Fridays For Future – Toronto

 

For humans to have a future on Earth we must urgently make some complicated  choices to stop our fouling of the delicate biosphere, which we carelessly “nest” in and share with other living things from the tiniest to the huge.

Speakers we listened to yesterday were mostly young people. They came from across Canada and the Lakota were with us from the U.S.A. Many speakers were indigenous. A lot of chi miigwetches (“big thank yous” in Ojibwa) were heard.

Some speakers at Friday’s “Strike” were a little naïve in statements that listed a whole bunch of things that apparently can and must all be done. Many hard trade offs will have to be made. There will be winners and losers. But we adults had given up trying to stop abusing the planet and have been asleep for decades while the rug was gradually pulled out from under the democratic system. It has happened on our distracted, gadget-smothered watch. We’ve spent way too much time managing our complicated, mostly electronic, “toys.”

While we’ve fiddled like a famous Roman Emperor, our planet has caught fire.

And household recycling, for instance, has become a farcical, shallow, population-fooling exercise. Our cities are afraid to admit how much has been spent on those opaque plastic bins and huge, blind, job-cutting trucks that carry so many “recyclables” that are, by design or circumstance, non-recyclable eventually to dumps. Instead of dealing with the problem, we have used fossil fuels to transport our garbage across oceans to poor countries destitute and/or corrupt enough to accept it.

Single-use plastics, happily not used by those at the Climate Strike for drinks, must be eliminated, not taxed. Our tap water is drinkable, yet Nestlés is raping underground and pristine lake water in both wealthy and poor, thirsty settlements worldwide to put environmentally under-priced water, plain or profitably flavoured and coloured by that corporation, into single-use bottles! Council of Canadians is trying very hard to fight this here. This is a great, doable start.

Anyone who has been in a hospital has seen the mountains of efficient, but polluting, throw-away plastic packages that keep throw-away, plastic-plus-metal medical syringes and other tools sterile. Eliminating these will not help to make or keep free health care for all easy to maintain. Finding our way through complex environmental and economic issues will not be as easy as expressing our goals in attractive slogans. But somehow we must change fast.

One thing Greta Thunberg is right about is that we need awareness, political protest and real sacrifice for these hoped-for changes to become reality. The handful of families that control the world by dominating our Cabinets, Prime Ministers and Presidents can no longer be resisted simply by voting. Humans are becoming glamorous turkeys – just one more exploitable farmyard resource.

So we quickly need to learn to use our backbones and our legs.

Internet Kudos and Bozos in Sicily & Malta

This is a random post just because, exhausted after two great but hectic weeks, I feel like it:

Three places that stood out regarding Internet friendliness and simplicity during three-night stays this month:

Great:

Maison Ortigia in Siracusa, Sicily

Radisson Blu near Valletta, Malta

Bad:

Best Western  Ai Cavalieri Hotel in Palermo, Sicily

Despicably bad reception in the hotel’s new section, but the staff will keep you in the dark for days playing with a plethora of passwords.

There, I’ve got that off my chest.

 

 

 

 

Defending a Masterpiece

I have noticed over the years a shrinking of the best classics in English and French on Brampton’s library shelves. This has concerned me because I have slowly come to appreciate some of the truly great books and authors in the history of literature.
The most inspiring source of my literary “dabbling” in the past two decades has been Eleanor Wachtel’s amazing literary interviews on CBC Radio in her Sunday afternoon program, Writers and Company. She is, I think, the best literary interviewer on the Planet.
What took me by surprise in May was the shrinking of of the library’s adult French section. This is because I was looking for Madame Bovary in French, as a result of Wachtel’s interview with Karl Ove Knausgaard, the brilliant Norwegian, who described Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary as his “favourite book of all time.”
I wanted to borrow the original French version. (I thought I would respect the years Flaubert put in to meticulously completing, in 1857, his first and most famous novel that changed literature forever.)
The librarian could not find the adult French section. I located it by accident in June.
She did check on the computer and said Madame Bovary was not in any of the library branches of this city of over half a million people.
And I’m shocked that Wikipedia’s article on Brampton does not even contain the word, “French.”
I, an anglophone of French/English/Irish descent raised in Montreal, with no “axe” to grind, am saddened to see this, and to find that nowhere in any Brampton’s eight libraries did a version of this first modern novel ever written exist in French.
So I requested it in French and waited until May 23 when it was delivered from the library in Acton, Ontario, population 9500, now amalgamated into the Town of Halton Hills.
French is not my first language and I spent the first three weeks getting through Thierry Laget’s brilliant preface, while listing listing the many words I had to look up. Then I noticed that, having been borrowed from another district, it was not renewable. I brought the book back on its due date and was again helped wonderfully by the person who served me. She renewed it on her own initiative for a week.
The Brampton Library has agreed to add more true classics like this to their shelves.
You can purchase the book and support Toronto’s Librairie Mosaïque  here.
This unique, deep, and shining masterpiece should be widely available across Canada and the world.
*********
I now own the Thierry Laget paperback edition and will treasure it always.

