All Of The Below

Flower with pollinator
Flower with solitary pollinator
Where to begin??? With the photo, I guess. The above “slightly macro” photo was taken in “Our Woods” (see categories) with my Tamron 90 mm macro lens on Oct. 15. 1/400 sec, f 6.3, ISO 100.
‘Nuff said there.
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But… the bee made me think about endangered species and then about “just about everything else that ticks me off” resulting, from time to time, in petitioning, ranting, raving, using cuss words, reading, blogging, occasionally marching and chanting, even singing à la Bob Dillon or Pete Seeger.
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I have recently learned through sumofus.org (and follow-up digging) how the chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta have recently launched a lawsuit against Europe for placing a moratorium on the use of their neonicotinoid pesticides because there is evidence that they are responsible for the decline in the bee population. The site, sumofus.org, has a petition we can sign against this lawsuit.
Stephen Harper, our Prime Dictator (er, Prime Minister), who rules with temporary absolute power in our backwater, soon to be blackwater, corporate colony named Canada, recently shut down our parliament for the third time. This time to avoid criticism for his Conservative Party’s corruption, mismanagement and election fraud (sound like Guatemala or El Salvador?). Shortly after reopening our lacklustre legislative body, he buggered off last week to Europe to be the co-star in a big splash photo-op: the signing of a memorandum of understanding on a new, huge, secret “Free” Trade deal with the European Community. It’s called CETA.
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Now it seems to me, after watching Canada get it’s ass gratuitously sued by foreign corporations over and over again since 1997 under the NAFTA with the US and Mexico, that we do NOT want another secret trade deal that is officially with countries but unofficially with the corporations that control the political leaders. You know it. I know it. Why do we voters let it happen? (Insert cuss word of your choice) While your petitioning appetite is whetted, why not sign this one on the secret Trans Pacific Partnership Harper is anxious to sign up for.
Before we can say “Mike Duffy” Harper will have us tied up in so many politically-paralyzing trade deals that we will become a true colony of the worldwide super-wealthy
with no control over our water, our fish, our resources, our climate, our land… Serfs subject to a plenitude of corporate lawsuits if we even try to live sustainably. To be fair, we don’t yet really try to reduce our bloody footprints, so this may not be relevant. Continue reading “All Of The Below”

Open Letter To Justin Trudeau: “L’heure est venue, si t’as compris.”

Justin Trudeau writes, in a contribution-soliciting email that I received today:

It’s time to turn the page on seven years of Conservative policies that have left too many Canadians behind. Together, we can build a strong middle class and grow our economy so that everyone can share in Canada’s prosperity.

It is well-known by now that growth as we know it is unsustainable. I hope you will speak honestly with Canadians about this reality when the time (hopefully) comes for you, Tom Mulcair and Elizabeth May to be the next government. You have a powerful team there. I hope change comes before it’s too late.

I’m sure you realize that it is irresponsible to grow our economy at all costs. We need to make this limitation clear to all classes of Canadians and come up with a plan that conserves the things without which life itself is unsustainable: our air, soil water and our interconnected biodiversity – the disrespected, often invisible, things upon which all life depends.

I am very concerned that we will not make it to the next election without Harper having signed secretly-negotiated trade agreements that will limit our ability to protect our environment and our health. Even NAFTA needs to be amended to remove the restrictive parts of its Chapter 11, which give American and Mexican corporations the right to sue Canada for lost future profits if we bring in a law to protect our environment, for example, and that law has a negative impact on their revenues. In one classic NAFTA case in 1997, Canada had determined that a gasoline additive made by Ethyl Corporation was a potential carcinogen. This chemical, MMT, was banned in the United States. It was only used in Canada! Canada removed MMT from our gasoline. Ethyl Corporation was entitled under NAFTA’s Chapter 11 to sue for “future profits” – $251 million dollars. Canada, faced with a very expensive lawsuit that we might lose, settled out of court. Canadian taxpayers paid millions to the American corporation and permitted the additive to be used. This is just one example.

No one in Parliament looks ahead seven generations when making a decision as our native peoples used to do.

By the time the next election rolls around the destructive laws contained in huge un-debatable omnibus bills that attack our native peoples on numerous fronts may be un fait accompli. Our First Nations’ genuine rights to treaty and unceded lands (disrespected by us settlers for centuries) may be our collective last defence against pipelines and the permanent, polluting destruction wreaked by  largely foreign resource extraction corporations, whose “moccasins” have never walked our forests. In fact, corporations, though they don’t even have feet, and are, unlike us humans, immortal, have – and this must change – all the rights of a human being and then some! These powerful, ruinous rights, called “Legal Personality” or “Corporate Personhood,” must be quickly taken away. I hope you, Tom and Elizabeth will make this a priority.

It is a sad reflection on Canadian stewardship when millions of hectares of land, water and trees are surrendered to foreign corporations. The profits from these destructive activities don’t even stay in Canada; they are spirited out by means of transfer pricing, a sinister tool by which corporations avoid paying taxes owed to the country whose resources they are exploiting.

If, by sheer good fortune, the powerful, hugely punitive trade deals like CETA and the TPP agreement have failed to be passed before the 2015 election, I call on you to defend the rights of our native peoples and all Canadians to a clean environment. Please do not subject us to trade agreements that are even more powerfully punitive than NAFTA.

Look around. Smell the tobacco and the sweetgrass.

As Félix Leclerc put it, in an admittedly different, but nonetheless patriotic, musical context:

l’heure est venue, si t’as compris

Wade Davis on Sacred Geography

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We accept it as normal that people who have never been on the land, who have no history or connection to the country, may legally secure the right to come in and (…) leave in their wake a cultural and physical landscape utterly transformed and desecrated

Wade Davis, The Wayfinders, page 118

I’ve posted before about Wade Davis:

As Geopolitical Luck Would Have It

Endangered Human Faculties

Wade Davis has a unique perspective on the issues brought to the fore in the challenge put to Stephen Harper’s blatantly aggressive attack on Canada’s sacred wilderness and the First Nations way of life.

I recommend this TED talk by way of introduction to his genius and passion.