Category Archives: Economy

Climate, Jobs, Justice & the Economy – April 26, 2017

slide_224827_946621_freeWhere does one begin when fighting for climate, jobs, and justice. In a search for commonalities, the most obvious is the economy.

Climate and the economy, such obvious archenemies, are a dichotomy leaving us a choice of one or the other. We can have one but must drop the other; it shouldn’t be a tough call. Continue reading Climate, Jobs, Justice & the Economy – April 26, 2017

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An Industrial Evolution – July 26, 2016

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We live in an era of ‘take’, staking claim to what is mine and not yours. This mentality begins in our interpersonal relationships and extends to the biosphere supporting us. Society promotes a whole lotta take with very little to return. Mother Nature seems a little peeved about this exchange and is shutting down the tills. Continue reading An Industrial Evolution – July 26, 2016

Peace Together – July 23, 2016

Peace TogetherThe door is closing. This was a threat from a random guy that wanted me involved in some moneymaking scheme or business opportunity. This was his lure. Truthfully, I merely want a roof over my head in a home with working utilities. I want time to pursue my life’s passion. I want to learn and create. Continue reading Peace Together – July 23, 2016

Blinders and Distractions – September 22, 2014

nature02Ultimately, I want to save the world, but who doesn’t? The bewildering array of problems that need fixing would make Gandhi throwing up his arms in disgust. Where does one begin? In the early 2000s, my initial focus took on global warming as it was called in a lost age. Now monikered climate change, a more all-embracing expression, it looms over us like a snake on a hypnotized hamster.

What are we to do? Distract ourselves with some talent shows and YouTube videos? My studies indicate that this is the main source of our psychic problem. This instrument infests the mind with commercial drivel, surrounds us with archaic Madison Avenue graffiti, and wears down our sense of self-worth with unobtainable values. This blend brews a whole lot of discontent, making these people targets to even more invasive material.

How does this relate to climate change? Consumerism. The amount of energy that we waste, namely petroleum, to buy items with tyrannosaurus-sized carbon footprints that are designed to break down or go out of style in a month or two is choking us out. I’m talking about pollution. Not only in the waste which we toss into the landfill, but the resources required to gather and process the materials. Followed by the most-likely overseas transport before trucking it inland, the tally refuses to end. All of it is driven by the commercial detritus that leads us to forsake our character for our appearance.

There’s a purpose to all this. The economy must grow no matter what stands in its way, behaving much like a tumor. The rules are written so that every incorporated industry must grow larger every year. If not, they are fined because pissing off the investors is a no-no. How does it grow? By decreasing the consumer’s willpower, tickling their emotions, and instilling a sense of ‘MUST HAVE.’ This is where the corporate heads turn to Mr./Ms. Madison Ave to create the right lure to pull in the greatest amount of fish. While this once was the basic television commercial, they now have more covert methods to delivering their virus.

Commercial culture has ransacked our values, having us believe that we need to be driving near-illegal sport cars and wearing jewellery that could budget a small village’s needs for a year. The need for bling erodes not only our values, but our bank accounts. Now let’s be clear. Our money is our lifeblood, what we toil our time and lives over. In olden days, our earnings were meant to reflect our legacy. Something to pass on to the children. Now we have let our cars, accessories, and property define us. Are we seeing the problem here?

We’re ensnared in a trap, and it does all it can to keep us from reaching fulfillment. Have you ever felt buyer’s regret? You get home and within a couple of hours or days you’re feeling like maybe it wasn’t the best idea. Then something better comes up and we pounce on it like it was something precious.

In this age of self-gratification, where is there room for community? You know, taking part in activities that are outside of your circle of close associations? There are parts of the world out there that require your participation. The world isn’t going to run itself.

