OPINION: Why I’m Finding it Difficult to Believe in the Current Corporate-Owned Capitalist Political System We Have

I wish I could believe. I respect progressive politics– the creators of the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation – they were my people after all [Baptists!]). I’ve believed for a long time. I want to believe now. I really do. Trudeau has nailed the final nail in the coffin of me not believing in the voting and election process. I wrote “Spoiling the ballot” as a shout out to trigger an example of the level of civil disobedience needed. I really feel we have flatlined as far as governments go–there are no worse and no better because what we desperately need NOW– a declaration of a state of emergency and a war level effort to slow global warming–they cannot produce. They are all chained to being bad because the corporate capitalist takeover of democracy is complete.

I’ve been reading and listening to Chris Hedges for eight years. He’s saying we MUST carry out acts of legal, peaceful civil disobedience. Most of us who have slipped from the middle to the lower income quintile are now the “underclass” that indigenous Canadians have been for 250 years. We really need to join with them in resisting environmental “extractivism” and degradation. John Risley doesn’t need any more profit for a second private plane. Galen Weston doesn’t need any more profit from his palm oil-laced processed foods to the detriment of the rainforests being decimated and the habitat of orangutans and tens of thousands of species lost. For our junk food? To make us obese? Why is this allowed? Because governments will not regulate industry because industry owns them, the way Northern Pulp owns McNeil, the way the Big Boys owned Dexter and every other politician who gets into power.

All our employment must come from small organic farming (permaculture) operations. Everyone must go “back to the garden” and governments need to help people get back to growing their own food. Focusing on a non-polluting energy industry and an improved grid, as well as a new tax system which heavily taxes the richest (as FDR did in the 1930s) in order to create clean infrastructure jobs,  should be prioritized. Selective silva culture forestry and rebuilding of the Acadian forest will follow.

Prevention of lifestyle disease through nutrition education and massive numbers of public government-run kitchens which distribute fresh food and teach skills about what our bodies need and what the environment can handle now is key for a healthy future. Extreme heat and irregular weather is upon us, so we must shut down biomass, fracking, coal mining and pulp mills, (nationalize our energy system), restore salt marshes for protection from storm surges and put people to work doing all these things.

We need to encourage the creation of organic farms, clean energy technology, conservation (rewilding, tree planting), a plant-based diet and active transportation programs to encourage exercise and healthy eating. Redistribution of excess food to low-income households should be a law–no corporation should be throwing out perfectly good food. All these things must be put in place by government.

Thirteen-year-olds are striking from school and suing federal governments. They know they have no future. We have to do something more radical because of the climate crisis is fully upon us. Even at the oft-quoted 1.5 degrees temperature rise limit, growing food may be too difficult. PEI ploughed under 30% of its potato crop this summer. Growers told me it was the hardest year to grow food they have seen in 30 years. If that’s the case at 1.1 degree temperature rise that we already have, what will 1.5 degrees bring?

Seven years ago we were at 380 parts per billion of CO2. Now we’re up to 412 and it’s rising in greater increments all the time, especially in the last two years. We have to draw down, and drawback from business as usual which federal and provincial governments exemplify as fast as possible on our own and maybe with the help of municipal governments declaring a state of emergency. We need to collapse unregulated corporate capitalism. Piketty’s book is called ‘The End of Capitalism‘. The sooner we get there, the very slight chance we have to create a green economy and a more socially just world.

Climate disruption demands we change everything from plastic bags to limiting flying to the shifting the tax system to upping public transportation and limiting car use in urban cores. We must tax the rich heavily and use all the money to transition to a no carbon, zero growth economy. We have no time to wait for governments who are under the thumb of Big Oil in the case of Trudeau and the Mafia (in the case of Thug Ford). We have no socialist party in Canada. Otherwise, the NDP or the Greens would have promoted things like “The Leap Manifesto” (in the case of the Federal NDP) or “Carbon Fee and Dividend” (in the case of the Green Party). There are no parties that will do what is needed. It’s a state of emergency, no less.

