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Monday, 10 December 2018

Caution: Deep Water - a poetic book review

the free spirit must not be caged

for Katherine L. Gordon (on reading her Caution: Deep Water)

Dear Katherine,

this may be your best book yet
your most important story
the imprisoning of a shaman spirit
in a 'progressive' Canadian retirement home

your saddest book, too
it's all here - readers will
feel your loss of the spirit visitors
the ferny spreadings and season
changes in your Spirit Valley

A too true cautionary tale
first word in your title
Caution: Deep Water

I, too, left my spirit valley
retreated to a small village lot
but your wisdom decrees
when the retirement home beckons

swim - swim far, far out
into Lake Ontario
this body will sink
but the spirit owl shaman
who invaded me long ago

will rise and fly
deep water is not the realm
for free spirits


100 companies cause 71% carbon emissions

These 100 Companies Could Be the Death of Us All. Sign to Demand That They Stop Using Fossil Fuels.

Sign Now


A staggering 71 percent of all carbon emissions since 1988 can be traced back to just 100 corporations, most of which are fossil fuels producers. Even more alarming, half of all global industrial emissions can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities.

If emissions continue at this rate, the global average temperatures would rise by 4 degrees celsius by the end of the century.This would mean catastrophe for civilization.

Without a serious change, the world as we know it will be a thing of the past. Coastal cities will disappear under rising sea waters. Global food production will collapse causing malnutrition and starvation over vast swaths of the planet. Unpredictable and extreme weather patterns will batter our lands and thousands of species will disappear from Earth.

We can't wait any longer. We must take control now and reverse the effects of climate change.

Our top priority should be to end the use of fossil fuels, and transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy curb meat consumption, protect and expand forests, and eliminate our carbon footprint. But all our efforts will be in vain if the corporations responsible for the vast majority of such dangerous emissions do not act as well.

That's why we need you to sign this petition and demand that these companies stop valuing profit over our future and our lives. Sign to demand they commit to transitioning to clean energy.

Thank you,

Andrew M
The Care2 Petitions Team

P.S.They earn billions while the rest of us lose everything. Sign the petition.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Canucks joining Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion chapters proliferating across Canada

Facebook photo by Extinction Rebellion.

As "Rebellion Day 2" took place in London, U.K. on November 24, Extinction Rebellion Facebook groups are proliferating rapidly across Canada.

There are now Extinction Rebellion Facebook groups for CanadaOntarioQuebecBritish ColumbiaVancouverVancouver IslandAlberta, and Nova Scotia, as well as groups in PeterboroughBarrieKitchener/WaterlooHamiltonTorontoLondonOttawaGuelphSouth OkanaganWilliams Lake, and Victoria. This is undoubtedly only a partial list of a rapidly growing number of chapters.

The heightened Canadian interest and participation in Extinction Rebellion comes a week after 6,000 Extinction Rebellion activists occupied five bridges in central London on November 17. On the same day, about 1,000 conscientious protectors were back again to hold a funeral ceremony in Parliament Square while 50 members of an affinity group blocked the four roads entering the square.

Extinction Rebellion has posted on Facebook, “Police forced their way in to prevent a coffin, symbolically labelled ‘OUR FUTURE’, from being buried in the grass of the square.”
The funeral procession then moved to Whitehall -- a road in central London where numerous ministries have their offices, including the Cabinet Office -- and then on to Downing Street, the official residence and office of the Prime Minister.
The Guardian reports, “Campaigners carried a mock coffin in a funeral-style procession and took part in a mass sit-down protest for around 10 minutes outside the gates of Downing Street... Several protesters also lay down in front of the gates.”

Extinction Rebellion adds, “The procession continued on to Buckingham Palace, where rebels read out a letter to the Queen, asking her to take action to protect the realm from these existential threats where the government has ignored our demands.”
The Guardian also notes, “One older woman superglued her hands to a railing outside Buckingham Palace in protest.”
There has been no reported response to date from Queen Elizabeth, who constitutionally is also the Queen of Canada.

