Category Archives: Sustainability

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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The Story of Weed – March 29, 2016

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We all know the story of Weed, AKA cannabis, marijuana, pot, the assassin of youth. In truth, that assassin is adulthood and definitely not to be confused as maturity. Her story is woven with lies, deception and conspiracy. Weed, unbeknownst to most, is the victim.

Weed was once everyone’s friend, less a threat than healer. She thrived in religions and cultures for centuries until the ‘New World’ rebranded it as a vice, used by undesirables to create antisocial psychopaths. This was the rhetoric of capitalists who saw Weed as a competitor to creating their own antisocial psychopaths.

Weed was sacred, like the Jesus wafers and grape juice Blood-Of-Christ. The Hindus called her bhang, using the concoction to commune with the god Shiva and free oneself from sin[1]. Buddhists claim that Buddha lived on one cannabis seed a day, and they use Weed to deepen their meditation and raise awareness[2]. Rowan Robinson, in The Great Book of Hemp, mentions her use with Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, African traditions, Chinese Taoism, Japanese traditions and even Christianity. This competition of beliefs, of religions fighting for the title of most beneficent, was won by the secularists. They outlawed the sacred for their ‘sacred-er’.

The narrow-minded racist tendency of colonialists plotted to push Weed into the underground economy. To emphasize her ties to Mexico, cannabis was rebranded to sound more Mexican by combining ‘Maria’, mother of Jesus, with ‘huana’, Spanish for ‘property’ or ‘stuff’. In 1846, it became ‘Mary’s Stuff’, or marijuana[3]. Steve D’Angelo documents the cultural shift in The Cannabis Manifesto, documenting how Weed was brought into the States with refugees from the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Weed was used as an analgesic and for her anti-inflammatory properties[4].

Mind you, the medical industry wasn’t blind to Weed’s usefulness. She was already listed in the U.S. pharmacopeia back in 1842[5]. However, through the 1920s Weed nervously eyed alcohol being beaten into submission by the temperance movement. Law enforcement had a heyday busting distilleries and breweries, flushing the underground profits down the drain in the name of Prohibition.

Weed was introduced to contemporary society thanks to Mexican migration, and in the 1920s and 30s was promoted to Muse by the African-American jazz musicians. She was affectionately known as ‘Muggles’ and Mezz, after Milton Mezzrow who started selling cannabis cigarettes to make ends meet during the Great Depression[6]. This musehood propelled her to celebrity status, joining the era`s ranks of alcohol and barbiturates.

Politicians soon recognized their hypocrisy and alcohol was re-legalized. It helped boost economies, and became the architect of civil strife, to the point of celebrating it as a human right. Not really, but try telling that to the drinkers.

Well, come the 1930s, and a bunch of alcohol agents were standing around bars, beer in hand and scratching their heads wondering what to do next. Harry Anslinger had the answer, becoming director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Giving alcohol a pat on the back and no-hard-feelings handshake, he took a step over and gave Weed a withering stare.

By the time the age of marijuana prohibition kicked in, the public was well aware of Weed’s danger thanks to Reefer Madness. Smearing Weed’s good name, rumors spread about her playing into the hands of children and students. Most Americans understanding about Weed was rife with ‘racism, unwarranted consumption, lack of investigation, and an absence of science.[7]’ Some things never change.

In 1925-26, studies were done exonerating Weed, citing no evidence of habit forming compared to alcohol, opium, and cocaine. With moderate use, they found no injurious effect, no physical injury, and no moral injury[8].  Logically, Congress voted in a national ban on Weed in 1937[9]. Welcome to the age of ideology trumping scientific fact.

Reefer Madness won over and Weed was ruled an outlaw. There was collateral damage. Weed’s cousin, Industrial Hemp, or IH for short, was bundled into the sentence and he too was outlawed. This betrayal was even harder on IH, having been there at the nation’s beginning when the great explorers were hijacking the Americas.

Without IH, the sails and ropes wouldn’t have had the strength to search the seven seas. In 17th Century America, IH was a mandatory crop earning jail time if you weren`t growing it. In the 18th Century, he was used to pay taxes[10]. There are claims that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew it on their plantations[11]. IH had deep roots with America’s history, and was kicked to the curb with the boot called 1937’s Marijuana Tax Act.

