Happy Earth Day, Mr. Prime Minister.

It has been my intent, of late, to be a kinder, gentler person.  I’m sort of feeling like I don’t have a choice.  All the edges around me seem a little jagged and jarring.  I’m more than a little hair-trigger and hyper-sensitive right now.

None of this is terribly surprising.  I still feel, pretty much every morning, as though I’m going to check my email (as one does) and find something in the inbox from Dad.  There won’t be, of course.  But the way in which I react to the world has a lot to do with the way in which he reacted to the world.

I have to wonder what he would be thinking about this latest move.

Dad spent much of his adult life involved in the oil industry- in one capacity or other.  This background brought dimensions and perspectives to our discussions of fossil fuels, sustainability and environmental concerns that I might not otherwise have entertained.

We rely on them ol’ bones- but this isn’t even really about whether or not we need to be doing more to foster the development of alternate sources of energy.  Take it as a given that we do.  Have to.  That the reality is that fossil fuels are limited in supply and increasingly hard to access- whether for reasons of scarcity or political lines on a map.

Dad isn’t here to temper my response.  And, to be honest, I’m not really convinced that he would have done.

Harper’s government went and did this.

And, as a result, he’s done it again.  Made me so freakin mad that all my good intentions about not commenting on the particular idiocies of particular political leaders has flown right out the window.

In an uncannily timed piece of true, poetic beauty that can only have come from the leader of Harper’s Canada, today, Earth Day, the government announced that they will be removing humpback whales from the protection of endangered species legislation.

“The government sent out 312 consultation letters and got 22 responses back.

Only five were in favour of the new designation — a total made up of two unidentified B.C. government ministries, one tourism organization, one environmental non-government organization, and one “unknown source.”

Of the other 17, six environmental groups, three academics, two tourism industry organizations, one First Nations organization and a single “unknown source” were opposed. Another four — two academics, one First Nations, and another “unknown” — were undecided. In several instances, the undecided said insufficient information was available.’

Why?

‘The decision removes a major legal hurdle that the environmental group Ecojustice said stood in the way of the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring 550,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude from Alberta to Kitimat.’

It seems that Harper and his bought-and-paid-for science folks missed the Star Trek Movie Marathon that was on cable this weekend.  Especially #4- The Voyage Home.  You know, the one where the crew have to journey back to 1984 to collect a couple of humpbacks in order to save humanity from its short-sighted drive for economic superiority and conspicuous consumption?

Jebus.  The irony.

He also seems to have missed this week’s installment of my new fave show, Cosmos, which happened to be largely about the ways in which corporations and/or governments deliberately mislead the public regarding scientifically demonstrable facts that impact the environment.

Here in the WordPress World, Donna Parker, over at yadadarcyyada.com, has some great insights about Earth Day- including this extremely distressing little nugget of info:

‘There are places in the world, including Alberta (Home of the OilSands), etc. where some people, including members of the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Coalition, celebrate the opposite of Earth Hour, Earth Day, Green Week. For example, during Earth Hour some Albertans actually run all their appliances, vehicles, etc. to burn as much energy and fuel as possible. Some do the same for Earth Day. Seriously. I know I live in the same country as them, but I really think we exist on different planes of dimension, at least, I hope so.’

Wha?

On top of that, Bill Moyers’ morning reads included links to stories about things like the majority of Americans not ‘buying’ the Big Bang, the fact that FOUR YEARS LATER the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is as much as disaster as when it happened, and the largely ignored fact that concern for the environment and economic prosperity are NOT, actually, mutually exclusive.

The day before yesterday I started a post- that I intended to finish and publish tonight- about Hell.  As a place.  As the place of residence of our Devilish Friend.  A place I don’t believe exists (since I don’t believe in the Devil Dude).

But.

All this (imagine me waving my arms in the air in crazy despair and desperation)... I don’t even know what to call it… willful delusion and determined deceit makes discussions of imaginary lands devoted to the eternal punishment of wrongdoers seem at once inadequate and renders it a place I kinda wish DID exist.  In certain, very specific cases.  For certain, very specific people.

Today, all I can say is WHAT.  THE.  HELL?

Seriously.  WHAT is going on?!

‘Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs:
“What’s going on?”

Unlike the Grunge-y and complacently defeatist angst of the Non Blonde response to the question, we are long past the point where we can ‘pray every single day for a revolution.’

Prayers ain’t gonna cut it, folks.

‘And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages
on the depths of the seven seas,
and through the salt they reel with drunk delight
and in the tropics tremble they with love
and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.
Then the great bull lies up against his bride
in the blue deep of the sea’

Weep not, whales.  There is a sea change in the air.  It’s moving slowly, but the voices are getting inexorably louder.  The desperation of those who seek to further- increasingly illicitly- the financial stability of the few to the exclusion of the many while exploiting both the environment and the inaction of those who remain ignorant (willfully or otherwise) of the danger in which they place us all, is reaching fever pitch as more and more nonsensical initiatives receive their due vilification in a growing number of public forums.

Let this be one of them.

and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15350#sthash.7NdGCJaY.dpuf
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12 comments on “Happy Earth Day, Mr. Prime Minister.

  1. Doobster418 says:

    From that link to the Atlantic article: “A majority of Americans don’t believe in even the most fundamental discovery of 20th century physics, which 99.9 percent of members of the National Academies of Sciences do: that our universe began with an enormous explosion, the Big Bang.” Does that really surprise you? Most Americans are gullible and have embraced the mysticism and mythologies of religious indoctrination. So I am not surprised by that.

    But what those anti-earth day idiots in Alberta (and elsewhere) did, that I just can’t understand.

