Food & Energy

            Canadian Thanksgiving is over and the turkey soups and sandwiches are done and fall is officially upon us but I’m certainly not complaining about the continuing unseasonably warm and dry weather. Can we still call it Indian summer or is that a derogatory reference, woke or politically incorrect? Camp waved off my concerns as unnecessary polemics. ‘It’s a common phrase that simply refers to warm fall days, kind of like a second summer.’

            I had something on my mind and wanted Camp’s input. ‘All of Europe, and a lot of people elsewhere, are very concerned about the coming winter’s supply or lack of energy to maintain their life styles. Anything from hot water to gadgets, from hair dryers to tumblers, hot tubs to heating systems, is now being looked at with a new and concerned scrutiny. Gone are the days when we could waste energy without giving it a second thought,’ I said.

            ‘You do know that the conservation of energy is the primal mover of life on earth. Life and progress are all about how to use energy more efficiently, so maybe these new concerns brought to the forefront by the crazy war in Ukraine and the unstable climate situation, is prompting an evolutionary increment for our species,’ Camp said. 

I’m not sure if my friend was being facetious. ‘Turn down the heat, walk or bike instead of drive, shower with lukewarm water, cook eggs in only one finger of water etc. are being bandied about as novel ideas.’

            ‘Rich man’s problems’ as Sophie, Muriel’s daughter would say to that. None of it will save us from dependency on fossil fuel, be it from the Gulf states, fracking, the North Sea oil and gas fields or even Russia, although everybody is desperately trying to isolate them, without much success, I might add. As long as OPEC is helping Putin by keeping the price of crude high, he will have enough rubles to keep on playing his destructive game of Emperor of the World.’

            ‘Meanwhile, we’ve had the third largest grain harvest ever recorded here in the prairies, and have trouble bringing it to market. I read that there is a backlog of 2400 rail cars. The grain is plugging up the silos, just when the world needs it most,’ I said.

            ‘Food is energy, which drives all of life, from the tiniest bacteria to the largest mammals, but only humans weaponize food and use it as a form of blackmail for political or territorial gain. As Henry Kissinger famously said: Who controls the food supply, controls the people.’ 

‘It’s despicable but the Russians aren’t the first to use food as a weapon of war. From sieges to ‘scorched earth policies’, from the Punic Wars with Carthage to the Vietnam war and Agent Orange, food supplies have always been destroyed and held back in order to subjugate, starve and conquer. Humans are inherently evil when it comes to wars,’ Camp said as an afterthought.

I couldn’t disagree and did not want to point to the food and water migrations that are bound to happen in the near future. Even here, at the lovely BC Sunshine Coast the water is running out, albeit that is an infrastructure problem not a shortage of water, as all of us who live here, know. Civic elections are happening as we speak and Camp decided not to run this time around.  A shame really since his pragmatism and open mind is exactly what’s needed in all levels of politics. He served his community well and I thanked him for it 

‘A lot of good has come from it. If you speak your mind you’re out of order, if you go public with our concerns, you’re abusing your office, if you complain about the slow progress, you’re not understanding the process. Now that I’m unencumbered by civic office I can howl at the moon, talk to anybody about anything and conserve my energy for important matters.’

‘Like what?’

‘Paying more attention to those I love and cherish, read more, sleep more and maybe even join you for a walk along the shore.’

‘Will you vote for anybody?’ I asked Vicky when she came around with our refills.

‘I’m voting for my mom’s friend who is running for school trustee.’

‘Oh, what makes her special?’

‘She is a single mom like me.’   

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