The conspiracy is laid bare knowing that the law was passed by FDR and his buddies through a voice tally that was never recorded. Weed was removed from the US Pharmacopeia in 1941[12]. At the time, she was listed for more than 100 different ailments[13].

An odd hiccup in the restriction came during World War Two, testifying to IH`s utility and necessity. In 1942, the government-led `Hemp for Victory` called for support of the war effort, quoting the film: “American hemp will go on duty again – hemp for mooring ships, hemp for tow lines, hemp for tackle and gear, hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore![14]” Apparently, the Japanese had cut off their supply of imported hemp, of which each American ship required 34,000 feet. When the war ended, so did the hiccup.

Through to the Sixties, Weed retained her public enemy status as the assassin of youth. As an illegal substance, acquiring Weed for study was near-impossible. The silencing of the scientific community gave the Reefer Madness unopposed power to propagate its lies.

The battle escalated after Anslinger resigned from the Bureau in 1962 and moved into a bigger pond. He was appointed as a US delegate to the United Nations[15]. With his US superpower status, the anti-Weed venom spread globally.

That same year, Kennedy and the ad hoc panel on drug abuse found that most of the facts on Weed were exaggerated and based on very limited evidence[16]. With studies mounting in support of Weed’s efficacy, it naturally escalated into full-out war. Weed’s newest foe was bigger and badder than ever. At least the lies were.

As the Sixties blasted apart the Fifties, Weed was seen hanging with the dropouts. She was a celebrity to the hippie movement and became a political symbol of liberty and civil disobedience. This crowd had a plethora of nicknames for her, such as blunt, bud, chronic, doobie, dope, ganja, grass, herb, Johnson, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, schwag, spliff, and weed.

Nixon was (mis)leading the US charge, declaring the War on Drugs. Using a lot of deflection techniques and political jujitsu to hide his misdeeds, this war masked his hatred of the blacks, hippies, and anti-Vietnam protesters. Thus, the practice of demonizing the user began.

A quote from his counsel, John Ehrlichman, says it all: “Look, we understand we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor, or black in the US, but we could criminalize their common pleasure[17].”

The government`s shield of massive lies was called the 1970 Controlled Substances Act which established drug ‘schedules’. Schedule I listed drugs with high potential for abuse, had no medical use, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. This list included heroin, LSD, mescaline, magic mushrooms, and various amphetamines. Taking a few more steps down the logic progression, the Schedule II drugs had some accepted medical use. This group included cocaine, opium, oxycodone, morphine, and amphetamines.

Not many considered it fair to lump Weed in with these nasty cell mates. She may have been seen hanging out with some of these in the Sixties lovefest, but her guilt-by-association was easily disproven by numerous studies, all ignored by the larger public. Regardless, the drug war was ramped up with its targets based on this schedule.

Jimmy Carter called for national decriminalization of Weed, saying the punishment shouldn’t be more harmful than the cause[18]. That idea was shot down; instead they sprayed Mexican Weed with paraquat. Carter authorized N, N, dimethyl-4, 4, -bipyridinium dichloride as a weapon, which kills green plant tissue on contact, toxic to animals and humans. Parkinson’s disease was a common development from those who ingested this weed, of which a third of the samples were contaminated with[19]. Oops.

As the hippie movement got hip-checked away by disco’s jungle fever, bringing with it even more drugs. Weed’s ill repute placed her in the hands of gangsters and bikers; she had few friends outside of the fringe society. Cheech and Chong parodied the war, flipping the bird at authorities while pushing her into the spotlight of the Eighties. Along came Nancy Reagan, just saying no, making it her calling to continue spreading misinformation on Weed.

By this time, Weed was ‘well known’ to be a gateway to harder drugs like crack and heroin. Ronald Reagan introduced the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, along with mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Law enforcement had a heyday busting grow-ops and hydroponic shops, flushing underground profits down the drain in the name of prohibition.