The Extinction Rebellion Facebook page has previously noted, "A rebellion on an international scale will follow in March." Now, tantalizingly, it notes, “April 15. Save the date. We'll see you on the streets in spring, rebels.”

Activists in Canada appear to be preparing for this and other actions. About 2,176 people have now signed up across the country, with Extinction Rebellion Ontario leading the way with 235 Facebook followers, Extinction Rebellion Vancouver with 604 followers, London with 60 followers, and Victoria with 28 followers.

Please note that Extinction Rebellion Vancouver will be holding a public forum titled "Climate Change: Heading for extinction - what can we do about it?" on December 11.
To sign up for Extinction Rebellion, please click here. The sign up for organizers and organizations willing to anchor the rebellion in their locality is here.
For more, please also see my rabble column "Extinction Rebellion for climate justice is organizing in Canada, too" (November 21) and blog "Extinction Rebellion says it's time to move beyond mass marches and petitions".

Brent Patterson is a political activist and writer.
Image: Extinction Rebellion Canada/Facebook

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Mass Climate Change Protests Finally Beginning

My friend Sylvia and I have discussed for some time the need for grassroots social protests to force governments around the world to deal with the future of our planet. Our own Prime Minister talks a lot of platitudes about social change (yeah, it was 2015 three years ago, Justin). It's obvious that governments worldwide are both unwilling and unable to take action unless pushed to do so. I graduated high school in the Amerikan south during the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King's large marches and widespread civil disobedience forced that issue front and centre into the public's awareness and brought about some degree of social change. Now the fate of the planet is at stake, and again 'our so-called leaders' continue to lag behind.

The following good news is from the media site "Rabble":  

Extinction Rebellion for climate justice is organizing in Canada, too

Photo: Extinction Rebellion/Twitter

This past Saturday, November 17, an estimated 6,000 Extinction Rebellion activists occupied five bridges -- Lambeth, Westminster, Blackfriars, Southwark, and Waterloo -- in central London, U.K. to demand action against climate breakdown.

At least 85 people were arrested, most charged with obstruction under the Highways Act which carries with it a possible fine of up to £1,000 (about C$1,688).
Not surprisingly, London's Metropolitan Police were not impressed and told the Daily Express, "Given that the organizers failed to engage with police prior to the event, we were unable to work with them around their plan and to make considerations for other Londoners."
Events are being planned in cities around the globe, including in Canada.

This past weekend, Extinction Rebellion gatherings were organized by Extinction Rebellion Vancouver (which has a follow-up public forum already organized for November 29) and Extinction Rebellion Toronto.

The Extinction Rebellion movement was launched in London on October 31 and they have stated on their Facebook page that, "A rebellion on an international scale will follow in March."
Will we see similar occupations of the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver, the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa (just down the street from the U.S. Embassy and Parliament Hill), the Mercier Bridge in Montreal (as it was during the Oka Crisis), and countless other bridges in communities across this country?

Only time, organizing capacity and commitment will tell.

After the bridges in London were held for four to six hours, the "conscientious protectors" gathered in Parliament Square to hear speeches and to begin preparing for further actions around central London, planned to resume on Wednesday, November 21.

Extinction Rebellion organizer Tiana Jacout told The Independent, "We have tried marching, and lobbying, and signing petitions. Nothing has brought about the change that is needed. And no damage that we incur can compare to the criminal inaction of the U.K. government in the face of climate and ecological breakdown."
Organizer Gail Bradbrook told The Guardian, "Only this kind of large-scale economic disruption can rapidly bring the government to the table to discuss our demands."
Those demands are:
1. The government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
2. The government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
3. A national Citizens' Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
The Guardian notes, "In the past two weeks more than 60 people have been arrested for taking part in acts of civil disobedience organized by Extinction Rebellion ranging from gluing themselves to government buildings to blocking major roads in the capital."

