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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Something fun from La Paz

My daughter Zoey and her friend Evie (also from Nelson) met a film maker when they were in La Paz, Bolivia last winter. In a day they put together this song and she made a video with them. I think it's fun and even pretty cool. (Zoey is the one with the hat. Evie is currently living and working in Buenos Aires...)

What do you think?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Interesting times...

Me in 10 years?

I've come across more and more people lately who are convinced civilization as we know it is about to collapse in a dramatic fashion. With economic shifts, peak oil looming, climate change accelerating and rampant globalization without ethical leadership, they believe a meltdown will arrive soon and hard. Okay, some of them believe in the Mayan calendar, Kaliyuga and other prophetic superstitions too.

These acquaintances tend to fall into two camps. Those who are obsessed with bleak news and information, particularly anything that supports their world view - they tend to talk a lot and worry a lot. There are also those who want to find land, raise goats and be ready to return to the 1700s. Sometimes these camps overlap.

Here's my take, for what it's worth. Yes, we are in a period of significant change (nothing as dramatic as World War II or the Great Depression yet though) and we will see even greater change in the next 20 years. It will become more chaotic and will require adjustments in how I live. There may even be radical change, politically, economically and socially. I follow the news, see the challenges and am not turning a blind eye.

As for a meltdown, bleak living and a dog eat dog society...I don't buy it. There are already about 2 billion of us living on the edge, without enough food, water, security, education or opportunity. There are already people without power, without vehicles, without a healthy environment - millions and millions of them. And those people for the most part do so with dignity and social structures that are strong. I'd like to see a shift in resources to lift them from a dollar or two a day existence more than to be sure I have a goat and a wagon.

I think it is narcissistic, fearful and misguided if I, one of the most privileged humans on the planet, obsess on my possible demise and how I can retreat into some imaginary self sufficiency and protect my own. It seems rather sad in the big picture.

What I prefer is to take the threads of optimism I feel and see all around, and contribute to building a resilient, adaptable and enjoyable local/regional community and to fight where I can for social justice for everyone. Not to mention taking time to enjoy the beauty around me, those I love and a good sip of single malt whisky now and then.

Hmmmm - a rant, although a polite one as always.

To be truly radical
is to make hope possible,
rather than despair convincing.

- Raymond Williams, Welsh academic, novelist and critic

P.S. Check out this local example of positive action - a local organic grain cooperative. The first tons of grain grown were delivered 100 kilometres by a fleet of local sailboats. Fun.

Children of Mozambique

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada Day ... eh?

July 1st is Canada Day. We celebrate it old-school here in Nelson. At 10:00 a.m. Lakeside Park opens its gates and people flood in for a day of celebration and fun, that culminates with fireworks over the lake at 10:00 p.m.

It feels like an old-fashioned small town event - with sand sculpting contests, kids games, food stands, a bandstand with non-stop live music, speeches from politicians, Mounties in red serge, bagpipes, square dancing,a fly-by from the 6 planes in the Nelson Flying Club and a sail-past from the 6 boats in that club.
We also sing Oh Canada and then eat a huge cake (see before and after photos).

I met an American gent who just moved here from Idaho and we struck up a conversation over organic salmon burgers from our not-so-average lakeside food stand (see photo). He said he senses a quiet pride in Canadians, that they like to differentiate themselves from Americans and seem gentle. He's right. We both agreed that President Obama makes America proud again, strengthens our hopes for democracy and makes it easier for Americans to travel. We're going to meet up again sometime.

Last Canada Day was the first day Anna came to visit me in Nelson. Fireworks indeed... She's away today so I honour her with one of her recent canoe photos (Mr. Basketball).

Apologies to Aboriginal Canadians for what we've done these past 142 years, and let's hope to do better and keep it the true north strong and free together for another 142.
Happy Birthday you.

The good citizens of Nelson fill the park (click on any photo to see enlarged)

Rod and Jill decorate their snack bar rather nicely - great menu too!

Young and enthusiastic folk dancers

The cake unveiled!

City Councilor Bob Adams at the knife...

... and done

Kootenay Lake discovery - Anna on the camera

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