimize profits?

Blissful or Wilful, Ignorance is Dangerous

In most, if not all, civil nations there is a law under which people can be convicted for “Failing to provide the necessities of life” or something very like it. Prosecutions under such a law would often be against those whom the law saw as responsible for human beings such as babies, disabled persons and the elderly who are not capable of providing for themselves.

What perverse logic demands, under penalty of law, that we provide for a minority of compromised individuals who currently live in our society, something that would be done in most cases without question; but demands nothing of those in positions of responsibility who willingly refuse to make provisions for the continuance of the necessities of life for our entire species in the not-too-distant future? The making of profits by those who need them not one whit now takes precedence over efforts to protect the biosphere and the people who live in inter-dependence with it. And why? Because those wealthy investors and the public figures they control with that wealth preach the insane gospel of eternal growth to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else and everything on Earth outside their castle gates.

As the realization that this destructive and unsustainable way of life cannot continue slowly spreads through the populace, all recourse to make change is being removed by the political puppets in order to prevent legal challenges to their corporate masters. Failing removal of the cancerous corporate/political elements now prevalent in the industrialized world, I see only two possible outcomes of this situation in the medium to long term; species suicide through acquiescence, or armed revolution.

In Canada, our government has taken our country from being a respected supporter and keeper of peace to an ugly collaborator in war-making. Efforts now being carried on to build and maintain the Canadian military are those of an aggressor and could easily be turned on previously friendly nations or even Canadian citizens if those in power detected dissent beyond the instantly adjustable boundaries they were willing to allow.

As this is written, those corporate/political elements within Canada are signing treaties and enacting laws in private and without debate to enlist the governments and business interests of foreign nations if required in a fight against the Canadian people and their country. Democracy, justice, sovereignty and common decency have been sold for a few years of profit for the already filthy rich.

Lies, half-truths, hidden agendas and secrecy are now the norm in government and corporate-owned news media and the majority of people still seem to be blissfully and wilfully ignorant of what is going on in their country or the wider world. We may already have passed the point of no return with some of the positive feedback loops of climate change and a number of the indicators are triggering earlier and with greater effect than predicted by any of the computer models. While no single weather event can be positively attributed to climate change, it makes sense to open the discussion in order to have people thinking about what lifestyle changes might be required. If any more proof of wilful ignorance is required, think about the two points below:

– one survey showed that in 94 US news stories about Hurricane Sandy prior to its making landfall, exactly zero mentioned climate change or even extreme weather

– in all the flash-and-dash, thunder-and-lightning of the US presidential debates and speeches, climate change was never mentioned by either camp nor the debate moderators