What if, when people thought of you, images of something you’ve done and stood up for come to mind rather than what model of car you have? Half of us can’t be bothered to vote. When’s the last time you volunteered? Offered help? Even something as simple as making someone smile can make a difference.? I’ll let you in on a secret: The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

As I dug deeper into the marketing operations, I found that they were targeting our kids and building up a ‘pester power’ for everything from toys up to vehicles. They corralled in psychologists to determine the best way to push the ‘consumer’ button, and the economy blossomed like a nuclear mushroom cloud. The effects were quite similar.

To make all the consumables, resources must be dug up from somewhere. To put those things together and sell so cheaply, the labor must be even cheaper. Their ‘cost-effective’ manufacturing is often environmentally frowned upon in ‘developed’ countries, but ‘developing’ countries are more than willing to take part in the corporate plunder. Oddly, this is also happening in Canada, and we’re ‘developed’.

While these practices take their toll on the environment, the effects ripple to consequences on our health. We have particulates in our air and water, and chemicals subtly destroying the life below our feet. When these end up on our bodies, either through direct exposure or in our food, the results are dismal. And that’s only from the produce.

Our meat and poultry live lives of misery to appease our palettes. Antibiotics have become a precautionary measure, becoming a part of the animal’s nutritious breakfast (lunch, and dinner.) They still get sick, and that spreads fast when you spend day-to-day shoulder-to-shoulder with your neighbour. The feed is literally garbage, and this practice extends to what we feed our pets. None is properly regulated. Our institutes have failed us.

All of these chemicals and drugs filter to our food, and there is no way to extract it before it sizzles on our grills. Add a side of chemically-drenched vegetables, smothered in chemical concoctions from a bottle. In between, we nibble on artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners that tax the body even further. What does this do to our minds? It’s not pretty.

There has been a movement towards limiting these chemical supplies in our food. I tried some of the improved formulas and they ruined my childhood. When I studied into where these amazing tastes came from, I gagged. Our minds may be saying strawberry, but the internal organs are saying WTF? Why would we have a problem with eating these items? It involves evolution. Our bodies were built up and nourished by natural foods, whereas these chemical additives began the invasion in the early 1900s, starting with refined sugar.

Coinciding with our chemical intake were rising disease statistics. Much of what sickens us comes from our body’s inability to properly synthesize what we eat. Some get stored, and some get excreted, but the whole time our body is confused by this alien entity.

When it gets stored in our bodies, it goes to the liver or fat cells, which itself should be harmless. All these chemicals have been proven safe in a human environment. The problems arise when these chemicals cross each other in the storage units. Chemicals have ways of reacting with each other, let alone that some metabolize into carcinogens when they first take a seat. From this, obesity and disease result.

We’ve been getting sicker from our food and medical miracles, aside from many other lifesaving technologies that have undoubtedly helped. Fortunately, another arm to this chemical culture has come to the rescue. For a price. For every illness, Big Pharma has a fix. They can control everything from our cholesterol to our thoughts. Have you ever wondered what got us to this place? Perhaps we’re taking better pre-emptive care of our vehicles than of our bodies. Why do we so devalue ourselves? Who feeds these standards into our minds?

A large part of the problem begins when those food chemicals scoot past the blood-brain barrier. That barrier’s in place to keep poison from entering our brain, yet our confused body has let some pass. As a worrying aside, other chemicals are out there wreaking havoc on our hormones, and they control almost all of the body’s processes. As for those renegade brain invaders, there are a whole slew of different chemical concoctions to soothe those mental ills. The overall understanding of how the brain operates is incomplete, but Big Pharma feels what they offer is…good enough? I questioned if they really wanted us to get well.

The financial reality told me no. To truly cure the patient is to put a bullet to the head of the consumer. If sales ended because the cure was no longer needed, the whole system would crash. So, what about the institutions that are supposed to be protecting us? These government-funded agencies are like beaver dams trying to stop a glacier.