However, there was change in the air when Weed was recognized as a legitimate treatment for AIDS. Shortly after, gangster rappers built up empires on songs about Weed. Dazed and confused, she stumbled into the Nineties relatively unscathed despite a global war launched against her.

In the cinema, a bunch of dudes were embracing her company, Jay and Silent Bob passed it on to Harold and Kumar, while she provided the basis for Seth Rogan’s career. Weed has had a long and winding career, and lately that path has led to medical awareness. Even bigger steps were taken as states de-escalated this drug war by decriminalizing, or outright legalizing, her. Doing so has turned state economies around.

As we woke up and stretched our way into the new millennium, minds were changing as eyes were opened. With the loosening laws, schools and scientists had access to legally study this plant. Science chipped away the portrait of Weed as ‘public scourge’ as lies were exhumed. The truth of Weed’s efficacy was brought to light and the exposed lies left a public in shock and disbelief.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy gathered in 2011 to say that the War on Drugs had failed and that a new approach was needed[20].

These revelations point towards a revolution in health care and medicine. The cover-up of IH’s ability to produce paper, textiles, and concrete was deposed. His true threat is to replace lumber and petroleum, a strike at the wellbeing of numerous industries on which our economy currently depends. IH has the potential to seriously stir shit up.

In the end, most of the Twentieth Century`s depiction of Weed has been ideology with no reliance on science. As networks of communication open up, the internet reveals truths and facts that were obscured by disputable laws. The tide turns as more people realize the efficacy of Weed, joining the ranks to change her legal status and empower her to change the way we inhabit the world.

[1] Robinson, Rowan, The Great Book of Hemp (Rochester VA: Park Street Press, 1996), 83

[2] Robinson, Rowan, The Great Book of Hemp, 86

[3] DeAngelo, Steve, The Cannabis Manifesto (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2015), 20

[4] DeAngelo, Steve, The Cannabis Manifesto, 21

[5] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals (Toronto: Scribner, 2012), 24

[6] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 44

[7] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 27

[8] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 25

[9] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 28

[10] http://www.hemp.com/history-of-hemp

[11] http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2912/did-george-washington-and-thomas-jefferson-grow-marijuana

[12] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 54

[13] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 56

[14] Robinson, Rowan, The Great Book of Hemp, 160

[15] Lee, Martin A., Smoke Signals, 33

[16] DeAngelo, Steve, The Cannabis Manifesto, 34

[17] DeAngelo, Steve, The Cannabis Manifesto, 35

[18] DeAngelo, Steve, The Cannabis Manifesto, 36

[19] DeAngelo, Steve, The Cannabis Manifesto, 88

[20] Mallea, Paula, The War on Drugs: A failed experiment (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2014), 32

 

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

A Letter to Mr. Harper – May 1, 2014

534173_481068328649549_2017651816_nDear Mr. Harper,

I haven’t written in a while, so I thought I’d drop you a line. I’ve become quite concerned about your behaviour as Prime Minister. Your country is having a breakdown, both democratically and with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You may want to go back to the books, take a peek at what your duties really are. And put away 1984, it’s not a playbook.

The People are not happy. They talk as if you’ve become an autocrat. Remember in your youth, when Canada represented peacekeepers and defenders of the environment? Back then, our international representations used diplomacy rather than bullying to reach agreements. We drafted peace accords and hosted environment-focused conferences. What happened? You’re party is acting like a bunch of drunken eighteen-year-olds do when the parents leave on holiday.

Some blame your Conservative party for curtsying to the petroleum execs’ needs more than to the citizens’. And, I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got to turn this tar sands thing off. It’s embarrassing. It’s an inferior product that barely makes up for the costs of refining it, and it’s literally killing us. Did you know that a leader that purposely lets his own people die has a name that starts with a D?

I realize that your oil pals give you a nice little pocket-stuffer for giving them so much free access to the land. Who wouldn’t be grateful? But I think that you’ve given over just a bit too much? I mean, who invites the neighbours over to dig up and toxify their back yard? That doesn’t build a very strong relationship. So why not put that little project on hold and look for something else to occupy you and your economic buddies. We can survive without turning our prairies into a wasteland.

