Mankind vs Nature
While I walked along the rocky shore towards the pub at the harbour for my weekly get together with Camp I was struck by the gap of the natural beauty around me and the precarious and tenuous nature of the modern world we made for ourselves.
Overhead seagulls were chasing the eagle that raided their nests and robins were loudly lamenting the presence of a nearby owl. Orcas were spotted right here off shore chasing seals who were feeding on the salmon. Last week we watched a black bear goofing about in our yard while he completely ignored us. While nature plays out its predatory dance for food and survival, our species is ravaging nature itself with impunity. We breed and slaughter for meat, kill and conquer each other for material gains, ethnic hatreds and feuds, extract and destroy irreplaceable resources for short term benefits and go to war not to achieve peace but for myopic political motives. It is hard to separate the harsh reality from the pristine beauty around me. Thus were my musings as I stepped into the pub.
I also wanted to talk about the findings of the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women And Girlsinquiry, which labeled the tragedy a genocide. When I asked Camp, who was already comfortable ensconced in our usual corner, he pointed out that: ‘They based that conclusion on the UN definition from 1948, which states that genocide is any of five acts committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a nation, ethnical, racial or religious group. ButTamara Starblanket, author of a book on the subject concurs but thinks the inquiry overstepped its mandate. She said it’s a Canadian issue and had no mandate to deal with international legal questions.’
‘That’s just nitpicking,” I said. ‘Fact is there are between 1000 and 4000 indigenous women and girls missing or murdered since 1970 and over half of the solved cases involved family members. The other fact is that the government of Canada deliberately tried to eradicate indigenous culture by forcibly removing children from their families to raise them as ‘white’ and deny them their history and culture.’
‘What can anyone do today?’
‘Acknowledge that it happened, respect your fellow man and women and abolish the Indian Act,’ Camp said.
We both drank to that.
‘What about Trudeau and the liberals giving the go ahead for the TMX pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby,’ I asked Camp.
‘That was pretty well a foregone conclusion. After all they bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $ 4.5b from Kinder Morgan. So far the company has made about $ 70 mio for taxpayers benefits and they had no real choice but to green light this project. But it’s a long ways from shovels in the ground. There are still plenty of court challenges and procedural hurdles in the way. Indigenous and environmental groups as well as both Vancouver’s and Burnaby’s mayors have vowed to fight the project, as has the provincial NDP government. In others words: don’t hold your breath.’ Camp said, taking a long sip from his pint.
‘I think Trudeau’s promise to funnel the profits of this pipeline into green energy projects is a good thing even though it sounds a tad oxymoronic.’
‘As long as the bitumen comes out of the tar sands it will leave either by rail or pipe. The second option is more economical and environmentally safer and also cheaper and will leave the trains for grain and other goods.’
It seemed like a good time to change the subject to something we could both agree on and be happy about.
‘Did you see the footage of the massive parade of joy which turned downtown Toronto into a see of humanity, all out to celebrate the NBA champs from last week?’ I asked Camp. ‘Estimates go to 2 mio people, all peacefully united in rejoicing in the win of the golden trophy by a Canadian sports team, even though not one Canadian is on it’s roster.’
Even Camp admitted that it was a cause worth celebrating. ‘It gives people something to cheer about, a joy in which everybody can share, regardless of politics and divisions. It’s a rare thing to see,’ he said.
Rosie, our server for today, came by checking on our progress with the beers, which were – imagine that – empty. ‘Looks like a thirsty Thursday,’ she said and we both handed her our empty mugs.
Camp’s mood improved considerably with the arrival of a fresh pint. ‘Best to stick to worries closer to home and enjoy the small pleasures in life,’ he said.
‘Like the Raptors win,’ I said.