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.

Neoliberalism’s Legacy

Ravens on steps at Barr'd Island

This Chris Hedges post inspired my listing below, but my own blunt, scruffy and ornery mood soon took over, so don’t blame him…

Neoliberalism’s Grand Achievement: 8 Families now own half of the Planet’s “wealth”

A concise, incomplete history of it’s ascendency:

  • Sharing the wealth was invented to deal with uppity, but needed, unionized workers in the 20th century
  • A phoney science called “economics” was born and nurtured
  • They stumbled onto a flawed idea called “free” trade
  • Corporations were soon made into “persons” with rights and the ability to live forever; that’s much longer than real persons live
  • Those rights grew and grew as worker’s power shrank
  • Human rights, such as clean water, became “commodities” – sold at a positively pornographic price in some places
  • Market “freedom” inevitably led to privatization: fewer and richer Rich vs more and poorer Poor
  • Entertainment and gadgetry kept the middle class distracted – a worthy crowd control project presented to government/corporate/labour think tanks in the 70’s
  • Monopolies were made legal instead of criminal
  • Unemployment Insurance was euphemized Employment Insurance in Canada
  • Companies were allowed to use their employees’ pension savings, including the workers’ own contributions leaving just a bunch of promised numbers in the safe
  • Banks were allowed play with insurance and sell mutual funds
  • Crazy shit like derivatives became a way for the banks to get richer – until they didn’t
  • Your taxes and mine went to bail out poorly managed banks and their overpaid executives
  • Car companies were bailed out even though they broke their pension promises
  • Private equity firm(s) gobbled up peoples’ houses at auctions as if they’d planned it.
  • “Disaster Capitalism” took control of natural and organized disasters
  • Little wealth was created, just redistributed upward
  • The good freedoms of the many (association, speech…) were replaced by freedoms of the few (monopoly, price gauging, foreclosure…)
  • Human beings are now just another “commodity” to those above eight families.

Hose Me Down, Folks!

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Hose Initiation for Hosers

This quick email to my neighbour sent at 7:45 a.m. today:

Before its first use… this new and “improved” hose recommends that it be extended in the sun for several hours as straight as possible with the pressure turned on at the tap. I have done my best. I assumed you wouldn’t mind it extending 6 feet onto your lawn.
*********
Why? So that it will kink as little as possible.
*********
Whatever happened to plain old rubber??
*********
No… I haven’t gone crazy – yet…
The “architect” of this particular hose probably has…
Wish I’d read the fine print…
I’ll put it away at 2 PM.
Cheers,
Bob

We Need to Nurture Hope

The Golden Age of Arab Spain:

I love reading the opinions of others. It is through this that I get motivated to think and write about ideas that are new to me.

I read a piece recently claiming that Spain’s Catholics somehow lied about, or wildly exaggerated, the “Moslem Invasion” of 711. The author called it a “myth.” The purpose of the myth, according to the writer, was for the Church to blame an embarrassingly dark period in its history on something foreign that “She” could not have stopped. An interesting point of view that I cannot, at this point, share.

In my opinion there is overwhelming evidence (linguistic, artistic and architectural) that much of Spain south of Toledo and possibly north as far as Zaragoza was occupied by a liberal Arabic dynasty centred in Cordoba for close to three centuries.

Yes, Liberal Arabs:

I used the adjective, liberal, because openness to new ideas and tolerance of Christians and Jews was emblematic of the threatened  Umayyad dynasty that entered Spain in 711 after fleeing Damascus, the Umayyad capital based in Syria. Umayyads had put together the fifth largest empire in history. Continue reading “We Need to Nurture Hope”

Digital Distraction, Dilution and Disinformation

Decades ago (I’m guessing ca. 1980) an adult family conversation occurred in my parents apartment. My cousin’s husband was very successful, having studied computers and accounting at university before the digital age took off. He traveled the world setting up distribution systems for a major door-to-door cosmetic firm.

He had recently participated in a think-tank session on the future, in which young, forward-looking minds from Canadian industry, government, media and trade unions had been asked to participate. He had a piece of inside information to share:

Industry and government were, way back then, looking at the potential problems that would occur when the typical 40-hour work week shrunk due to information technology and the great unwashed found ourselves with time on our hands and an increased feeling of alienation from the sense that we were contributing to society through work that could be thought of as useful and worthwhile.

One major conclusion:

Ways must be found to keep the masses occupied and entertained.

Continue reading “Digital Distraction, Dilution and Disinformation”

“He Who Shall Not Be Named” Is Stalking Me

Continue reading ““He Who Shall Not Be Named” Is Stalking Me”

Imagination Part 2

I know lots of you guys would rather see pictures of Spain… but I promised you the meat of the Ideas program/podcast on Imagination, Part 2 (with a little of my patented sauce at the end) on Nov. 29:

Buddhism, among other philosophies, tells us that the self isn’t as concrete as we think it is. Our personal identity is a bit of an illusion. What poses as a coherent individual identity is largely due to a person’s memories, and the weird thing is that those memories change; we modify (i.e. reimagine) them every time we retrieve them. What’s more: memories are the “building blocks” of imagination.

The real virtuoso imaginers are the visionaries, who possess what Jung called a mythopoeic imagination. Henri Frankfort and his wife Henriette Antonia Frankfort coined the term, mythopoeic, in the 1940’s. Frankfort, H. studied ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia – the source for most of our modern religious mythological types. Ancient Egypt is really cool, but let’s stay on topic here. Jung believed that all humans share a collective unconscious that includes bits from the memories of our ancestors – even pre-human ancestors.

Modern humans also build a community based on our common observations. Observations are really all one has to go on when one has to go – on, I mean. Continue reading “Imagination Part 2”