Apparently, the truth hurts. Why else take a swipe against science, muzzling them like your MPs and silencing them like a despot? Unlike you, I like science. It’s done the body good. These people do important things and try to save our asses from our own doings. And yet you’re trying to stop them? What gives? And who benefits?

You’re a deceiver, and it robo-looks like you’ve swindled your way into your seat as well. And now you’ve thrown in a Fair Elections Act to take a few more citizens out of the democratic equation. Didn’t I say put that book away?

I’m sorry to hear your whole ‘senate reform’ got shot down by the Supreme Court. It looks like your little ‘appointment’ app is on the fritz. But I imagine you’re already making loophole notes for the next omnibus budget. You show that Supreme Court who’s the boss! You know that’s a whole other load of bitumen you’ve been cramming down the democratic throat.

You need to take a break. From what, I’m not sure because it hasn’t been happening in front of the cameras like it used to. Did you learn this from the Chinese propaganda minister or from watching Rob Ford’s exploits?

Take some time off. We can find some temporary foreign worker to fill in. Just leave them some notes. The same with those ever-obedient Members of Parliament, I think we can get anyone to represent clapping monkey toys that echo whatever script you give them. I don’t know about you, Stevie, but I might have to call this whole friendship off. Sorry pal.

On Protests: The Steps to Solidarity – May 4, 2014

578287_476713402344646_1199282742_nWhat can I say that hasn’t already been said? These pipelines are a danger to the Nature that we rely on in order to feed an economic system that provides us a miniscule proportion of it benefits. So are we here solely to display our unease, projecting dissatisfaction with the government’s favoring of the oil, gas, and economic sectors rather than improving our wellbeing? Where can we go from here that will increase our influence?

We’re here to raise awareness of the issue. I also believe that everyone here has a good understanding of the pipeline dilemma. If not, ask the person next to you. We come here, also, to deepen our understanding of how these projects impact our wellbeing. We come here for the solidarity, knowing our concerns are not only our own but of the entire community’s.

In those terms, we’re also here for the future. Personally, I want to ensure that an ecology remains for our children, grandchildren, and beyond to flourish in. We are living on the legacy of thousands of years of improvements, and it looks like all of those efforts are starting to go to waste. To end this ravaging, we must expand, reorganize, and become a community that we can be proud of.

Our hope lies in our action. By now we realize that our Conservative government will not be working towards the same goal. Just as likely, the media has drawn a line to how in-depth it can cover the damage from the petroleum industry. They do have advertisers and sponsors to appease, which is more their bread-and-butter than the bare truth.

So we are the bullhorn, we must spread the word because there is nobody else. We can give each other these great speeches, but we must now give them to those who won’t listen. This requires different tactics and most likely a huge voluntary organization to reinforce our actions. This is possible, and I have no doubt that our answers lie in our nest of ideas. We consist of a variety of backgrounds and professions, all with different perspectives of how the problem affects them. If we gather and discern the most sensible direction, we have a strategy for winning.

We must speak to our school systems, our business community, and our spiritual societies to energize the cause. We must provide our support to the other causes as they must support us. After all, while we’re fighting for the environment, the anti-Monsanto movement is fighting for food security, the Cannabis movement for fairer laws, and the anti-poverty movement for a better economy. Combined, that’s a lot of support to back our causes.

A larger group bears a greater impact, so we must expand. Social media is too easy to scan and pass over. The best impression comes from eye-to-eye contact, person-to-person. In a way, we must take on the door-to-door fervor of certain religious organizations and spread the word.

Our greatest strength is having the truth as our backing. Peering through the spin, the web of deception, we must look beyond what we’re shown. Continuous study and discussion are vital to keep a step ahead of the competitor. Only then can we distinguish their motives on which to plan an effective response. Again, government assistance is unlikely so we need massive support.

Our biggest obstacle lies within the economics of the situation. How can we take on that much power and that many lawyers? This is where we test our democratic might, requiring politicians with the resolve to fight for the rights of the citizens. We haven’t yet entered that arena, but an election is coming up in 2015, and we can change all that. We must put someone in power who will work with us toward our goals. On a grander scale, our fight isn’t just against the oil industry, it’s for our democracy.