Yayoi Kusama – Infinity Mirrors

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Up close with an iPad, composition can be tricky…

Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition, her first in 20 years, was a quick 30 s  (her concept) in half a dozen small rooms that used mirrors and light to create a startling sense of infinity. This is part of one of the external presentations. I didn’t have much time to compose this, but am happy with the result.

I’ve realized in the past few years that, with experience, composition becomes instinctual. A visual seventh  sense that does not require a processing of all the rules.

 

 

Four Photos – A “Guide Map”

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Courtesy of @ArtPicsChannel

I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.

Vincent Van Gogh

 

I am going to try to spend much less time on exposing what I consider to be the crimes of our wealth-dominated Mother Earth. It is starting to take over way too much of my life and is having no noticeable effect other than to piss off the majority of those close to me.

I will be able to spend much more of my time time on  family, musical performance, visiting the sick and imprisoned, reading and tai chi.

But, before metamorphosis takes over, Continue reading “Four Photos – A “Guide Map””

Learning to “Struggle It Out” in Jackson

Poor, black US citizens are among the world’s many suffering canaries in the coal mine of unfettered-Capitalism, that unsustainable pursuit, having finally disempowered all of us except for the “point0-0-whatever%” that threatens to take the 99.99whatever% down the road to starvation, widespread war and extinction.

Chris Hedges interviews a rare sort of leader, Kali Akuno, a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a recent movement of poor, black citizens in Mississippi’s capital, Jackson.

Amy Goodman’s interview on Democracy Now with Akuno on the topic: Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination, in December last year, is excellent as well, especially for its inclusion of an appraisal of ultra-right Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and President Donald Trump. Akuno here points out a new white supremacy initiative building in America.

Under attack by a new city gentrification initiative that will eventually drive them off the land on which they currently eke out their humble, desperate existence,  Cooperation Jackson is  a movement started by Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson until his death on Feb. 25, 2014. Akuno was his Director of Special Projects and External Funding.

This movement is a fascinating phenomenon that uses many of the potentially planet-saving Décroissance concepts being tried in different places I described in my October 2014 post, La Movement Décroissance. The French word Décroissance, uniquely combines the concept of degrowth with that of stopping believing in the way the current money-based system works. In Cerbère in Southern France and the Barcelona area, small communities have been established that:

  • Eat locally – and mostly plants
  • Squat
  • Disobey strategically some of the System’s “precepts”
  • Borrow, barter and time-trade, reducing dependence on money

The key objectives of Akuno’s movement outlined in his interview with Chris Hedges are excitingly similar: Continue reading “Learning to “Struggle It Out” in Jackson”

Appreciating a Child, and her Eye

A simple thing is often missed.

Look at this photo for a little while…

This is our unspectacular, slightly wonky, 33 year old chandelier, an upgrade done by the previous owners of our place. They bought the house, new in 1984, and sold to us in 1985 for a handsome profit. We chose this place because it backs onto a narrow, forested park through which a gentle stream flows and warblers, hummingbirds and Monarch (what’s left of them) butterflies migrate every spring and fall. The central staircase made us go oohh, ahhh when our agent and friend took us through. Sold!

Anyway, this is about stuff we 70 somethings learn to take for granted until a grandchild shows us how she observes her much newer world.

This past Christmas our M, just turned 4, a frequent visitor all the way from Ann Arbor, Michigan said:

Papa, one of the lights in your chandelier is not on. 

Did you notice it? It’s obvious now, isn’t it?

She and her mom stayed from December 23rd until January 7th. They love to visit. We love to have them.

It is now March whatever and Papa has still not replaced the bulb. There is no excuse for this neglect. I have spares in the unfinished section of the basement, hanging in a plastic shopping bag on a simple nail beside my wooden, homemade workbench.

Think I’ll go and change it now… before their next visit…