Albertans can’t hide from climate change as election debate rages

Many politicians would rather look to the past than mobilize to fight our greatest challenge

Albertans can’t hide from climate change as election debate ragesThe Alberta provincial election is a case study of the collective Canadian avoidance of climate change. Albertans are told to focus on either cutting various government programs or making deficit expenditures on new social programs, arguing about the pros and cons of taxes (especially carbon taxes), and a generalized hope for a return of high…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry

The Canadian response to being stranded for 11 hours on a BC ferry? Free food, cheers and applause!

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry“Please be advised that the next sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay has been delayed by at least four hours. Those passengers wishing instead to return to Powell River, please pull over to the right-hand side as you exit the ferry, and you will be guaranteed a return trip. …” “Hmmmmm. What’s that all about?”…

A ray of hope after a brutal week

A multicultural student haka in New Zealand radiates something positive in a world that seems all too sick

A ray of hope after a brutal weekWhen you write a weekly column in the relatively unrelated realms of culture and politics, you rely on independent stimuli for the idea that eventually becomes the piece. Frankly, the idea that becomes the column doesn’t often strike until just after the previous week’s work appears online each Sunday morning. Then, as if ordained by…

Finding the middle ground between Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau

It is possible to mediate between identity politics and old school democracy

Finding the middle ground between Wilson-Raybould and TrudeauFor the past few weeks, the Canadian public – and increasingly the world – have witnessed the quintessential Canadian scandal. So far, no one has proven any law has been broken, no one has been physically injured, and the core issue is whether 9,000 (or 3,500 or 6,000 or any) jobs are at risk because…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

Looking at the natural world through Indigenous eyes

The impact of climate change on the West Coast, in the Arctic and on the Prairies

Looking at the natural world through Indigenous eyesLifelong friendships with Indigenous pals bring incredible benefits, including nuanced wisdom on the environment, and climate change in particular. You get to watch people who grew up in oral cultures – accustomed to learning from elders and spending long periods with the land and the water – become elders themselves. And because talking is the…

Approaching real problems with scientific problem-solving tools

Do we really think that the old legal-political-economic decision-making trifecta is up to the task of solving the world's problems?

Approaching real problems with scientific problem-solving toolsFew would argue with the proposition that how we think determines how we solve our problems. Just consider the past week. We’ve had what the mainstream media characterizes as a scandal in Ottawa. A strong member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, Jody Wilson-Raybould, has resigned and sought legal counsel on next moves from a…

You have not nearly seen everything yet

A 96-year-old mother’s invaluable experiences and insights help put today’s calamitous events in perspective

You have not nearly seen everything yetIt’s tempting to think when you hit your 60s that you’ve seen it all, that your analysis of contemporary issues is tight and complete. I’m here to say it ain’t. That’s because I’ve just checked in with my 96-year-old Mom, Frances Robinson, after being in Mexico for a couple of weeks, forgetfully without a phone…

The nomadic life of retirement tourism

Among the many fascinating people found in San Miguel de Allende was a couple who sold everything to travel the world

The nomadic life of retirement tourismI’ve just returned from San Miguel de Allende full of interesting new experiences gathered in a 475-year-old Mexican central highlands town renowned worldwide for its hospitality to culturally creative folk. Those visitors like to rent 300-year-old casas, practise speaking Spanish and participate in a nuanced cosmopolitan life. The local media refer to this phenomenon as…

San Miguel de Allende losing its lustre

There are signs of unwelcome change on the horizon for the Mexican community of about 150,000 residents

San Miguel de Allende losing its lustreI’ve been a cultural disciple to San Miguel de Allende for the fourth time in four years in the last week. San Miguel de Allende is a Mexican community of about 150,000 residents, founded in the early 1540s. It’s in the central highlands, 274 kilometres north of Mexico City, in the far eastern part of…

Cleaning up Vancouver’s “rat’s nest of rot”

Single-family houses in the city are now deposit boxes. How did we get here and how can we restore balance?

Cleaning up Vancouver’s “rat’s nest of rot”It’s time for broad review of the dirty money games played in the casinos and on the high streets of the raincoast’s ‘capital' city. B.C. Attorney General David Eby recently reported that upwards of $2 billion in dirty money laundering has occurred in Vancouver casinos and luxury real estate over the past year. He characterized…

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate change

As spring beckons after four previous very dry springs and four summers of smoke, we should prepare for the worst

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate changeA funny thing happened in Powell River, B.C., the other day. There was a scheduled one-hour power outage that I heard about on the radio as I was driving the 30 kilometres into town to do some errands. No big deal, I thought. Lights out in the mall perhaps. My first stop was at the…

Endeavour’s voyage of enlightenment added a hemisphere to the world

And, according to author Peter Moore, the endeavour attitude is characterized by dreaming of our better angels, not by acquiring more stuff

Endeavour’s voyage of enlightenment added a hemisphere to the worldMy daughter choreographs reading that plays to my whimsical non-fiction interests through Christmas gifts of books. This year, I carefully opened a beribboned volume by British author Peter Moore entitled Endeavour: The Ship and Attitude that Changed the World (2018). Right away, I recognized Endeavour as James Cook’s ship on his first epic voyage of discovery…

Building strong communities with education, innovation – and craft beer

James and Deborah Fallows hopscotched across America to understand what makes the best of Our Towns thrive

Building strong communities with education, innovation – and craft beerMy son, the thoughtful curator of my must-reads non-fiction list, has done it again. For Christmas, he gave me the American bestseller Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. The book, published in 2018, was written by award-winning The Atlantic Monthly journalists James and Deborah Fallows. The Fallows have made significant public…
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