They were put in place to stop the snake-oil salesmen. They successfully kept their reign on the drug industry. Then the profit motive stepped in. Soon there weren’t enough funds to oversee the thousands of chemicals produced each year. The tables soon turned, and funds were needed from the developers; a fee that soon became the agency’s budget. When you become reliant on your funders, you tend to let certain rules bend. All of this done to the appeasement of the almighty stock holders. Now we have puppet regulations, put together in cooperation with the industries. These rules are supposed to protect the public’s health and well-being, yet the profit motive conflicts with this ideology.

These same industries make billions of dollars by making us sick and then treating us for it. The only time the public becomes aware of a problem is when the media issues a recall. Food tampering, explosive motors, and food-borne bacteria make for painful headlines. Deadly drug side effects, even worse. Sometimes.

Before the public is acknowledged, the accused is obscured behind some public relations fluff, softening the blow to the industry. This fluff is then provided for free to the media, and they swallow it up and spit it back at the public in an either light-hearted or panic-inducing way. The number of deaths matter. Panic is really a big part of the media backbone.

Fear creates doubt, it perpetuates a false sense of urgency, it makes us tuck our heads in our shells, it focuses our hopes on the storm blowing over. There is no plan on what to do after the storm passes. Fear prevents us from taking part in the real world, as our personal hopes for our world are constantly placed in jeopardy and require our constant surveillance. Fear prevents us from stepping beyond our self-contained world, from reaching out and giving what we have as gifts. Rather, we take and hoard our possessions, ‘the meaning of me’, and cage it up in case someone comes and takes it. Call it another symptom of consumerism, I call it paranoid narcissism.

Sorry, that’s getting bitter. What I’m getting at is that this isn’t us. This isn’t the behaviour of a superior civilization. I started off talking about saving the world and climate change. Somehow I’ve gone into the psychological effects of commercialism. How to reconcile this? To start, climate change is the resulting accumulation of each and every one of our actions, and there are seven-plus billion of us inhabiting this planet.

We are wasteful. A light left on by one is hardly considered a waste, but when one percent of seven billion do this, that’s still 70 million lights left burning. And how likely is it that only one percent has this habit? Granted, not all seven billion have electricity and that’s not a good thing either. How grateful should we be for this electric culture we’re in? Sadly, it is nothing more than background noise; a part of modern life. These engrained habits, this loss of wonder, has left us in a state of hyperstimulated burnout. It’s no wonder so many of us flock to the flatscreen. We need the distraction.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not your fault. The food’s been playing tricks on your brain, the drugs to treat that are adding icing to the glazed problem. And the media that we’ve been depending on is in cahoots with the industries that are poisoning us. It’s a tough prison to break free from. You may notice I didn’t speak about politics. I hoped to keep this brief.

So how do I save a world in such dire straits? For one, I stay open to chance meetings out in the real world. I went out and started a group called Community Minds. It didn’t accomplish much, but I haven’t counted it out. Everything’s a process for me.

That’s the second part: Always be open to whatever’s presented to you. Within limits, of course. I’m not talking about anything extreme, but of those moments that peak your curiousity. If your first thought is, I haven’t don’t that before, then try it. On the other end of the spectrum, when you’re worried about something that might be, ask yourself: Is there anything I can do about it right now? If yes, do something. If no, drop it for the time. Don’t waste your energy.

I suppose if I wanted to save the world, I’d would get everyone to eat better. Take back your health. Treat your body with the same reverence you do your car engine. You don’t wait for it to break down before taking it in to the garage. We get tune-ups and oil changes. Our bodies are no different. Clear out the toxins, go on a fast food fast. Drop processed foods from your menu and see if it makes a difference. I’m not saying go cold turkey, because I sure didn’t. But I don’t eat junk food like I used to and I feel great.

So turn off the computer, go outside and find someone to have a conversation with. Help mow someone’s lawn, move furniture. Be a Boy (or Girl) Scout. Eat right. Read good books. Gaze at nature’s beauty. Regain a sense of wonder and the bling will lose its appeal. Life is too short to worry about the future or fret about the past when there’s so much change going on around you. Expose your spirit through the vehicle you’re given, connect with others and build that network of change. Perhaps someday it will intersect with mine.

