Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 18, No. 6, 2019
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Robert J. Lewis
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Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
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Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward




Just back from a walk and run in a driving rain. It's 8c out there so not too cold. It's taken me years to consider weather like this a gift from the gods. I'm still wearing shorts outside. But I'd be singing a different tune if it was pouring and -5, which it eventually will be. I'm OK as long as I dress properly. The same rule applies in Montreal but the clothing is different. As a friend of mine once told me many years ago, don't live in Vancouver if you can't hack the rain. So, I've learned to hack it and love it and live with it and dress for it.

How many years have you been running on a regular basis? You were blessed with the body for it. Seventy years and at least fifteen thousand miles on your legs have been kind to you and left you unscathed. No arthritis, no torn menisci, no torn ligaments, no shin splints and no stress fractures. That's something to write home about.

Thanks for the update on your ever-evolving diet. The day will come when all you'll have to do is lift your face in supplication towards Ra and open your mouth to replenish your nutritional needs. I'm not sure what Elizabeth May will charge you for that privilege but it'll probably be less than what Justin charged you for the Trans Mountain pipeline. And it will be legal – as long as you don't perform the act in Quebec. When you die at the Methuselaic age of 969 your body, by then a mere electromagnetic field, will simply radiate into the Great Void saving Siggy the expense of a coffin and the planet a green space it can ill afford to lose. Cremation leaves a carbon footprint of its own, including woodsmoke which you would probably prefer not to create. I've requested my sisters dump my corpse in a forest for the buzzards and the bears and the beetles and the deer and the crows and coyotes to feast on. My instincts tell me they aren't going to fulfill my dying wish.

The ephemeralization of your carbon footprints would do a Ninja warrior proud. There are many who snicker and say that those who commute to work by car, travel by plane, eat non-local foods like coffee and papaya, heat their homes with fossil fuels and drive cars to demonstrations like the Montreal Climatestrike are hypocrites who take advantage of the very same means and technologies that are destroying the planet. I've heard smug people laugh raucously and derisively at the likes of David Suzuki, Greta Thunberg and First Nation peoples who promise resistance to pipelines at any cost. It's an ignorant statement.

Political Science 101 teaches us that any successful revolution you can think of was waged and won by revolutionaries who contested the system from within the system – not from without. They used established technologies, institutions and infrastructure to change the existing system. Buddha, Gutenberg, Galileo, Washington, Morse, Newton, Engels, Trotsky, Tesla, Bell, Marconi, Benz, Ford, the Wright brothers, Einstein, Gandhi, Mao, Castro, Morgantaler, Gates and Cooper (inventor of cell phone) never fought the existing reality. They used it to build a new model that rendered the existing one obsolete. Ralph Nader didn't ride his Raleigh bicycle across the country while he fought for human rights and against corporate greed and irresponsibility. Martin Luther King used previously established channels and the same justice system that enslaved his people to gain a measure of freedom for African Americans. Jesus always used the entire Torah as the foundation of his teaching.

Every grain of coffee, sip of water and square inch of soil are treasures we shouldn't waste or take for granted. Easier said than done in our throw-away society. My record for using the same razor blade is 166days. I heated my home for just 12 hours between May 2019 and mid-September. I take military showers – turn off the flow of water while I lather up and only turn it on again to rinse. Small gestures which as you say add up when multiplied by 7.7 billion people 365 days a year but which I suspect will not prevent Krypton from burning. Nevertheless every gesture counts. Every body that turns up at a demonstration counts. Every letter to the editor and l'hotel de ville counts. Despite claims to the contrary by city engineers and officials who tout the party line, our cities are not nor ever were designed for people. They're designed for cars. Prior to the advent of cars they were designed for horses and horse drawn wagons. I don't have to tell you the number of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers killed, disabled, disfigured, their lives forever fucked by our magnificently designed cities. Cities that were designed for cars and commerce, not for people. And there lies the root of said problem. Last May BC passed it's Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (ZEVA) which mandates all new light-duty vehicles sold in the province be zero-emission vehicles by 2040. It plans to gradually meet its objective: 10% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. Zero-emission vehicles include battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. But the law has all sorts of loop holes in it that render it toothless. It will take more than a law to reduce emissions. It will take nothing less than a community whose populace shares an entirely new vision.

The 550,000 square mile gyre of plastic in the North Pacific that Arts & Opinion published a story about in 2009 is now 1.6 million square miles – as big as BC and Alberta combined – and still growing. It's so big nobody knows how big it is. It won't get smaller unless we clean it up and stop adding to it. I just don't see that happening. What's worse is that it's not the only plastic graveyard on the planet. There are others. We want our oceans back and we want them now. And so do all the fauna and flora that live in and depend on them.


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