Canada Pulls out of Kyoto

This from the CBC and is a major world news headline:

So, before you go admiring Canada, before you marvel at how Canada can afford happiness and healthcare, how it’s economy can stay strong remember that Canada’s economy is strong on the back of US consumption of oil. Canada is strong because of this:

Because of the tar sands and Canada’s willingness to destroy huge tracts of boreal forest (forests which happen to be one of the greatest carbon sinks when left intact) and the livelihoods that rely on them. Canadians are vastly more comfortable and happy than almost any people on earth (in general). Canada has always been willing to extract resources at any cost to a landscape and the people, plants, and animals that live upon it in order to sustain its economic well-being. This is not much different than any other country and that’s just the point — this country isn’t special in any political way. Canada just happens to be the rich oil state of the western hemisphere and because it’s a “democracy” and its people look and talk (mostly) like us, we let the country off easy and wonder how it can be that conditions are so good up there while they are falling to pieces in the US. The answer is a steady supply of resource revenue that everyone in the country benefits from. So, next time you hear your friends comparing the US and Canada and praising Canadian social programs, niceness, fitness, wealth, whatever remember what the backstory is and maybe cut back on the glowing review. At least you can be proud that the Keystone pipeline has been delayed and you can work to keep it shelved forever.


varied thrush

I first learned the call of the varied thrush when I was recovering from an illness that left me stuck at home for months. Every morning and evening I would hear the strange sounds that the bird makes — 1/2 song 1/2 robotic buzz. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what it was. But, eventually I spied the bird making the sound and noticed that it looked like a robin and researching the calls of robin-like birds lead me to the varied thrush. This bird represents renewal to me. It comes in earliest spring and lingers late into the damp summer here in coastal British Columbia and hearing the call feels like a warm blanket, a first promise of the sunny season to come.

The Varied Thrush feels distant now
the three pitch cry
followed by a buzzing trill
in a damp wood.
pink salmon berry blossoms,
red cloven bark, and popping buds
that suddenly become spring

That voice is absent
the rocks are frozen together and slick
silver grey
and the kelp is piling up into
great knots to ferment on the beach
or be tossed with boulders and logs
in the rocky froth
of North Pacific winter.

Me, I haven’t tasted salt in months
I haven’t heard that call
or set foot in those warming corridors
but I will know where I am when I feel it
I will know the sound when I hear it
I will know that it is spring then.
I will know to let go.