    • colemining says:

      Doobster- it DOES surprise me. I continue to hold onto some level of optimism that we are using all this access we have to information for some level of good. So I just can’t wrap my head around around the persistence of examples of willful ignorance. I keep thinking that the numbers HAVE to be exaggerated- although the preponderance of evidence to the contrary grows ever larger. Unfortunately.

      I can’t imagine that sort of reactionary behaviour. It certainly isn’t the action of mature, thinking adult-type-people, but there are those (in Alberta and elsewhere) who are so tied to the economy of one industry that their refusal to see its detraction is unwavering. Terrifying.

      Thanks for reading. Hope to find a little more optimism for the next post…

  2. LindaGHill says:

    Hear, Hear! Makes you want to rap them upside the head, doesn’t it?

  3. I love the cartoon at the top of your post. When I hear about things like the downgrading of humpback whales and the anti-Earth Day stuff, I find myself thinking that those who believe Homo sapiens was plopped onto Earth from *somewhere else* may be right.
    I hope you can find some optimism too; pessimists like me can use some well-founded optimism.

    • colemining says:

      Audrey- I do still try my best to believe in people. There are enough dissenting voices to the activities of politicians like those heading up our current government(s) that I can generally retain my optimism. Saw a great US Senator on Jon Stewart last night, actually. Elizabeth Warren had some great things to say about the voices of ‘regular’ people starting to outshout those of the super-wealthy- with their myriad lobbyists, lawyers and paid-for scientists. We need to bring those with comparable voices to the forefront here at home.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. bethbyrnes says:

    I hope you have occasion to watch the James Cameron Showtime series of documentaries entitled “Years of Living Dangerously”. One of the biggest take-aways (hate that term) to me is the fact that we must leave 80% of the currently known fossil fuel materials in the ground or risk raising the earth’s temperature a deadly and irreversible 4F in the next fifty years. If we do, life on this planet will end as we know it. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of survival.

    No one talks about the biggest threat to the environment: slashing and burning forests, especially in Indonesia. That practice, in order to plant relatively short-lived palm oil tree plantations, is releasing thousands of years of stored CO2 into the atmosphere around the clock. Deadly, but ignored by the media. All in the name of quick profit for corrupt governments.

    There is now serious competition, price- and practicability-wise from solar and secondarily wind energy, so there are fewer and fewer reasons to feel strangle-held by the oil and gas industries.

    Americans (US) are burying their heads in the tar sands. So integral to our economy have these outdated forms of energy been that people are clinging to it for dear life. They just re-create the world to fit their (largely) Old Testatment view of life on this planet. It saddens me when people have to lie to themselves, individually or collectively. It is the hallmark of unconsciousness and thus they relinquish the one and only trait that separates human from all other species: the potential for self awareness.

    As for the whales, I hope I don’t have to eschew Canada the way I do Japan. But then again, as a committed vegan, I can hardly accept the torture of billions of factory farm animals in my country, either.

    Sigh! Thank you Cole, as always for an astute and timely post.

    • colemining says:

      Beth- I will certainly look for ‘Years of Living Dangerously’- although I’m not sure that I can take much more evidence of our continuing willingness to ignore the scientific facts and realities in favour of spurious ‘economic factors’.

      I’m (unfortunately) not terribly surprised by the Harper’s gov’t stance regarding animals on the endangered list- but I think what really got me going was the timing of the announcement. The fact that it happened on Earth Day smacks of the arrogance we’ve come to associate with this government. There are editorials today suggesting that the PR associated with this decision will cause them issues in the long run, but I’m finding it hard to believe, at the moment anyway, that enough people are paying close enough attention to these things the government keeps doing.

      Sigh indeed. Thank you, as always, for the insightful response.

  5. I hate to use this word but there really are a lot of incredibly stupid people around. It’s excusable to not understand things that are beyond us and whatever intelligence level we may possess. It’s even understandable that people become so stressed with scratching a living that time and effort to be more informed may be lacking. What defies logic, common sense and wit of any description is to stand in a storm and say, what rain? That there are those who deliberately run up their own bills to make a point is priceless stupidity. That there are those who sacrifice the world to economics is, to me, evil. And we don’t have to look to any devil for that. Unless, of course, it’s the devil within. And there seem to be a lot of those about.
    I could scream at the unwillingness of ‘authority’ to effect changes that are beneficial to all for the long term good. Our only hope at the moment is to see to it that the authority is removed and replaced with strong voices that care for more than the bottom line.
    In Scotland this year we are, I hope, about to remove the elite who don’t give a damn to be replaced by a people’s parliament. It is a groundswell movement that is occurring. It’s exciting and hopeful in a way that I haven’t felt about politics in such a long time.
    There is hope, Cole, because those who are acting and speaking are the ordinary citizens who have had enough. And they refuse to see another parliament of the ilk that has prevailed.
    You might even be here to witness it happen in September.
    I’m so excited at the prospect of what changes may be possible and, if witnessed, may reach beyond a little country like ours. If Scotland can do this, I hope people will say, so can we.
    Change is in the air. Hang on to hope and optimism but keep your voice raised too. 🙂 x

    • colemining says:

      Anne-Marie- I, too, try to avoid the word as much as possible, but sometimes it is truly the only appropriate descriptor. You’ve hit the nail on the head- too many people are avoiding pushing for change for unacceptable reasons- like the ones you’ve cited. That’s irresponsibility to the nth degree.

      The things that are moving in Scotland are exciting- and a great source for hope. I will watch eagerly and with great interest to see what unfolds (perhaps over a pint while visiting the very place itself)- and how the example might be applied elsewhere.

      I maintain hope- as much as I can- although certain things do certainly set my blood to boiling. And make me want to shout- so I suppose that’s all to the good.

      Thanks for the read- and the comment! xo

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