When John Kennedy asked Werner Von Braun what it would take to build a rocket that would carry a man to the moon and return him safely to earth, his answer was simple and direct. “The will to do it." Do we have the power of will with regards to our oceans, our rivers, our lakes, our water, our life?
Remove any woman of her freedom and of her dignity and see what happens to her. But don’t just do it once. Do it day in and day out. Starve her and reward her with food only when she complies to your commands. Now do this to a dolphin for human entertainment. How would you expect this non-human person would cope?
Dolphins are “killers”. The secret is out. They sneak around in the dark depths of a SeaWorld aquarium like a gang of bored teenagers looking for trouble. Or are they just tricksters who go along with human games to get fish because they are just as basically lazy as the people who sit in the stands drinking super-sized Slurpies waiting for the enslaved species to entertain them with flips and squeaks, right?
Speculation that Enbridge’s Line 9 carrying DilBit from the Alberta Tar Sands is still leaking after the rupture last week at the Richview Transformer Station has caused massive public demonstrations at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill calling for the end of the Tar Sands and the shipping of DilBit across the country. Environmental groups world-wide are slamming the Canadian government for keeping the initial findings of the Richivew investigation quiet. What are they hiding?
Monica sits in her kitchen grabbing a late dinner after a long day responding to 911 calls. She hasn’t eaten since noon and neither has she had a break since the tornado hit Pearson airport at 3:18 this afternoon then ripped through the northwest end of the city. The airport fire is under control but why is the transformer station still burning?
Tim’s hands are pasted to his travel mug as he listens. He takes a sip of his coffee, then spits it violently into the garbage pail. “Tastes like gasoline.” The ground shakes. “What was that?”
Can you hear her? The Boreal Forest? The delicate feather that will tip the scale towards mass extinction? The migration nookie nook for half of ALL North American bird species? Where the chicks get to frolic, play, and thrive? No? Would you like to know how?
When you have a water leak from the ceiling in your ground floor condo or apartment what do you do? Water is fluid and stealth. She slips through the most unexpected cracks (many a plumber can attest to that as they bend over to fix a leaky sink) and weaves her way through the most unpredictable of places. What if the leak is underground?
I thought it would be interesting today to anthropomorphize a corporation since I love to do that so much with the animals and other creatures of our planet. Heck, I even like to give Earth the characteristics of a graceful warrior and serene being. What traits then could we attribute to a corporate entity?
Just then the ground starts to shake. “Honestly! 7am on a Sunday morning?” You slam your laptop shut and head to the window expecting to catch construction crews banging away on the half-finished condo next door. But instead you come eye-to-eye with something else.
The logic corporations use to just keep digging is that our population is growing and we must satisfy the needs of all those billions wanting to live the unsustainable lifestyle that westerners live. But do we really need more? Or are we suffering from a profit-seeking paradigm that needs a sanity check?
Lorenzo adds a short introduction as to how they came about the envelope and carefully pulls out what looks like a legal contract on Oxley Corporation letterhead. He quickly flips through the details and stops on the final page. “Zoom in on this will you, Robert?”
The Oxley Estate gates are in view and soon a suspiciously muscular butler invites Amanda into the foyer where Angela, Robert’s mother, is seated quietly wearing a stunning emerald green fishtail gown. “I believe you two are acquainted,” a voice echoes form the top of the spiral staircase. Mr. Oxley descends into the marble foyer and offers each lady one of his arms. What else is up his sleeve?
Lorenzo hands the camera back to Robert and joins his girlfriend at the couch. “Seems Mr. Oxley picked a likeness of himself as the messenger,” referring to the corporate mogul’s propensity to hide behind a fabricated public image. “What’s it holding?”
Amanda’s face moves into the frame as a crowd of cameras and microphones scurry back up the stone steps to assault their next target. “After 2 weeks of closed negotiations, there is still no statement from the Oxley Corporation on the state, the nature, or even on whom the charges are being laid. The only information we have at this point is that the Columbus mining operation is still on hold and the workers are still being detained at the site.” But why?
In a country as rich in minerals as Canada one would imagine that international exploitation would be unnecessary. However, this seems not to be the case. It’s much more convenient to pollute someone else’s backyard rather than your own, especially if the neighbour’s eyes hunger over the promises of easy short term riches. But where's the accountability?
It’s your sunday and you’re stoked. You’ve been thinking about this moment all week long after yet another 6 day week working hard for someone else’s dream. Well 5 days of actual slaving and 1 day of zombie brain. You lie there in bed and yell: “Let the inspiration come!” But nothing happens. How come?
How we choose and what we choose to eat is completely within our control. The only thing stopping us is that our taste buds got used to certain flavours. They can easily get unused to them. The question is, do we have the will do to so?
If you are at all familiar with Monty Python, you may have seen the movie The Meaning Of Life. Granted the humour is not always palatable at the dinner table but it is still hilariously ridiculous. So along those same fishing lines, let’s look at what is happening in our oceans because although you might like the taste of Skinny Mermaid Salmon and even buy into claim that it is a sustainable fish when grown in closed containment facilities or inland, it still contributes to the “one wafer-thin sardine” problem. But that's not all.
The sun blasts into the indoor park as Selina and Victor’s shared ocean paradise daydream quickly fades. The sound of parents transferring their children’s care to the school teaching staff quickly turns into a pirate who sets fire to the projection screen of their bonded minds. Selina jerks away her hand and smothers Victor with a desperate embrace as she attempts to save him from an agonizing death which only exists in her mind. Is it too late?