So why are we here? To rally the troops, to recharge our will, to reclaim our land, and protect our wellbeing. And what can I ask of you? Spend some time talking to a stranger, or the person next to you, about what their greatest concern is. Start a community group, a lecture circuit, a contest. We’re a bright group of people, and we must empower our most creative ideas.

From here, we build up our numbers. We gather support. We create a game plan and decide on our counter-offensive. We must also provide the alternatives. Can we create an economy that will protect and sustain our communities, environment and well-being? This question is too big to cover now, but it should direct our questions to the next step.

We are here to influence our fellow citizens, as our representatives have become accustomed to the status quo, with very little vision of a future that reflects true prosperity. If our goal is clear, our facts unblemished, and our will immoveable, we will prevail.

Zombie Fruit and Undead Veggies – March 19, 2014

food04One day I woke up to find out that … I was eating Zombie Food. It tasted like food, but that was just a chemical slight-of-hand played on my brain. It looked edible but they can reproduce any colour of the spectrum, including Nature’s hues. It even smelled good, but I used to think the smell of a fresh shower curtain was nice. The look, taste and texture were all the workings of amazing chemical formulas! So what was I eating if it wasn’t food?

For starters, the food companies take their food and wring out as much product and profit as efficiently possible. Nutrition takes a seat as the active ingredients in whole food are also the main cause of decay. The remedy is to kill off the life support that can potentially spoil their profit margin. These obstructions are the whole reason behind why I eat. The nutrients which cause rot are the nutrients we need. So why are they destroying the healthiness? The short answer is: To extend its shelf life. Convenience is a process for marketing the product, not the wellbeing of the consumer.

And yet, the food industry must appease and convince us to buy their affordable product. Welcome to the world of synthetic enrichment. All those benefits they leached from the whole food have a chemical formula. I was fortifying my health with their made-up vitamins, omega-3s and other such enhancements.

Like Frankenstein’s laboratory, the undead components of food are re-invigorated with an electric jolt of imitation fortification, giving processed food the illusion of benefits. Did I truly benefit? I can’t see how. With the whole food beaten to within a gasp of its life, dismantled, and then reassembled to act like food, I remembered something about being what I eat.

Industry standards demand, unlike Nature, that all their junk look alike. They demand consistent products from our toys to our food, and then trained us to expect it back from them. Food scientists delved into chemicals like a spice rack to accomplish this. One layer must stay in place; this colour has the best test market; taste, look, smell and texture had to be identical from one shipment to the next. Artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, emulsifiers, and an endless array of laboratory leftovers are another multibillion dollar industry layered atop the food companies. As my food lunged for longevity, the implications to my health became questionable.

I figured that there were authorities who protected my health. The United States has the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture, while we have the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to regulate what gets sold as food and pharmaceuticals. However, the funding for these agencies is a mere pebble compared to the food industry’s avalanche of lawyers and lobbyists. How safe is our food when the claims on the labels are lobbied and bought off by the corporations?

As they weakened the standards, my safety became but a thin veil protecting me from the tempestuous assault of Capitalist growth. A side effect being the risk this diet exposes to our health. This well-calculated economic benefit tethers the ever-growing food industry to Big Pharma. The latter has a fix to help us remain functional throughout all the self-inflicted damage we do.

If these two industries ever stopped growing, it could have disastrous implications on the global economy. Our best chance to stay healthy is to grow our own food; an act that goes against economics on par with a lack of patriotism. These industries’ greatest fear is that we stop buying their products and start getting healthy. How concerned should we be for an economy that is dependent on our illness and disease?

The benefits drained from our food cannot be equally synthesized in the laboratory. They can’t reproduce life in the fashion that Nature can. Our bodies require bionutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins from whole food. The body and mind require protein, cholesterol, fiber, carbohydrates and fat to function. The only proper access to these, in a way that the body understands, is to consume organic produce and grass-fed meat.

True food equals true health, and no chemical crutch can improve this function. Our health should not be something that we pursue (and is always just beyond our reach), it is something we should embrace and nurture. In return, our health rewards us.

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.

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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