Do the Right Thing

Today I got involved in a “political” discussion that centred around the oil and gas industry – about keeping the tar sands heavy oil in the ground in Canada or going ahead and building pipelines and getting the product to market.

There were the two predictable sides: we have to keep growing our economy and creating jobs and money and and and.

And the other side – we can’t keep doing this. We are in a climate crisis.

Pretty easy to guess which side I’m on.

The saddest of the arguments that I heard went along the lines of, “But all these other countries aren’t slowing down so we shouldn’t either! Our contribution to carbon is so small, it won’t make any difference if we stop so we should keep going.”

This is crazy sad. I thought of arguments – presented them. And then went away for a walk with Simon and the pups and, as usual, a walk out there in beauty, brought the right answer to me.

There is such a thing as “Doing the right thing.”

Most of us know what that is in our daily lives. Most of us humans (no – I’m not talking about psychopaths and narcissists) have a wonderful inner guidepost. We know when we are doing what is right. It is especially admirable, in my mind, that people do the right thing even when no one is watching – even if no one never knows. People who risk their lives to save children from the gas chambers. People who jump to the front lines of a fire to save people and animals. We have examples around us every day. And people do these “right” things because they know, deep down in a big place in their souls, that doing the right thing is its own reward.

In the end, this is my argument: we keep heavy oil in the ground because it’t the right thing to do. We give up conveniences because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing for the planet, for our children and grandchildren, for the wild things, for the forests and waters – for life.

It’s the right thing for life.

People have sacrificed their lives because it was the right thing to do.

At heart, I believe we are that noble – that we will do the right thing.

Today I spoke lengthily with the local CEO of the Green Party. I will meet with her in person early next week. And this I will bear in mind as I get involved in politics. No matter what, whatever I do or say to help, it will be based on doing the right thing, even when it seems futile, even when the “money interests” say it’s not realistic.

I trust that I will know what the right thing is. Because I am human.

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How to Screw Up

Looking back, I realize that I have screwed up pretty nicely in my life – fairly often – occasionally dramatically.

Today was one of those days. How I could do it is beyond me. But damn, it’s haunting me. You know, one of those occasions that keeps you awake at night thinking, “If I had only….”

In my case – “If I had only read that email thread more carefully.”

Three of us were supposed to hike. I asked my friend if she would pick me up. I never read the email saying she would. And so two of us set out, me wondering why I had not heard back to my query and Sheila wondering why Nicky wasn’t with us. At the end of the hike, I said to Sheila, “I think Nicky’s mad at me.”

Sheila said, “But she said she’d pick you up.”

Me: “!!!???”

She: “Yup – the email said, 8.55.”

Me: “!!?? Shit!”

I came home. Simon said, “Nicky’s not happy.”

Well duh – of course not!

I tend to have a hard time forgiving myself for mistakes. And this was a stupid one. We have a good little hiking group here – I don’t want to throw a spanner into that. I hope I can set it right.

I’ll do my best.

Certainly entirely my bad.

In other news – I’ve heard from the local Green Party person and that work is about to begin.

And in other news – it was Nicky who recommended Susan, our new realtor – damn she’s amazing! Simon and I are thrilled with all the work she’s putting in. And if we do elect to stay in this area, she’ll be the one who’ll find us the right place.

Other news? Well, winter is making itself felt more and more. I think I can survive it. As long as no more snow falls. HAHAHA!

Okay – snow will fall. That’s what Sheila and I were doing today – scoping out trails nearby and flagging them (Sheila did the magic flagging – ribbons on everything that didn’t move). It’s a good new spot we have to get outdoors that’s close by.

More writing this winter – and if I make it past the end of the year in one piece, I think I’ll survive it.

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Burning Bridges

Before I say anything about today, I want to post this link. This man – John Pavlovitz – has put into words so beautifully the way I feel. I honestly can’t say it half as well.

So – got that handled. Which, I suppose, leaves me with not very much to say. Except that Simon and I took the puppies to Bannock Point and we did the upper Awesome Trail in beautiful sunny weather and it was a great dog walk.

Abby Wilson posted a snowshoe up White Queen and it’s clear that the snow is perfect to start getting those snowshoes out – so – in a few days, White Queen it is!

Other than that, it’s all about continuing on the path – feels like a pretty straight line at this point.

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This is what Harry Patch said, the oldest person to survive WW1, when asked about his experience. “Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder”.

I believe he was correct. I also believe this song is correct. Written by Edwin Starr – famously sung by Bruce Springsteen:

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why’all
War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives
I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much too short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there’s got to be a better way
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it
huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing

I could make a good case that war is actually good for one thing: making rich people richer, lining the pockets of the military/industrial complex, arms manufacturers and corporatists on Wall Street. While young men were dying in the Second World War, American arms manufacturers were doing brisk business with Hitler.

In Yemen, thousands of women and children are dying and starving – arms from the Saudis supplied by America – and Canada.

The list is a long one: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam. Young men and women die. Children die. All for the sake of profit.

It’s Remembrance Day – more aptly Armistice Day and there are ceremonies everywhere. Facebook is awash in red poppies. And rightly so. The young ones who died – most of them fooled into believing they were dying for our freedom. They were beautiful young people. They did what they thought was right.

Lest we forget.

Really? If we actually, truly remembered, we would not be waging war today. And we are. We would not be electing fascists to run governments. We would not be putting up with politics as usual. We would not be destroying a planet that these people who died were trying to save.

When it comes to war and arms and the intent of countries that go to war, I am a cynic. No amount of jingoism will move me.

We might begin to be saved when we tear down all the walls and phony borders and begin to act as one humanity working together to save our mother earth and to make this a safe, peace-filled and beautiful place for all of us to live.

Until then, it’s a show of colours and words and poppies and tomorrow it will be business as usual.