On the Teachers’ Strike – June 10, 2014

600041_10151501512691420_1069111680_nAnd so we reach another strike. Our teachers are unhappy and want to negotiate better pay and improved class conditions. Meanwhile, the Liberals are looking for ways to retain their tax-collection monies. After all, do you know how much a night at the oyster bar costs these days?

Taxes are the fees we pay to ensure a functioning society. We want to ensure our health, wellbeing and longevity. The dilemma is how to keep an operational level of our social services AND prepare our children to replace our workforce positions at the same time. Who requires education more?

Our students jump through the hoops and achieve straight-As, only to find that their studies were toward an occupation that’s either saturated or defunct. After many years of schooling, they enter the workforce to be trained or retrained so they can make the proper fitting cog in the machine.

Is it not the employers who demand that we hold at least a high school diploma to get a foot in the door? Is it not these same industries that demand tax breaks and government subsidies? These same industries contribute nothing while demanding everything; it sounds like a certain anti-welfare argument. Anyways, the words ‘bloodsucker’ and ‘leech’ come to mind.

Now, I’m not talking about letting these industries anywhere near our curriculum. That would be like locking the hacker in with the mainframe. We need the industries as a part of the tax base, underscoring their connection to the community. If industry refuses to contribute to the education and societal kitty, they have no right to demand minimal education requirements from their employees. After all, they’re the reason that we seek these degrees, whether they get used or not.

In the end, the strike should have nothing to do with the industries or the teacher’s salaries. It is about the children and their future. If we insist on sending them to learn for eight hours a day, is it wise to seek out bargain-basement prices? Is there not a price for quality, and why aren’t we willing to pay it? If it’s the money, I’ve already given my two cents.

Performance Review: Employee # PM00022 HARPER,Stephen – January 25, 2014

10159_503171889751850_1151420537_nHarper, we have a problem. After reviewing your performance since the last election, you still have this Robocall dilemma sticking to your shoe. You know that letting Pierre Poutine slide is really a back-hand slap to democracy. I almost believed your denying having any dealings with the farce, but as it drags on the mind must take pause.

Now, I realize that you want the get rid of the Senate, but they are the only brake to your runaway rampage. Sure there have been a few events that almost make me want to side with you, if only all those troubled senators weren’t under your appointment. If we take away your regulators (and I know how you love doing that) then us poor citizens will most likely have to deal with an even more sociopathic state. I think our cup runneth over as it is thank you very much. So, no, there will be no dismantling of the Senate while you’re in power. Sorry.

map01-uniqueidupateThen we have the whole tar sands debacle. I know your big thing is ‘economy economy economy’ and it has its importance, but there’s more to life than money. You see, your little cancerous project is hurting the environment and the people you’re supposedly representing. The Athabasca River is nearing death, and the people relying on its water are getting sick with disease. It’s starting to look like your own private Love Canal.

Of course, I realize you’re doing all you can to ignore this problem. For starters, I’ve got to question your sneaky move of downgrading our environmental protection. What do you have against clean rivers and lakes? Do you realize what we use that water for? I don’t know about you, but I like to have a drink of water here and there. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like an good soak in oil as much as the next droid but my plants aren’t as understanding. And I can’t fail to notice that you’ve also muzzled all your scientists. Do you realize that last time that happened was during the Middle Ages? What era are you from?

There is also the matter of Idle No More. Remember those people dying of disease? I was speaking of the First Nations living with the result of your environmental assault. You know that those treaties aren’t going to write themselves. On top of that, the residential school tragedy is starting to bubble up again. Inequality is not going to go away if you keep kissing the posteriors of higher ups and tear-gassing those you represent.

As for you and the neighbours, I can’t say that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will do us Canadians any good. Remember NAFTA? That one still nips at our sovereignty, and you want to give away more? Nevermind the Trans-Pacific Partnership that you’ve been trying to keep as quiet as possible. You want us to hook into a trade regime that covers 40% of global economic output and one-third of world trade but not let us know the details. I don’t like it.

