Bayer Just Never Quits :(

A petition to sign (see below):

Europe has had the courage to place a moratorium on neonicotinic pesticides since many scientists suspect that the widespread use of these toxins seems to have the world’s bees dropping, er, like flies. Bayer is, like a good, immortal “corporate person,” suing the pants off Europe for placing insects, pollination and the long term health of the biosphere above Bayer’s somewhat narrower goals. Continue reading

“Opportunity” For A Concerted Assault on Our Liberties?

This wide-ranging, timely yet historical, superbly researched and linked article from FreeThePressCanada on the way our freedoms are being severely reduced scared the crap out of even cynical, septuagenarian, constipated ol’ me.

Lots of interesting puzzles about recent news events, precipitated, perhaps, by puzzling irregularities in Canadian and/or US media coverage of the killings in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa. Lots of background information on the ongoing interference with our media and our liberties in general is also presented.

Anyway, just to whet your appetite, the article points out downright unethical revision (replacement, almost) of a Toronto Star article on the Quebec car killing – the article was taken down and rewritten without “error” notices. The revisions removed witness testimony that Rouleau came out with his hands up! It also mentions the US media knowing the name of the Ottawa shooter while curious Canadian reporters were shouted at by soldiers pointing guns to get out or move – even off the roof of the Chateau Laurier. Tweet machine Kady O’Malley being one of those reporters.

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All highly unusual.

They’re Playing Our Charade… Again

I have not been following the tragic Ottawa shooting closely for various reasons. Mainly in an effort to preserve my equilibrium: Mansbridge and Solomon both have always impressed me as ratings/prestige/salary-driven lackeys of the new CBC TV aimed to keep us at an “elementary school” level of political awareness while, at the same time, thinking we’re clever. I focus on the terrific, enlightened stuff that CBC Radio still is permitted to produce.
The little TV news that I do catch in passing by the family room archway just confirms to the growing, hardening plaque in my attitude-arteries that our “democracy” is a Matrix-styled dream that we are kept in by very clever theatre.
The cynic in me says that Harper will seize this sad “opportunity” to paint the opposition as “lily-livered liberals” on security, build more physical and intellectual prisons, and, just possibly…, call an early election in the hope of scrounging
“four more years.”
Oh, and if you think I am tough on Stephen Harper, read this by John McMurtry, author and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph. OMG!

Be

October Sky

October Sky

Be

Dance the one; sing into life

Beautiful, bright notes

Gentler, simpler, wiser – be

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In Hindi, the words Vasudhaiva Kutumbam mean “Earth Family,” the democracy of all life.

(Quoted from Vandana Shiva’s Restoring the Earth in David Suzuki’s 1997 book, The Sacred Balance.) I thought of using Earth Family as a title for the poem, but reduced it to “Be.” For more on Vandana Shiva see the end of this post.

How to live? How to be?

I wrote lines one and three of the above haiku on a plane, after making notes on Suzuki’s book. The sky just before sunset on October 18th was spectacular looking West in the late afternoon from the Caribbean Airlines plane bringing us back from a family funeral.

By flying return to Trinidad, about 4055 km (2535 miles) one way, the two of us together “caused” about  5 tonnes of carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. 2.5 tonnes each. That’s enough CO2 to grow about 23, 500 tonnes of potatoes – if that helps you understand the impact that modern travel has on global warming and highlight the difficult ethical choices which, if not faced right now, will produce  much global suffering in the not too distant future. It will take some fortunate gardener working for a long while to turn that amount of gas into potatoes. These CO2 numbers are based on information from www.deliveringdata.com.

Something about turning 70 today makes me reflect more intensely on big issues.Thinking about the world I’m leaving for my grandchildren – not that I’m planning to resign anytime soon…

As promised, I have done more thinking about Décroissance. It is definitely going to be a while as I grow in awareness and commitment. But here goes:

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Loopy, Contagious Feedback

Cannot help thinking that tumors like ISIS are symptoms that have erupted from a much broader illness that has invaded the body of Mother Earth, whose nation-state “organs” are competing with each other for the scarcities: energy (nutrition), and water. That is, methinks, what these wars are really about and the cyclical feedback provided by each organ’s response amplifies the “other” instead of starving it.

Hatred for the actions of the drone-wielding US and the fundamentalist swaggerer Harper must play some part in this sort of horror. Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, who has experienced extreme Taliban misogynistic cruelty, has the balance to see both sides of this sick situation and the courage to speak truth to power. More bombs and beheadings are not going to help in the long run.

Recently it came to me that the 2003 self-sacrifice of Rachel Corrie, killed by an armoured Israeli IDF bulldozer when she stood between it and a Palestinian home in Rafah, Gaza, and the twisted radicalized killers we see now here and in the Middle East are yin/yang symptoms of the same, fundamental, compulsive, societal psychopathy.

One destructive (perhaps irresistible?) response directed heroically inward, one outward. Both are cellular actors in extreme moral agony.

Saint Francis – Waaay Back Then

St. Francis Window at St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church - Brampton, Ontario

St. Francis Window at St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church – Brampton, Ontario

Canticle of Brother Sun

Saint Francis of Assisi

1224

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.

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Even a non-theist like me can appreciate the essential insight and thanks in this poem from the thirteenth century by the one whom I consider to be the first environmentalist – and a fellow Camino Santiago pilgrim!  I left the stanza on Bodily Death in (save for one line) because, religious or not,  we should all care about how we live while we are sharing this place and prepare for a departure eased – made joyful, even – by the sense that we have cared about our “Brothers” and “Sisters” on whom we depend and who, in turn, depend on our faithfulness to all life.

I found it (while looking for something else for a future blog) in my well-thumbed, autographed, copy of David Suzuki’s great 1997 book written with Amanda McConnell, The Sacred Balance.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

 

La Mouvement Décroissance

Unsustainable is a word that must explode, not creep, into our everyday vocabulary. Our economies, as they currently are measured, cannot continue to grow.

I chose décroissance over degrowth for the title because the French word hints at the verb décroireto disbelieve. This is important because, for the concept, it is necessary for one to disbelieve in the current capitalist model that demands growth as its life blood. On both sides of the Atlantic, those who pretend to lead in the great drama of politics extol economic growth as the basis of national success and happiness. Growth is measured by an outdated parameter called Gross Domestic Product, a measure that does not care how the jobs and productivity are created. The classic example of its failure is that, from the aspect of GDP, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill off the Alaska coast in 1989 was a “success.”

David Suzuki, who, based on a 2004 CBC poll, is considered the 5th greatest Canadian ever and, by a process of biotic elimination, the greatest living Canadian, has, since the 1980’s, been a high-profile advocate for reducing our impact on the environment. Thanks to Suzuki and other caring thinkers, many now kind of “get” the fact that we in “The West” pamper ourselves by using up precious resources in obscene amounts to provide very special goods and services. We consume too much of everything (energy, minerals, meat, fish, forests, chemicals, drugs and yes, even health care) and have grown to believe that these relative luxuries are things to which we in the West are entitled.This “entitled” feeling battles with the growing guilt and, if we are honest about it, usually wins.

From David Suzuki's hand to mine...

From David Suzuki’s hand to mine…

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