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More Snow on Butter

It was a good group: we got a late-ish start (10ish) but up we went through the snow, expecting no views. But when we got to the top, most of the clouds had lifted and it was a beautiful spot for lunch. Awfully nice to hike with Peter and Ingrid again – two of my favourite people.

As many newsletter writers like to say at the end of the article: “A good time was had by all” (I know – groan!)

Other thoughts. I’ve been keeping a close eye on myself as things change – as I become more aware of the world around me. (Yeah I know – at my age, I’m a bit late to the game – but still…) I had an interesting reaction to a FB post this morning. I called Andrew Scheer a scumbag. A man I know replied, (accurate quote) “Goody no name calling!”

My initial reaction was that he thought I was calling names on his son who posted it. I explained that this was not the case. And then I thought about it – no, he could not have mistaken it for that. I also noticed that a man also used the same word in relation to the post – but I was the only one ordered to not call names.

I messaged back that I was not okay with being told what to say or not say.

What happened after that is irrelevant – it’s all okay.

But this is the thing. In my life, many, many times, I have worked for people or had male colleagues who felt extraordinarily comfortable with telling people (women for the most part) what to do or how to behave or what to say. I generally just nodded and kept going. I’m pretty sure that I hardly noticed. It was so damn common. It was simply a fact of life.

No more.

But what interests me the most is how do people do that? I mean, where and when do they “get it” that it’s okay to tell people what to say or how to be? How do they understand that they have this right? This authority?

I can’t imagine it. At the very least, a “please” is nice. But what is it? Is it white male privilege that they think, “Yeah – I’m just gonna tell this person to—- (fill in the blank) and then expect compliance. This actually blows my mind.

I did, by the way, admit that yeah – calling names is childish and I could have done better. Because that’s true. And it’s a good point. But it would be a much better point, if it was discussed – a thoughtful discussion. Yup.

So after that, I watched myself today – lots of conversations on the 6-hour hike. In many of those talks, I heard myself editing my thoughts and opinions and phrasing things in a way that would be acceptable/kind/pleasing – I’m honestly not sure of the word I am searching for. But it’s also true that I have self-edited a good part of my life in aid of being liked/accepted/thought well of.

I’m not saying this is all bad. I think politeness and kindness are good things. But what I also think I am doing is making myself smaller in some of these exchanges.

This bears more thinking – more observation. As I said, I’m late to the party, but also – perhaps it is never too late to learn and grow and become more.

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Rules of Engagement

There it is – the first snowfall of the year. And by that I mean the first snowfall where we actually live – not up to where we hike. Yep – Simon activated the snowblower today. I dug out my winter boots. Shanara rolled in it and didn’t want to come inside. Abby cuddled up to the fire and wouldn’t go outside.

In other words – a perfectly normal winter scene.

I started writing a new book today – only a couple of pages but I like the way it’s starting, so that’s good.

And I have been frantically engaged in online activities – petition singing, sharing stuff, and basically, not backing down.

A few things are different for me lately. And I don’t mean different by small degrees – rather large by my measurements.I think I mentioned this a week or more ago – that I used to be such a “people pleaser” – so wrapped up in what other people thought of me or if they liked me, especially if they were people I admired or who had authority. That’s pretty much gone.

I’ve found my voice.

But there’s another thing I have noticed in the last few days. I am more willing to engage – and I don’t mean in arguments. Let me explain. There are awful things in this world – things that hurt my heart. The killing of a rhino in a zoo for the sake of its horn – heartbreaking. I never wanted to see stuff like that. Oh I did see it – hard to escape. But the hurt was almost debilitating for me.

No more. I am ready to engage. No more suffering quietly. I am ready to shout out my anger. Whatever needs to be done to stop this madness – this utter insanity, I am ready to engage. The time for licking my petty personal wounds is gone. I can’t afford that sort of indulgence any longer. The world is crying out for all of us to step up and get past our personal suffering. No one is suffering more that Gaia herself and we have to fight.

So I’ll fight. If I am vilified, so be it. I don’t give a damn. I am only one person but if I can have the smallest influence, then that is a life worth living.

I will continue to find ways to help. However big or small that is, I’ll find a way. And if people unfriend me, so be it. I have, at long last, learned to distinguish between my problems and those of everyone else. I’ll deal with mine – the rest I have no power over.

Mostly, I am learning to listen to my inner voice and follow it. It’s about time.

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Sun at Bannock Point

A cold day but a beauty. Simon and I took the dogs on the Awesome Trail at Bannock Point. Wonderful day for photos! And the pups had a good time too.

In other news, Susan McKenzie is our new realtor. We’re pretty darn impressed with her. She knows her stuff and knows the area (seems to be related to half the valley!) and we think she’s going to work hard for us. Interesting: when we listed with Brain, I shrugged. I just didn’t think anything was going to happen. With Susan, I feel differently – I think she’s actually going to make things happen for us. So hurrah!

In  other other news, Simon has been working on the water box and his back seems to be a touch better after our walk today – movement is the thing.

And in far other news – yeah, don’t ask me to stay away from politics for long these days – I am feeling frustrated with the Green Party. Oh I’ll keep voting for them because I like their policies and because I know for certain that nothing is more important than the environment – but gosh, they have some work to do to get their organization sorted.

Three weeks ago I sent an email offering my services to volunteer. I had to email again – and then I emailed to my local person and then emailed head office again because my local person did not respond and has still not responded – and now all is quiet.


Come on folks – if you’re busy, shoot off a quick email to say so and indicate that you’ll get in touch later.

You’re a small party. You need people. Even if it’s an old fogey like me – you have no idea how much we can contribute. So for heaven’s sakes respond!

Yeah – really.

And that’s my rant for the day. Time to get on to other things I need to get done.

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