Selina stares dreamily across the indoor field to the window at the far end. The sun is just about to begin its upward swing. Soon the generators will switch on and the air-tight community of buildings and walkways will come alive. A canned cool artificial breeze will fill the city— the closest thing to a fresh fall morning any of its residents, except for Selina, have ever experienced. “Remember, Victor, how we used to watch the sunrise from our villa in Costa Rica?” What went wrong?
The anger is difficult to contain at times, but years of repressing it and routine medical treatment for the resulting depression has helped Selina manage her insomnia somewhat. She fiddles through her purse and pulls out a plastic box containing an indistinguishable mess of “food”. She plays with it for a while, feeling rather apathetic about the whole feeding process, as she contemplates her miserable human existence. Had it been her choice, she would have selected otherwise but what could she have done to prevent this?
When it comes to food choices we need octopus arms to count them and then some. In fact, I am convinced that two-third of all Americans secretly have 6 extra arms pasted against their chest which magically bust through their shirts at the all-you-can-eat buffet when the other third of Americans aren’t watching. How else would more than two-thirds (68.8 %) of adults be considered overweight or obese and then half of those actually be obese?
Inspiration is that exhilaration we feel when we are one with everything and everyone as we transcend the laws of space and time. And what better day than on a sunday to tap into the universal creativity that is within you and I?
The population of the state of Texas is literally imploding in density while simultaneously exploding in numbers. The cities are becoming stars that spread human-induced global warming outwards, scorching the surrounding land and creating hard crusty regions where there were once grasslands. Now where's the beef?
Nan and Sam are running through the darkness with a flock of roadrunners in hot pursuit. Sam reaches into her basket from time to time and pitches something that distracts the speedsters momentarily but their numbers are too huge to make much of a dint in the charge. A panting Nan attempts to keep a vigil on for scorpions as she runs but it is no use. The birds are everywhere. And what does Sam have in her basket anyway?
Nan stands frozen and shivering in the desert night staring in horror at the scorpion army seemingly locked for battle in front of her. If she could scream she would no doubt wake up her parents sleeping soundly in their heritage home just a quarter mile away, but her voice is stuck somewhere between her larynx and her tonsils. A meek whimper is the only sound that she manages to squeak out as she keeps a vigilant eye to the stingers ahead. But why aren't they moving?
The thought of heading out in the middle of the night into the cold Coachella Desert brings images of scorpions to Nan’s mind— little armies of stingers marching in unison looking for water. The scene is the stuff nightmares are made of, more specifically, it’s the stuff her own nightmares are made of. Ever since the Colorado river dried up things are no longer as they used to.
On those crusty deserted lands there is nothing like lying on a sandy beach relaxing with a cool drink listening to surfer tunes. There are only the sounds of insects and the occasional tourists uttering explicatives while thumbing it on the side of the highway because they decided to blast their air conditioning without paying attention to their gas gauge. Whoops! Why is this happening and what can we do about it?
Imagine for a moment that the skies are overcast, like today in Toronto, and you are pining for the joy a little sunshine brings into your life. Unfortunately, the sun has decided to take a much needed break from your neighbourhood so you’re left digging deep into your reserves to muster up the energy you need to get through the day. What if you had your own personal sun-in-a-box?
The truth is we have a love/hate relationship with the sun. We love it in the cold winter months as we sip a hot cocoa après-ski but we hate it when we get into the car in our short-shorts and toast our toosh on the hot leather seats because the tree moved. When you think of the word sun, what vision comes to your mind? What about fossil fuels? We have enough oil to last out through the transition to clean energy so what’s our excuse?
It’s coming on to the ducking hour and I’m just returning from a final quick walk with my floppy-eared duck hunter. At this time of day, the creatures of the night are getting into position. They take advantage of those who cannot see in the dark, of those who require artificial light to guide them because of their habitual over-dependence on one sense. They sneak up from behind with their marsupial vision and often scare the be-geezes out of them. Could they be ducks?
Forums such as International Water Week are extremely important for discussing issues, presenting scientific findings, and forging relationships between benefiting parties, but do they really change our individual relationship with water itself? Isn’t that where the problem lies in the first place? And what is that relationship?
If you answered a medieval family clan from Scotland, then you would be onto something but you wouldn’t likely win a spelling bee. Your spellchecker however might give you the thumbs up. So what exactly is a Steward?
Right now the ducks are on the move. They are traveling Gangnam style all over my brain. They are traveling to places I’ve been, places I am heading to, and places I don’t even know exist yet, picking up ducks of all different shapes and sizes along the way, each of them carrying a little golden egg. What treasures live inside these eggs?
As women we spend a great deal of time waiting for things. History has led us to believe that it is our fate. Our valiant knights in shining armour even had a term for us: ladies in waiting. Ooooo. Sounds romantic doesn't it? The Queen didn't think so. She was allergic to waiting. Red, oozing hives were not a good look for her. But for the rest of us?
How can one person reverse the damage we have done to our water, our soil, our air, our fellow creatures, and ourselves? Great leaders have pushed humanity’s collective consciousness higher. Think of the impact of Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, or Mother Theresa. But the challenges we face today feel bigger than all of them combined, so why bother?