Beyond more – and other desperate measures

The more I study the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and the Alberta Tar Sands, the more at a loss I feel. It’s like you open the top of my head, pour in buckets of facts and numbers, close the top, and open my mouth and all I can say is dddduuuuuuhhhhh!

And, if I feel I’d like a change of pace, I can always trek around the internet with my friend google, cramming my head with facts about supertanker disasters of the world.

And I am NOT discounting the fact that these issues really are crucial and matter very, very much to me, my family, friends and neighbours. It’s just this stuff makes me ccrraazzzzzyyy!

I am reading a stack of paper reports because I think they are important, and need to be read carefully and thoughtfully. In my Bookends computer program, I have a full stash of  PDFs, indexed and ready to go for more reading.  My intention( is) was to know what the “experts” are saying, and, hopefully, know something about which I am talking … or at least sound like I do. But, I have to say, I am not making anything like the progress to coherence I had hoped for.

As well, I am trying to track the media daily to know what is happening in other communities. The Council of the Haida Nation website carries a  News Board which posts media stories about Enbridge and other issues relevant to the Haida Nation. So that provides some centralized location for the daily news.

Add facebook and twitter, TV, radio and online news services to the mix to try and keep up, and it all goes by in a blazing flurry.

In  the evenings this week, we even had our own household Tar Sands Film Festival. (Later this week I will do a post on  what we are watching. Also see Communities Against Super Tankers (CoAST) for a list of films they have shown.)

I have a bad case of twitch-ey eyes. Each eyelid flickering at a different rate and eyeballs rolling in opposite directions. This particular problem, as I see it, is pretty basic: too much computer screen and a way-too-much information blow-out. I probably look as crazy as I feel.

And then there is the sheer scope of the issues: from global warming, to the specifics of Athabasca River pollution; from Alberta tar sand revenues, to the failing health of people in Fort Chipewyan; from Canada’s lack of an energy policy to toxicity of bitumen; from global markets to Atco trailer bunkhouse communities and homes for battered women in Fort McMurray; from supertankers of the world to destruction of the lives of First Nations on the coast; from oil company’s great expectations of profit, to economics that don’t make any sense; from what we burn in our cars to what we eat.

The flipping back and forth in focus from micro to mega, from local to global, from greed-for-profit to environmental mayhem, from the simple to the dense, from the clear to the confused is a disorienting way to work, and often discouraging.
There are moments when I feel like I’m paddling out into white-water rapids – in bad weather, and heading in the general direction of Niagara Falls.

Sooooo …. good news and rays of hope: I see Joanna Macy has a new book coming out this month. She was a great help to those of us who are old enough to remember the days when our anxieties were centered on the end of the world in nuclear war. That book was called “Despair and Empowerment in the Nuclear Age” and it came out in 1983. It generated a whole movement called “Beyond War” and contributed widely to the health and well-being of people working together as activists in stressful and depressing situations.

Her new book is called  Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy. You can read about it here. The Big River store will have it out this week.

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About blue sea sky

By Cynthia Jones Davies, writer researcher who lives on Haida Gwaii.
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One Response to Beyond more – and other desperate measures

  1. Su-san Brown says:

    Thank you so much for this Cindy. I feel the same way sometimes and as one of the people signed up to speak at the Joint Review Panel in June some days I know what I want to say and other days I just feel overwhelmed. I just keep going back to what John Broadhead said to me once … to just bear witness is important. I must say after 40 years on Haida Gwaii I have borne witness to a lot.

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