As for your play dough, it’s time to put you on an allowance. When you said you were taking the limo for a ride, we didn’t mean for a $1.2 million airplane ride to India. And that $620,000 stealth snowmobile must be a great toy! Smart purchase! As for the $2.5 million non-existent-job ad, when we asked for more employment, we didn’t mean to the ad agency. Then there’s the $40 million ads to promote the tar sands, don’t you think you’ve given that group enough promotion? And, of course, you’re keeping us safe with the mighty $45.8 billion F-35 fighters, and the $1.2 billion military spy agency. Feeling a little insecure? I don’t know about you, but that $47.044 billion total sounds like an awful lot when all you’re handing out to us citizens are funding cuts. Perhaps you should call up those folks you hired back in August 2011 to find savings that will help balance the budgets; I’m sure we can scrape up another $19.8 million for them. Were they the ones who tracked down your missing $3.1 billion?

I tried to keep it brief but you’ve been a busy man. How’s the panda? I’d send this to you, but I’m not sure how long that postal service will be running. Unfortunately, as I feel you’ve been doing a poor job at maintaining the wellbeing of the Canadian citizenry, I recommend that you take a break. I’m a wee bit worried about our country’s future. And I’m sure a good compensation package awaits. Maybe we’ll find a bird sanctuary to name after you, but I’m sure the scar of the tar sands will suffice as your legacy. No offence, but it’s time to throw in the towel. Game over.Tar Sands At Night #2.                                  Series:

Charge of the Oil-literate – December 10, 2013

slide_224827_946621_freeWe live in a bountiful province. We have lots of space with a broad range of ecosystems. We have fresh rivers, lakes and glaciers. We have islands and an ocean, and plenty of wildlife. I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty sweet. So why risk losing it to the mining, oil and gas industries? How badly do we need to drive? Sitting here at the onset of winter, I’d definitely give up having a car over giving up the gas hot water heater and furnace. It’s a matter of priorities.

Ten years ago, I was reading about multinational industries moving into developing countries to do their business. Truthfully, it’s not much different from letting the dog out to ‘do its business’. They went there for the cheap labor and lax environmental standards. They came; they exhumed; they departed; leaving the cleanup duty to the citizens. They left scars that will affect generations. It’s cold-hearted, but it’s business.

Skip back to the present, and I’m witnessing the same practices being done in our own backyard. It started out with having the environmental standards being taken out at the knees. Then came the tar sands explosion, leading to total disruption and theft of our water supply to support the disinterring. Then, the scientists were muzzled from speaking to the public about their economy-threatening truths. Soon, those foreign multinationals came knocking on our door, and one of the world’s greatest scarrings began.

Okay, so that was bad, but then the ever-envious BC government got giddy when word had it that we had gas. The liquid natural gas sector has become the backbone of our Premier’s job plan. This proposal requires refrigeration, which in turn requires a lot of power. So, even though BC has more than enough electricity, we now must erect a Site C Dam and destroy the habitat along the Peace River. Are we willing to destroy even more of our backyard for foreign interests to come in and scoop up all of our precious resources, using infrastructure built on the taxpayer’s dollar? Are we really that desperate or are we willing to try the untested waters of sustainable technology?

While on the topic of sustainability, for a constant supply of heat, we could go the biofuel way and harvest it from hemp. It burns cleaner, while, in its growth phase, it breathes at twice the exchange rate of oxygen for CO2 that trees do. Its oil can be processed for heating or for our transportation. Its fibers produce fabric stronger than denim. Its seeds provide a multitude of health benefits. Those are just a few industries that can provide long-term employment, and we wouldn’t have to flood a valley to do it.

I don’t believe we live in a Third World country, nor that we need to rely on foreign dollars to stabilize our economy. I will be the one to live out the consequences of their carelessness, which is especially annoying when we have plenty of other options to sustainably allow the industries to do their business in my home without putting my wellbeing at risk. I love BC. Let’s work to keep it beautiful.

