Entries Tagged 'Personal' ↓
August 30th, 2010 — Canada, Climate Change, Economy, Peak Oil, Personal, The Way Home
Well. Time to eat some crow.
A couple of weeks ago I slagged Lana (and fellow NDP MLA John Horgan) for standing in the way of what we really need, which is rapid and decisive action on climate change and peak oil. Their party will, in fact, contribute to both climate change and our dependence upon oil by continuing to subsidize it.
That said, it is pointless, unfair, and ungentlemanly to harshly criticize well-meaning people who are trying to do their best in our broken system. Lana and John, both of whom I know personally though not well, are good people. I don’t agree with everything they do; I think subsidizing oil and gas is shortsighted and foolish.
And it’s a very large but.
Our political system is broken. I have written as much elsewhere, and will do so again in my forthcoming book, The Way Home. (Tentatively subtitled: You Can’t Get There from Here, or, what you should be doing to protect yourself and your family against the coming economic, environmental, and social collapse. Cheery, no?)
I wish she would follow-through on some very important promises; at one point, she had asked Guy Dauncey and me to serve on an advisory group to help her with environmental issues. That never happened, and we could have been of some help. As an almost trivial example, Lana was “named “runner up” as Community Leader in the annual CFAX awards for her campaign to replace disposable plastic bags with reusable ones.” (Almost amusing, considering CFAX leans heavily toward climate change denial.) Had I been advising her, I would have suggested that instead all bags should be compostable. What’s the point in replacing disposable bags with ones that last longer but still ultimately end up in the landfill? That still sounds like disposable to me.
Had I been offering suggestions, I would have suggested that someone in the government go talk to companies that make compostable products and ask them if they would locate a plant in BC if a law were passed requiring all ‘disposable’ bags to be compostable. I bet they would. It’s a guaranteed market.
The point is, why am I being so hard on a well-meaning person who is doing her best within a broken system? Lana understands the danger of climate change. She is, I have no doubt, working hard within our system, which includes that of her party, to do the right thing.
It is unlikely to be enough. Ideally, all the well-meaning people who ‘get it’ would go on ‘strike, a la Atlas Shrugged.* If only all the Lana Pophams and John Horgans (and Brian Gordons) would go on strike, would refuse to serve a corrupt political system, surely the masses would be forced to confront reality, would rebel against the self-serving crooks who largely populate our political landscape, and finally start selecting people of wisdom over those of substance….
It is an idle and ridiculous dream at this point, and as someone committed to embracing reality, I must apologize to Ms. Popham (and Mr. Horgan). If Lana stepped aside, someone would rush to fill her place, likely someone much less worthy. I would infinitely rather have Lana as my MLA than that person.
I accused Lana of being an obstacle to the change that is necessary. That was unfair. In an ideal world, she would be. But we don’t live in an ideal world. All the wise people who ‘get it’ are not going to go on strike and force a confrontation with reality. We can’t even get it together enough to speak with one voice, never mind actually act in concert for the good of humanity and the planet.
So, all this said, I am glad that Lana is my MLA, and I apologize to her, publicly, for my harsh words. Do I think her party, if elected, will do what is necessary to at least mitigate some of the coming damage due to climate change and peak oil? Sadly, no. But Lana is doing her best within a broken system, and I can hardly ask for more.
* For those who have not plodded through Ayn Rand’s opus, the premise is that those who actually do positive things go on strike. In Rand’s view, these people are people like steel and railroad magnates.
April 26th, 2010 — Canada, Climate Change, Collapse, Economy, Peak Oil, Personal, Solutions, The Way Home
Those of you who follow me know that I have recently ceased making posts urging large-scale reform. The reasons for that are fairly simple, but they involve a psychological hurdle to get over.
I have been communicating with James Howard Kunstler, John Michael Greer, and David Holmgren, all of whom I have interviewed, about a Wise Action Plan. The goal was for us to agree on this Plan and then publicly pronounce it in an effort to get some sensible action on peak oil and climate change. Initially, I urged a response that included a revitalization of rail, large-scale wind or solar farms, and other actions that require the federal government to take a strong leadership role.
