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.


South America Trip.7 – Uruguay and Argentina

Montevideo - Looking East from the Cerro Across the Bay
Montevideo – Looking east from the Cerro across Montevideo’s large, beautiful bay on the north coast of the Plate Estuary – August, 1967

Left Rio de Janeiro Sunday, August 6, 1967  by bus for São Paulo at 8 AM, arriving 4 PM. Stayed overnight. It was my first experience of the custom of blaring one’s horn for the entire time one is tied up in traffic. Incomprehensible to me why someone would want to make a bad situation intolerable. The cacophony was even audible from my tenth floor hotel room with the windows closed.

São Paulo is where all the men from Manaus went to find work, leaving their women unattended. São Paulo had the air in 1967 of economic boom. 5.5 million people, crowded, cool, hectic with fine shops offering beautiful items for sale.

Continue reading “South America Trip.7 – Uruguay and Argentina”

An Important Book Review by Wade Davis

Crazy Horse Memorial

I have just modified my September post, As Geopolitical Luck Would Have It, after reading Wade Davis’ Guardian review of Jared Diamond’s latest book, The World Until Yesterday. Mr. Davis’ review adds a new perspective to Jared Diamond’s work. Davis believes that Diamond still suffers from First World naiveté when he thinks that all our approach to sustainability needs is some tweaking based on an appreciation of how the indigenous understand a respect for the environment. Davis believes that we need to come to respect this perspective for what it truly is: a worldview that is just as valid and developed as our own – perhaps more valid if we really want to survive as a species.

The review is very much worth reading. Thanks to Brian K. Murphy for forwarding it to me.

Another thoughtful and very frank review of The World Until Yesterday from… This from January 30.