Chris Hedges doesn’t even get to talking about climate change. He has just thoroughly dissected and exposed neoliberalism, austerity and the corporate takeover of government. In Canada as well, we have books and articles written by whistleblowers. Such as ‘Deep Oil State‘, which spells out how the multinational oil companies took over the federal government, and Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret exposes what factory farming is doing to the atmosphere, not to mention our health. The UN has announced our global food system is broken. People are starving; people are morbidly obese; people are full of disease caused by what they eat or don’t eat. Corporate agriculture and billionaire food processing giants are killing us so that big pharma can squeeze millions of insurance dollars out through heavy drug prescribing.

As Chris Hedges said, “If we don’t stop them, they’re going to kill us all.” Climate change is the most obvious evidence of how the thugs, the goons, the greedy, the sociopaths, the criminal, the power mongers that control the world are killing us.

We need to have face to face discussion about what we, the people must do in Nova Scotia and all across Canada. That’s why I’m trying to bring activists together to brainstorm and listen to each other. Convince me that the NS NDP will come with policies that address all these concerns.

The frog is seconds from croaking its last croak. We need to get him out, do major revival work on him and there’s a minuscule chance he will recover. But we have to make Nova Scotians understand what Hedges is saying and that’s a big challenge unless maybe they can see how serious it is now because of the difficulty growing food.

By Joanne Light

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Government Consultation Document: Vulnerable populations

One of the commitments in the  Government response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s Report “Healthy Environment, Health Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” was “to develop, engage on, and publish under CEPA a policy on vulnerable populations, which will include a definition of vulnerable populations and the objectives of the program, including the framework for how Health Canada considers vulnerable populations as part of risk assessments.”  This document is a first step to meeting this commitment.

This is a preliminary consultation, and you are welcome to provide comments during the public consultation as well which is planned for fall 2018.  In the interim, we are asking for your comments on this proposed definition, as well as the examples within the document by November 15, 2018.  Please forward all comments to:  hc.esrabdirector-directeurberse.sc@canada.ca.  Please note that there will be a mechanism established for sustained input from stakeholders and experts as we advance consideration of vulnerable populations in a more comprehensive and transparent manner.

 

Document: Consultation vulnerable population

New Fall Talking Circle Series at Halifax Central Library with Catherine Martin

“Very moving and thought-provoking” “One more reason to love the library” “Excellent! More, please!” Such was the feedback to the pilot Mi’kmaq Talking Circle Series, “Four Circles of Life…” last fall and winter. Thanks to Catherine Martin’s gracious gift to lead the 2018 Halifax circles and partial funding from the Halifax Community Health Board of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, a new series, “Ego to Eco: Learning the Mi’kmaq calendar to Experience Human and Ecological Health’s Interdependence” will launch this coming Wednesday, September 26th at 6:30 p.m. in the Talking Circle area of the Central Library and continue each month (October 23, November 20 and December 18) at the same location.

 

Poster for 2018 Talking Circle Halifax Series.jpg

NSEN, with its revitalized new board chaired by PhD Engineering student, Chris White, and the crucial in-kind support of one of Halifax’s favourite gathering place is committed to hosting Mi’kmaq circles in order to facilitate a more ecologically and inclusive way for people to meet and face our fragile future on the planet. The series looks at components of human health through the prism of environmental elements and the eco-centric Mi’kmaq Calendar.

For millennia the unceded Mi’kmaq territory (what is now called the Atlantic Provinces) was sustained by an eco-centric philosophy of a land-based consciousness. The inclusivity and egalitarianism of this philosophy is exemplified by the Mi’kmaq talking circle tradition, an ideal setting for all people living in this time and space to come together to learn how to best survive spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. By acknowledging that 1/putting the needs for a healthy environment before egoic greed, 2/considering what the fullness of the natural world (of which human animals are a part) offers in each month through the perspective of the Mi’kmaw calendar and 3/ discussing the challenges of being healthy in a society that most often ignores that nature is in control, will integrate humans to see that we must put nature first and create the political will to protect our environment above everything.

NSEN encourages a repeat of the broad spectrum of last year’s circles’ representation during which Mi’kmaq, Anishnabe, Cree and Haida First Nations, Inuit people from fifteen countries, all ages, genders and economic backgrounds, longtime residents of Halifax, new Canadians, professionals from the arts and sciences and persons of all abilities came together to listen to the Circle leader and then to each other.
Alanis Obomsawin, a renowned Abenaki filmmaker, singer, artist and activist, relayed this pithy and poignant indigenous wisdom: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

For more details, check out the Facebook Event