There has also been the spray-painting of messages on the Prime Minister's Office at 10 Downing Street and at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (not dissimilar to the Department of Natural Resources in Canada), a banner hanging on Westminster Bridge, and a "Queer Party to Save the Amazon" that shut down the Brazilian embassy to protest the climate destructive policies of Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

Extinction Rebellion has raised about C$84,000 in the past few weeks and now has organizing spaces in central London to help coordinate further "respectful disruptions."
The Guardian adds, "The group is also making international contacts, with 11 events planned in seven countries so far, including the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia and France."

In Canada, with the Trudeau government having spent $4.5 billion (with billions more in spending planned) on the proposed 890,000-barrel-per-day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, and with a recent study saying that if other countries followed the Trudeau government's policies it would push global warming to more than 5.1 degrees Celsius by 2100, bold action is needed in this country.
The international sign-up for Extinction Rebellion is here. The sign-up for organizers and organizations willing to anchor the rebellion in their locality is here.

Brent Patterson is an activist-blogger who writes this monthly column on inspiring stories of global resistance to neoliberalism and climate change.
Photo: Extinction Rebellion/Twitter
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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Fall hike to the Cordova Mines Erratic

Hi Doug & Marc,

That was a great hike behind Cordova Mines, despite the drizzle and overcast late afternoon. Thanks for persevering, Doug!

Where the trail forks south for the Ledger Mine was too flooded for us to go on without at least knee high boots. Doug and I decided to explore the right fork by the tailings ponds, where we flushed several flocks of ducks. No duck hunters or shell casings in sight, tho. We slopped thru shallow puddles beside the beaver dam, with the pond water level about 1 1/2 feet higher than our trail. It's amazing what effective engineers beavers are! We passed the driveway to the newer chalet on the hill overlooking the tailings pond. Fortunately the new owners appear tolerant, if not supportive, of people continuing to use this old trail, as they had a couple of signs reading "Stay on the Trail". Far better than "No Trespassing" or "Private Property: KEEP OUT".

This west trail leads to the old Crippen homesite, and it hasn't changed much in the almost 30 years I've been walking it. The intersection with a side trail was almost completely overgrown, however, so I suspect the locals aren't doing as much hiking and hunting in these woods as they did when I lived in Cordova a quarter century ago. Doug spotted the huge Cordova erratic rock looming thru the dark woods before I did. We walked up to the boulder and Doug circled it with his cam, getting some great shots (we hope). The rock is mottled with several shades of green moss, and possibly some lichen - hard to tell exactly what in the dim late aft light. 

There is something so powerful and primal about the ancient rock that we instinctively approached it at the same time to feel its vibration. Shades of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey   ; )-  Doug wanted to clamber up on the rock, but it was so damp from the drizzle he decided not to.

Marc, what would the approximate age be of an erratic like that? I know it's in the tens of millions years, but I may attempt a bad poem if I can more accurately date its existence there.

The erratic was the high  point of our hike, and a few hundred yards further along the trail we found almost nothing to show the old Crippen homesite had once been there. We did find some rotted lumber which I vaguely remembered being the site of an outbuilding such as a storage shed or pig shelter. The rusted wreck of the 1940s car which had greeted my first visit to Crippen has now completely rusted away. We followed a short overgrown trail heading south from the homesite to another large beaver pond, again flushing more ducks. Doug commented that the rugged scene of the pond surrounded by tall pines and a few hardwoods could have placed us in the middle of Algonquin Park. We had been protected from the wind on the trails, but by the pond gusts began driving sheets of pine needles and rain.

On my first visit to the haunted Crippen homestead almost 30 years ago, I'd been greeted by:

flashing white
from rusted wheel well:
snowshoe rabbit!

I'm looking forward to another attempt to find the Ledger Mine, but we'll need better gear. We could wait until freeze-up, but of course then snow might hide the mine's features and the huge chunks of quartz littering the hillside below it.