25.3.12

No Mumbo Jumbo

Under All Things Indigo, let's briefly take a look at the nature of social activism.

There are numerous immediate ways we can all be good citizens, intrinsically: being kind to service people like waitresses and cashiers, for example. If they're having a rough day, trying to put themselves through university, it costs nothing to give them a friendly smile and a bit of pleasant conversation.

Extrinsically, by comparison, there are countless very large issues at play today. Getting involved invites us to take these smaller intrinsic actions of Mindfulness into the world at large.

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I had the pleasure of joining in at the Keep Jumbo Wild vigil in Nelson BC this evening. I've been following this issue for over a decade, and kudos really must be given to the local EcoSociety on this one. Coming in from Alberta, over the years I have seen numerous "I *heart* Jumbo" buttons, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and even wooden signs hanging on doors throughout Calgary. Pretty impressive, considering how much money flows through Calgary, and how avid the average person is about skiing.

For those just entering the loop, various levels of government just approved a 5000+ room hotel to go into Jumbo Glacier: An area know for its grizzly bear populations, and - surprise - glaciers. The road alone will cost 250M to construct, and French investment (backed by the French government) is currently raising 450M for the project. Just under the umbrella of peak oil alone, this is one crappy investment, and creating a mega-project in the midst of a glacial field is simply bad taste. Supplying the future energy needs to this massive structure - for any investor keeping current to peak oil issues - is blindly catastrophic for their pocketbook...without it being lined with our tax dollars, of course. Unless the design has a serious off-grid strategy, one simply has to ask: who, in fifty years time, will be able to afford to go there?

At the close of the meeting, the EcoSociety president postulated that the French people will be rather upset to learn that their tax dollars will be going toward a mega-project as this, which will surely evict one of the grizzlies last habitat strongholds on the planet. And as for the fresh-water issues this project touches upon... The EcoSociety is looking for support toward the films in production currently (being made in French) which they wish to circulate globally, notably in France.

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This hotel is in my opinion simply a fine example of short-sighted-ness on the behalf of big money. Yes, the project will create jobs, but it does not address the countless list of pressing social issues facing our species today. In the face of rising energy costs and increasing resource scarcity - namely oil - the cost to maintain the road alone is something no tax-payer will be wanting to inherit. ... Which is the general pattern with such projects: government money helps to fund the project, and the tax-payer pays the bills afterwards, especially if there are problems, which in this case will likely include routine and preemptive avalanche maintenance. I wish we were using this wonderful resource - oil - with greater prudence, or any prudence, and I could use your help.

The questions brought up at the candle-light vigil were great. At a time when our social needs of education, health care, and pension obligations are experiencing remarkable pressure, why would any of us be interested in this project going through? Teachers, Doctors, and Baby Boomers all have a stake in this project, and I am not speaking of its recreational potential. If your classes and waiting rooms have been at capacity for the bulk of your career, and/or if you have felt a squeeze on your retirement savings, now is the best time to get involved with making a public appeal on issues like these. We may be able to print as much paper money as we want, but mother nature is like good wine or soup, which takes time to cure.



So I wonder if being kind to service people is enough, frankly, given the ripe and ready climate of issues we are all facing today. After repeated polls like the one above, is it not clear that we have a governmental system/elite which is not listening - not adhering to the democratic principles we believe ourselves to be living by?


I respect that these larger issues can generate fear and anxiety when looked upon for the first time. I also need respect that we develop our activism muscles one action at a time, at whatever juncture within ourselves we make room for. I do think, though, that we are indeed rooted into the infinite (just as the native elders speaking at the vigil explained, offering tobacco this evening) and following on such, we then have infinite capacity for action. I think the invitation on such issues is clear, and to do the right thing is equally clear. Our ideas of economy are going to change - are in process of changing - and the exercising of social responsibility is going to be a muscle-group each of us is going to have to tend too, ever increasingly as we proceed into our near - and collective - future.

Please share with me your thoughts and opinions - especially if you believe I am in the wrong, as I would welcome your insight.