November 3, 2013 – The Dirt Under the Rug

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh Canada, what have we become? So much dirt has been swept under that you can barely make out the rug atop the mound. Our ‘Good Canadian’ image has been scraped away, revealing a horrendous human rights record, an anti-environmental economy, record deficits, and a near-deaf, unresponsive government. With Remembrance Day approaching, we near heresy as the democratic face has been ravaged, leaving all that our veterans fought and died for in vain.

A lady in Calgary was in the news when a tenant claimed her property as his embassy, claiming to be a Freeman-on-the-Land. Fortunately the authorities removed him, but not before he trashed the place. Our history reflects the story. Unfortunately for the First Nations, no authorities were around to evict the invasive European tenant. Instead, they were doled out servings of genocide, paternalistic government, and relocation. The overall situation is condemned by the United Nations, but they waited too long to exert any apparent authority.

Even worse, this paternalism was drafted into law under the 1876 Indian Act, basically branding the entire First Nations population as wards of the State, like children. No longer given claim to their land, the Native population was shuffled around like furniture in a home. More accurately, their home was taken over and demolished and all their possessions were put into storage, what the government calls ‘reservations’.

Suddenly, the land was opened up for European settlement, of which they always needed more. This invited urban sprawl, demanding more space and resources, as the boom in technology perpetually beefed up the energy needs. Any land left unclaimed by white settlement was then ceded (or loaned) to the First Nations who sustained it as their foraging and hunting grounds. Later, these areas were flooded as hydroelectric dams joined the mining polluters, biodiversity-killing monocrops and other species-killing efficiencies in destroying their habitat. The overall results have us sending probes into outer space in search of another planet that might be able to support human life. Woe to any inhabitants of that planet, they may someday become wards of the Earthlings.

All this has been in the name of the economy, the lifeforce of coercion. If the dust settles, it will expose how the human character has been suckered into a vortex of man-made laws that disregard Nature’s rules. We have ceded our democratic power and responsibilities to governance in order to continue prospering in our debt-driven lives. It looks as if we are all under paternal government protection, namely the Harper Conservatives.

However, Papa Harper has been out partying with the neighbours more than attending to his Family strife. He’s made promises to those who don’t need help, and deprived those who do. So, we live in a house acquired by illicit means, represented by double-faced policymakers and are fed a belief that we can’t do anything about it. The detritus under the rug must be dealt with, for the longer we resist, the deeper the impact. In other words, the revolution is going to hurt.

Justice Gone Wild – October 18, 2013

elsipogtog-largeIt’s getting ugly out there. As a society living in a developed country, we should be past the corporate colonialism mentality consistently contaminating the idea of human rights. Yet, as the events in Rexton, New Brunswick show, our police force is enforcing a corporation’s rights over those of the citizens.

Clearly, our government has no interest in protecting our land and, thereby, our well-being. Instead, we became a clearinghouse for our raw resources. Our real estate is being sold to foreign companies who tear up the environment and take away our oil, lumber and water while spitting pollutants into our air, land, and what water remains with impunity. They snake into our country behind the shield of free trade which, in most cases, opens the taps releasing our resources while providing these foreign invaders with rights that supersede our own.

It used to be that the multinational companies went to developing countries to set up factories because of the lax environmental standards. Canada has become one of those countries. This inevitably pisses off citizens, giving rise to protest. The government steps in, calling these people radicals and proclaims that the invaders need protection.

So, looking back towards Rexton, we see the Elsipogtog First Nation trying to do something that the government ignores: Save their land and water from the carcinogenic damage from the chemical agents discharged from ‘fracking’. Of course, the true damage is uncertain as scientists are silenced and environmental protection is given the pink slip. The only gauge is by looking at the illness and disease that come, after the fact.