While the others generally agreed such actions would be a good idea, especially if they have been started 20 or more years ago, two of the three thought they were a waste of time. They had two reasons for this:
- It’s too late. We needed to be getting off oil while we still had a surplus. Now that we’ve hit peak oil, diverting any oil to build solar panels means there is less for cars or crops.
- They ain’t gonna. What politician is going to do that, barring an emergency situation? (Emergency is here defined as rioting, fuel rationing, or other severe measures.)
To be fair to our politicians, it’s hard to get elected telling people their lifestyle is going to change drastically, including many of them giving up their cars. The problem is partly cultural; we want what we want, and we’re going to keep electing politicians who give it to us until that is no longer possible.
And to be brutally honest, most of us have bought into the idea of unending growth and improvement, that the market will find solutions to concerns like oil depletion, and that if it were really that bad, somebody would do something.
At that point, we will be well into the emergency.
It has been difficult for me to give up on the idea of leadership from above. I ran federally as a Green Party of Canada candidate last go-round, but wouldn’t do it again. Even in the fantastic unlikelihood that the Greens got a majority next election, they could not do what needs to be done. Still too many people will resist change, and this resistance will be encouraged and financed – by vested interests.
Think Globally, Act Locally
As a result, I’ve gone local. Leadership is going to have to come from the grassroots, from us, from those who understand the reality and are willing to take some action. I believe that every village, town, city, and region should create a Transition Initiative to get off oil.
This is acting locally, and it is vitally important for your survival. Local resilience is ‘in,’ and for good reason. When oil prices go up, imports of everything – including food – are going to get more expensive and harder to get. If you’re already shopping at the farmer’s market, for example, you have helped support a local farmer who will now support you as options in the supermarkets get scarcer and pricier.
This is my new Wise Action Plan:
- Start or join a Transition Initiative in your area.
- Develop personal self-reliance, which includes everything from starting a garden to insulating your house.
If we’re lucky and good, these local movements will take off, multiply like viruses, and infect the planet. These local movements will bond together and require their governments to do the right thing – to protect us. They will do this not by lobbying or influence-peddling, but by sheer strength of numbers.
March 17th, 2010 — General, Personal
Apologies for recent infrequent posting. I’ve been working mainly on two things:
- That “Get a free house idea” mentioned in a previous post. I may have an opportunity to be a developer/builder, which would get me that mortgage-free solar house.
- The Way Home book and presentation. The presentation is in the works for April at the University of Victoria, and New Society Publishers (many of which books should be on your reading list) wants to see the manuscript for the book.
These two things have been consuming much of my time! I will be back soon; first article up will likely be on why what was previously considered a middle class lifestyle is now not possible for most people.
February 22nd, 2010 — Personal
Note: All of the topics below and many more will be greatly expanded upon in the soon-to-be-released ebooks:
- Suggestions for Unattached Men
- On Becoming a Man
To be released as a set.
There are three previous articles in this set. If you liked this one, you’ll probably also want to read:
- Suggestions for Unattached Men
- Suggestions for Unattached Men II – Getting Lots of Dates and Flirting
- Suggestions for Unattached Men III – First dates
Do NOT turn into a wuss on the first or any subsequent date, or even once married. (That is one important thing I have learned so far about marriage.)
The prime example of wuss behaviour? Not having an opinion. Women hate when a man says, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” They hate it. You will lose major points, meaning the woman’s attraction to you will go down. In fact, women are not keen on any expression that amounts to “I dunno.” How often did John Wayne say that? Never. If he didn’t know, he planned to find out or he didn’t care – and he had a good reason for not caring. If you don’t know who John Wayne was, think about strong males. At no point does a real man say “I dunno.” Women look for confidence and ambition; “I dunno” expresses neither. Continue reading →