Earth Day 2050, a fantasy

The following story was created after I asked my 12 year old son what he would say to the children of a country’s leader, one who had abrogated his environmental responsibilites, if he met those children in the future. His response is the quote written in bold at the end of the story. The children of today are wiser than the children of light.

*****

From the Teachings of the Elders:

“I will punish the children for the sins of the father to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 20:5

“For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7, 8

“What goes around, comes around.” Justin Timberlake

*****

William had just passed his fiftieth birthday. He had spent most of his adult life known as The Speaker for the Dead, the one who went into the razed and grieving communities and cleansed their guilt by telling the truth of their loves and losses, their sins and graces, and their pain was eased.  Twenty years ago, after the collapse of the inland fisheries, he had moved north of Superior, found a spring fed lake in a tiny remote valley and built his cabin. He became known as the Guardian of the Spring. To those who came with respect he shared the water freely. They were allowed to quench their thirst, and happily carried their water jugs, filled to the brim, back to their shelters.

The world had changed a great deal in his fifty years. Agriculture in the Great Plains had been devastated by decades of drought, the coastline of the Maritimes had been buried under rising seas, and the Great Quake of 2033 had destroyed the oil pipelines to the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. Ontario had been annexed by New York, and Quebec had long ago separated to preserve a just society. After the Great Western Separation, Alberta and British Columbia had disintegrated into warring fiefdoms, and only Newfoundland seemed to prosper as an ice-free Arctic encourgaged European trawlers to it’s ports.

With the death of the oil economy, North America had descended into chaos and anarchy and the remnants of the central governments disappeared. But north of Superior, climate change had extended the growing season and the winds of change had been kind. A few small settlements prospered here, and one was in William’s valley.

As Guardian of the Spring, it was William’s responsibility and honour to share the water freely with those who walked the Earth lightly. But more often than not Marauders appeared who had heard of the pure waters and verdant forests. The Marauders had respect for nothing and their cruelty was renowned. Then it was William’s responsibility and honour to rid the Earth of their presence. William’s reputation spread, and the Marauders stopped coming to his valley.  There was easier prey elsewhere.

Then there were the others who came from time to time. They were called The Shunned, the children of the politicians who had sacrificed the temple of the Earth to the money lenders. They were adults now, cursed to walk the Earth begging forgiveness for the evil that their parents had visited upon the water planet and all its living things.

It was the supreme irony that on April 22, 2050, two of the shunned, Ben and Rachel, came stumbling out of the mist and down the forest paths of William’s valley. They were seeking the absolution of the Speaker for the Dead. He watched them through his spotting scope and recognized them immediately.  They were the lowest of The Shunned, the children of the Great Destroyer, the one whose ignorance and greed had sacrificed the greatest country on Earth.

As they passed each shelter, the people turned their backs. The Shunned were cold and hungry and thirsty, but not a single person offered them the slightest comfort. They approached William’s cabin cautiously; the Speaker for the Dead, the Guardian of the Spring had become a mythical hero, the one who spoke truth to power, and they feared him.  They stopped at the front porch of the cabin and waited. Only the Speaker could release them from this curse.

William opened the door slowly and stepped out into the early morning light. Ben and Rachel held out their open palms in supplication and were about to speak, when William raised his arm for silence.  He took a deep breath, remembered the sacrifices his mother and father had made to heal the Earth, and spoke the words he had been waiting fifty years to say,

Children of my enemy, why have you come?

I offer no forgiveness for your father’s sins.

He turned his back and left them there, unforgiven in this world. The circle had been closed.

*****

Skid Crease, Caledon

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Earth Day Paradox

 Happy Earth Day 2012. Just put fifteen new native trees down the side of my house, and reseeded the lawn with heritage grass seeds. Feeling very green. Went to the park across the street that I usually clean up every year with my son.  This year he had a baseball date with his friends.  

When I went to the park, I was surprised to see it was covered in paper flyers – the type that normally get hung on exterior doors by special delivery contracts.  These were for "Weewatch enriched home child care" and were advertising reliable home day care.  I am sure that <www.weewatch.com> never intended their flyers to end up scattered all over our municipal park – certainly that was the responsibility of the contracted distribution agent.

Still, the idea of a child care organization with their literature littered all over the earth on Earth Day – it just struck me as a paradox – the idea of "enriched home care" while trashing the community playground seemed an unintentional example of everything that is wrong with Earth Day.

We take 1 day to clean up our habits and 364 days to drive our SUVs 5 km to the local supermarket to buy refrigerated foods transported from around the world to our local tables.  Curious and curioser.

Think globally, act locally, care personally.

Happy Earth Day!

Skid Crease, Caledon

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Canada as Environmental Criminal

The Tragedy of the Global Commons:

In the past few months, Canada has completely lost any credibility it had as a leader in pursuing environmental literacy in its policies and practices. 

