I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The Past Speaks Pictograph Hunting

We went out this morning –
on a brilliant blue summer day –
the three of us - pictograph hunting –
Monica showed us we walk on time – unknowing –
we found lithics scattered in a field - everywhere - chalcedony; chert, basalt –
red; black; brown; translucent -
un – number - able flakes and pieces –
once we learned to see them –
how many have I trod under – un -seeing?
And how many earth ovens have I walked past, blind?
How many house pits have I missed?
before I learned to see –
that I live on stolen land .
Before I learned to hear, would I have understood that the First People tell stories -
- stories of a wall of ice to the north – in the old time?
We didn’t take any shards –
as Chris said –
they belong to the people who made them –
we’ve stolen enough without taking these as well -
Monica wondered why people take points and put them on their mantelpieces –
I think –
they do it because those shards hold the magic of the old time –
people borrow a past where existentialism was yet to come –
yearn for a time when no split existed between sacred and profane –
they seek the numinous – as do I.
It isn’t that I didn’t want to take the awl I found –
but a voice asked me - rather sharply -
“What do you want it for?”
and I had no answer - to that question from the old time.
But a new question surfaced in my mind – with the acerbic response –
My question –
Will the land shape us too?
If we listen, will we belong here?
Will the land recognize me?
When I walk through the heavy heat of summer to the creek,
If I listen deeply enough, if my heart is open enough,
will the earth be glad to see me?
Will it?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Spirit Level

I just finished reading The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett ( 38.00 Cdn - published by the Penguin Group) and I think everyone should read it.

The authors are British experts in the social determinants of health. They state that health and social problems in a society are caused by income inequality within that society; and that that said inequality causes problems for the well off and middle classes as well as for the poor. They support their argument with a slew of statistics from the last thirty years compiled by reputable organizations such as the OECD. For example, on page 183 of their book, they discuss a comparison of death rates in England (an inequal country) and Sweden ( an equal country.) Their graphs demonstrate English death rates are higher across all social classes of working age men. "Sweden, as the more equal of the two countires, had lower death rates in all occupational classes; so much so that their highest death rate - in the lowest classes - are lower than the highest class in England and Wales." The authors demonstrate that other social problems such as teen pregnancy; obesity; violence; mental illness; et al increase as income inequality increases. So couldn't this dynamic work in reverse - health and social problems cause income inequality? Wouldn't a society full of louts and layabouts dispay more income inquality? No. If this were the case, why would folks with decent middle class incomes do more poorly in inequal societies than in equal societies? Why would upper middle class professionals in England fare more poorly than the lower class louts (if you can call them that) in Sweden - to the point of dieing young?

Best of all, the authours' thesis offers us (us pinko lefty flaming improve the world types) a way to effectively reduce social problems and improve the societies we live in.