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.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Modest Suggestion

Tom Flanagan, Ph.D., tried to helpt environmentalists in his latest paper, Resource Industries and Security in Northern Alberta. You can find his paper under "F" (for his last name , people!)  in the Publications Archive of The Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute at

(You may recognize him as the Right Honorable Stephen Harper's campaing manager during the PM's successful run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.) Well, actually he did not intend to assist environmentalists.  His paper discusses security threats to the tar sands.  But, in his conclusion on page 12 of his essay, he describes his security nightmare:
If two or more of the five categories of people described above - saboteurs, eco-terrorists, mainstream environmentalists, Treaty 8 First Nations, and Metis - came together in a single movement, they could become a serious obstacle to development [of the tar sands], given that innumberable roads, piplelines, and physical isntallations are widely spread across the huge, thinly settled, lightly policed territory of Nothern Alberta and adjacent areas...
I suggest that First Nations, the Metis, and Greenpeace should take Mr. Flanagan up on his suggestion  and make common cause after brushing up on Gandhi's principle of satyagraha.  Per Gandhi, satyagraha was
 love-force or soul-force. In the application of satyagraha, I discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one’s opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and compassion. For what appears to be truth to the one may appear to be error to the other. And patience means self-suffering. So the doctrine came to mean vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on oneself.
A modest suggestion .......

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