I look to Rexton and see a corporation under protection of the authorities, and those who oppose ‘business as usual’ are the targets of police brutality. This is not why I pay my taxes. This is not why we provide these corporations with tax cuts. These are signs of a sick society. Is this the representation that taxation is supposed to represent? I think not.

In protecting the corporation over the citizen, we are approaching a worrisome state of oligarchy. That’s ‘ruling by a small group of people distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control.’ We have a less-responsive government than most countries have under a dictatorship; our upholders of the law are dedicated to protecting foreign investors; and we have an economy catering to those who already have most of the money. I sense a flaw.

The status quo must retire. How? With nonviolent rebellion, which has been an unfortunate failure at Rexton; weapons are not needed to reach a strong agreement. If I choose not to support something, I stop investing my time and money in it. As I see our taxes, via policing, go into protecting the tax-protected, and I want to stop putting my money into it. I would much rather place those tax dollars in my community, to charities and non-profits working for our well-being. As well, our Members of Parliament are supposed to be our voice to oppose these matters. Speak up, MPs, or there will be more pink slips on the horizon.

Published October 25, 2013, Kelowna Capital News

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You Can’t Grow Petroleum – October 1, 2013

552333_10150608774590614_601675613_9303140_1422643087_nSo Premier Clark is on the oil-baron bandwagon, touting liquefied natural gas (LNG) as Western Canada’s great hope to fuel our economy. Let’s run it by China and see if they’re interested. If we’re lucky, they might even sell some back to us. The idea of selling and shipping our natural resources just reeks of ‘intelligence’.

What are we missing here? That we could be creating more jobs on this side of the ocean by retaining ownership of our natural resources? If we piped this processed product into our own gross domestic product, we’d see a booming profit margin compared to what we sell overseas. Under the defence of conservation, if we held on to these resources then, as demand increases and supplies dwindle, the value of what remains will have a much higher value if we keep it in the ground for just a wee bit longer.

In terms of utility, how we use these resources can no longer continue with business-as-usual. Our siphoning of nature’s hydrocarbons has peaked and what remains requires some pretty intensive (and polluting) extraction methods. Perhaps we should step away until some cleaner methods are developed. Anyway, we’ll need to retain some fuel to maintain our sense of Canadian well-being. We can sell it all now, but it’s foolish to think that we won’t need it later on. (This seems to be beyond the scope, and lifetime, of those currently in power.)

What happens when our petroleum runs out? No fuel, transportation, or trade. We can’t make the plastics necessary for our day-to-day products. Our paints, lubricants and coatings will no longer be a water-tight guarantee. For obvious reasons we must start to seriously conserve what is left. If Canada doesn’t kick-start its manufacturing capabilities, all we’ll have left for trade will be the virgin resources. These will drain away to other countries that have more factories than we do.

So, for Clark to peddle LNG as our great opportunity, her tunnel vision may simply be another nail in the coffin of our long-term well-being. Beyond the pipeline and gas possibilities, what other cards are there to put on the table? Where do agriculture and forestry fit in? I see a whole lot of eggs in one basket and very few barriers to prevent a province-wide (and country-wide, but that’s another story) crash.

Perhaps we should looking into petroleum’s greatest threat: Hemp. In the 1930s, Du Pont lobbied heavily to outlaw hemp and cannabis. At the time, the Ford Motor Company was devising ways to create every product made from petroleum, but from hemp instead. As it turns out, everything petroleum could do, hemp plant carbohydrates could do cheaper. This game-changer had to be kept off the playing field.

This plant is a miraculous gift, and it is currently villainized by lobbyist propaganda and disproven gateway theories. Cannabis’s medical abilities are beyond incredible, the plant’s fiber can be used for textiles, rope, paper, concrete and bio-hydrocarbons. The economic possibilities are immense. As well, two harvests of hemp will replenish a field overrun by thistles and weeds. We can recover more farming land. The information is out there, look it up. It’s the 21st Century, folks. It’s time grow up, do away with bad habits, and work towards a prosperous and greener future.

Published October 10, 2013, Kelowna Daily Courier

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