First we had Canada’s betrayal of the Kyoto Protocol, as Peter Kent cleverly left Durban leading the world on in thinking that we would still be at the table, and then quietly announcing on his return home that Canada was pulling out for “economic” reasons.  “It’s our legal right.” Sadly Kent is not a real Minister, as is the case with most of our Conservative Reform Alliance Party government.  Even as a broadcaster, he was an actor, reading the script that others wrote for him with great sincerity.  

As a newscaster, his broadcasts on the first signing of Kyoto and the catastrophic impact of climate change on the planet really looked as if he understood the significance of what was happening.  But for Peter, it was all entertainment.  As an “Environment Minister”, he reads what the PMO edits for him, and still looks as if he believes it.

Stephen Harper has never believed in the science of climate change, the subject of its own upcoming article on this website, preferring instead to consult with economists on the impact of this “socialist plot.”

Then, after Kyoto, and after President Obama put the brakes on the Keystone Pipeline, came the relentless attacks from our Prime Minister on prime time television, warning Canadians about the dangers to the country’s economic security from the heavily funded “foreign environmental lobby” that was set to derail The Northern Gateway Pipeline. The Prime Minister as the TV spokesperson for the oil industry – that was a first.  Takes him back to his early days with Imperial Oil. Now, no one in the government mentioned the billions of dollars that had come from major corporate investors around the world, particularly China, to get that extremely expensive oil flowing to refineries in the Far East.

Call them the “tar sands”, call them the “oil sands”, call it bitumen – it makes no difference. Under no circumstances is it “ethical oil” as the deluded Ezra Levant maintains.  The Sun Media will be the subject of another future post. No, there is nothing ethical about Ezra’s lobbying for Alberta bitumen, one of the most expensive and energy intensive sources of oil on the planet.

Let it simply be said, that the Prime Minister will do anything to ensure that Alberta’s oil gets to China.  He could have considered a pipeline to refineries in Montreal and sales to an “ethical” European market, but that would have created an economic boom in Eastern Canada – not part of his plan of regional fiefdoms (Alberta at the pinnacle) with no federal oversight.

Then came the quiet alterations to the Fisheries Act.  Almost everyone missed it – just some fish.But this very clever government realized that the old Act would slow down the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and so they changed the Act to speed things up. Enter Jeffrey Hutchings, Professor of Biology at Dalhousie University: from Margaret Munro, Post Media News, March 19, 2012: Weakening the Fisheries Act will make a bad situation even worse.The proposed changes will be considered "an abrogation of Canada's global ocean and freshwater stewardship responsibilities," Hutchings wrote to the minister: The proposed changes will "severely impair" Canada's ability to protect species and their habitat and "further reduce the likelihood that Canada will fulfill its national and international biodiversity commitments," he said.

Otto Langer, the former head of habitat protection for DFO on the West Coast who retired several years ago, was leaked documents detailing the proposed changes to the Fisheries Act, which he released last week. The proposed changes, outlined in the documents, strip the reference to "habitat" from the act, and introduce vague wording that Langer said would be hard to enforce. The act, as it now reads, makes it illegal to damage fish habitat. The new version leaked to Langer would prohibit activities that would cause an "adverse effect" on "fish of economic, cultural or ecological value."

So with one stroke of the pen, any adverse effects that the Northern Gateway Pipeline might have had on fish habitat were cleverly bypassed. Finally under intense pressure from Canada’s scientists, who defied the government’s gag order and spoke out publicly, Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield finally openly admitted, as reported in the Vancouver Sun on April 25th, that the overhaul of the Fisheries Act would reduce the regulatory burden oil companies face in getting approval for major projects.

Ashfield even applauded conservation groups as supporters of the overhaul.  This is like Ashfield and Oliver and Harper telling Canadians that the CRAP policies are consistent with Canadian values. NOT. They are consistent with the ideologies of unethical business and industry CEO’s who want to deregulate and full speed ahead on sucking out our resources and habitats for big bucks. They didn’t take David Suzuki on their trip to the U.S. a few years ago when they sat down with big business leaders to hammer out Canada’s joke of an Economic Action Plan. I digress. Turned out Ashfield’s “conservation” groups were the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (we kill animals), and Ducks Unlimited (primarily funded by duck hunters). El toro pooh-pooh, to be politically correct. Ducks Unlimited will get its own special posting shortly. 

Finally came the cruelest cut of all.  Not satisfied with the open door the Fisheries Act Changes had given him, Stephen Harper, in the recent federal budget, quietly gave himself (no need to consult parliament) the power to approve major energy projects even if regulatory bodies turn them down on environmental grounds. An environmental veto. Retroactively. A full, unfettered and unapologetic dictatorship where all is subjugated to the “economic security” of the country.

The man who once said that we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he was through with it is well on his way.  No one believed Adolph Hitler when he laid it all out in Mein Kampf. Wake up Canada. It’s time for the Turn of the Tide.  It’s time to take back our country.

Skid Crease, Caledon


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