Beware of populism

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Populism is a political disease that has likely already terminally infected the world’s once-greatest democracy. The word in its modern meaning reflects a low-level of democratic consciousness in a large, poorly informed proportion of a country’s electorate, and the willingness of unprincipled, opportunistic power-mongers to exploit and pander to it.

It does not reflect any respect or sympathy for “the poorly educated,” who Donald Trump claimed “I love” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Rather, it reflects a deep-seated contempt for such people, and the ease with which they can be manipulated and fooled. Continue reading

Let their voices be heard — saving America

 

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I admit it: I’ve lately been getting pretty down about the state of the world, mostly on account of the messy situation south of the border with the continuing tragedy of gun violence, and the descent of a once-great democracy into something dark, divided, and decidedly undemocratic.

And it just keeps getting worse, or so it seemed, even in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the school, allegedly killed 17 students and wounded 14 others with an AR-15 assault rifle he had purchased a year ago. The usual prayers, platitudes and condolences were offered, but no sign lawmakers were likely to take any common-sense, gun-control action. Too many have been bought off with hefty campaign donations from the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading

Finding Hope for Canada

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The hopeful, early-morning sun breaking through the clouds over the Hope Bay Forest

There was just a hint of spring in the air, or so I imagined hopefully, as my canine friends and I took our usual early-morning walk down Cathedral Drive here in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest, just north of Hope Bay.

But there were clouds overhead, actually and figuratively, as we headed north on the road. My head was full of troubling, pessimistic thoughts in the wake of the Feb. 9, not-guilty verdict in the trial of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley. Continue reading

Community involvement guiding local tourism

 

 

 

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The view from Lion’s Head Harbour

I left a well-attended public meeting this week in nearby Lion’s Head confident the future of sustainable tourism on the Bruce Peninsula is in good hands, and that the challenges it is currently facing as a result of booming numbers in the last few years will be dealt with wisely.

My reason for feeling that way is largely because of the continuing strong involvement of the local community in that effort. Continue reading

The “inequality crisis” got Trumped in Davos

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There was much talk just before and during the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland about the “inequality crisis.” The expression underlines a new level of urgency about the huge and ever-increasing gap between the relatively few, very rich people in the world who possess an inordinate share of its wealth, compared with the much greater mass of people who live and work in extreme and often dangerous poverty. Among them are an estimated 40 million people who live and work in slavery, according to an Oxfam International report released as the world’s economic and political elite began arriving for the Davos gathering in the Swiss, mountain-resort town.

High-profile speakers stood on a stage with a gentle, blue and white backdrop on which these words were writ large many times over: “COMMITTED TO IMPROVING THE STATE OF THE WORLD” Continue reading

Finding Hope in “interesting times”

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“May you live in interesting times” is an ancient Chinese curse, made all the more effective, one imagines, by being so nicely understated. The full extent of the catastrophe that might befall the victim is left to their imagination.

Some, perhaps even many, might say we are currently living in the sort of “interesting times” that would meet the requirements of the curse, with real or potential, world-changing catastrophe shaping up or already running amok on several fronts.

Some of it gets plenty of news coverage, more than enough, you might say. The whole world has the proverbial ringside seat to the decline and fall of a great democracy, and the real threat that poses for every living soul on earth, and future generations. Vast news resources, traditional and new, are focussed on one madman’s every troubling word, tweeted or otherwise.

Meanwhile, other urgently important news gets nowhere near the attention it needs and deserves. It appears somewhere below the actual and virtual fold in the headlines for a day or so, before being relegated to the archival back pages, out of mass-public sight, and mind.

That appears to be the routine fate of news reports about the latest studies into the unfolding effects of global warming and climate change. Such studies invariably express an urgent need for the world to take action to stop it from happening, or else “interesting times” shall be the inevitable consequence.

Such was the case again with coverage of the results of an “analysis” of declining oxygen levels in vast areas of the open oceans, as well as coastal areas. It was co-authored by 22 scientists and published early this month in the journal Science. Continue reading

The Jane Miller is found, may she rest in peace

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The Great Lakes are North America’s inland sea. They’re actually five seas of varying sizes. The largest and most northerly is Lake Superior. Then there’s Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Georgian Bay, though strictly speaking, part of Lake Huron, could also be included as one of the Great Lakes, or sea in its own right.

Its cliff-lined deep, blue waters on the western, Bruce Peninsula side have as stormy a reputation and as long and rich a marine heritage as any of the Great Lakes. Continue reading

Paying the nuclear price of plans gone askew

(Author’s note: Among the several province’s in Canada that own and operate nuclear-powered, electricity-generating stations, Ontario has by far the most reactors. They are located on the shores of two of the Great Lakes, on Lake Ontario, east of Toronto, and Lake Huron, near the town of Kincardine. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is the publicly-owned, provincial Crown Corporation proprietor of Ontario’s nuclear plants. They include the Bruce Nuclear plant near Kincardine, which is operated under a long-term agreement, by a private company, Bruce Power. Highly radioactive nuclear waste, including a growing stockpile of used fuel, is stored on-site at Ontario nuclear plants, as it is elsewhere in Canada. But that is not considered a long-term solution. Canada’s federally-appointed Nuclear Waste Management Organization several years ago proposed an Adaptive Phased Management approach to that issue, including development of a Deep Geological Repository. The NWMO is currently conducting a lengthy site-selection process to find a suitable site. Meanwhile, OPG is awaiting final approval of a separate but similar deep-rock facility at the Bruce Nuclear site for low and intermediate-level, radioactive waste that it first proposed at least 13 years ago. Such waste, is now routinely transported to the Bruce site for what’s also regarded as temporary, above-ground storage. As might be imagined, the idea of burying nuclear waste in close proximity to the shore of one of the Great Lakes, which are shared by Canada and the U.S., has proven controversial.)

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Bruce Nuclear site

 

I’m not kidding. Well, maybe a little. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s a special room set aside at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) headquarters in Toronto, or its Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce Nuclear site, where managers go to pound their heads against a wall. Continue reading