Giving licence to vulgarity

The rising interpersonal venom on the Internet is a distressing sign of the times

Giving licence to vulgarityIf you’re middle aged or better and have a sense of life before the Internet, information technology and all of the associated foofaraw, you may also remember the value of polite speech. It was extremely rare in my youth to witness profanity first-hand in what might still be called polite society. That included family relations,…

Venice flooding a sign of deepening climate crisis

Think of Venice as a metaphor for humanity’s tepid response to the swelling climate crisis

Venice flooding a sign of deepening climate crisisIn the last week of September, I spent an interesting hour talking with an Italian doctoral student in ecology on the banks of the Venice lagoon. She wanted to know why I had come to Venice and what I knew of its insular yet urban environment. “Did any aspect of the Venetian lagoon’s environment draw…

Approaching the end of fall on the Sunshine Coast

The days are increasingly short and grey, but nature is on full display everywhere we look

Approaching the end of fall on the Sunshine CoastI’m looking out of our living room window on a predominantly grey sea and landscape. The eye first trips over some close-in treetops before it encompasses five km of Jervis Inlet, leading to Scotch Fir Point in the mid-distance. The bulk of Texada Island beckons in the further background, hiding whatever it wishes behind its…

Keeping young, ambitious and talented people in Alberta

There’s already a strong engineering, finance and transportation capability in the province. We need to build on that in the new economy

Keeping young, ambitious and talented people in AlbertaA new study related to abandoned coal mining in the United Kingdom and the movement of displaced workers offers insight for Albertans. Not many of us read the online peer reviewed academic journal Nature Human Behaviour. That’s why occasionally perusing the back pages of The Economist makes sense. The Oct. 26, 2019, Economist reviews an…

Split firewood and enduring friendships

A weekend rigorously scheduled, egalitarian, task-focused and bathed in a bonding humour

Split firewood and enduring friendshipsThe chainsaw, sledge and wedges are back in the woodshed. The winter wood is split and stacked. Steve and Dave have headed home to their busy lives; Johnnie and James have promised to redouble their efforts to attend next year. And I’m once again pondering the strength of a growing tradition: Wood Camp at Skelhp.…

Plenty of challenges await Liberals

The diversity and complexity of Canadian federal politics echoes through the 2019 general election results

Plenty of challenges await LiberalsSo I voted Liberal. What did that accomplish? The 33.1 per cent of the 66 per cent of Canadian voters who managed to vote in the 2019 federal election gave the Liberals 157 seats, or 46.4 per cent of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. Clearly first past-the-post system has its advantages. The…

Here’s why I’m voting Liberal

The government has an impressive team, a strong record of legislation and has raised our international standing

Here’s why I’m voting LiberalAided by corrosive social media, omnipresent angry groups and the need for climate tempering, the countdown to the federal election has been divisive and grouchy. While many viewed at least one of the leadership debates, I sense Canadians understand that there’s much more at stake than individual party leader street credentials in this election. Some…

Taking a broader, ecological view of Venice

How many of us think of the Venetian lagoon and its imperilled circumstances when we imagine a trip to Piazza San Marco?

Taking a broader, ecological view of VeniceVenice has been a feast of art, archaeology and escape for tourists since it began to attract them in the 15th and 16th centuries. But it is under attack. One of the world’s first cities to be founded almost exclusively on the conduct of financial transactions, its promotion of mercantile capitalism led the way to…

The Algarve: Portugal’s magnificent beach of a south coast

Imagine golden sand, 25C with a blue sky in May, and the cleanest blue-green ocean you’ve ever seen. Add boardwalks stretching for kilometres and fabulous food

The Algarve: Portugal’s magnificent beach of a south coastImagine golden sand, 25C with a clear blue sky in May, and the cleanest blue-green ocean you’ve ever seen. Add boardwalks that stretch for kilometres across salt marshes and sand dunes. Every so often, include colonies of beach lounge chairs, arrayed under stretched blue canvas canopies. Add swirls of swallows and gulls above, and cue…

Travels and hikes in Italy’s mini Canada

The shared borders with France and Switzerland have clearly contributed to a multilingual society in this very northern and beautiful corner of Italy

Travels and hikes in Italy’s mini CanadaNewly retired and eager to explore some new territory, I admit I knew nothing of the Italian Alps. We flew into Switzerland, and then drove south through the 11-plus km of the Mont Blanc Tunnel into northern Italy. We were with old friends who know the area well because they have a son who lives…

Travelling with Greta Thunberg in mind

Living with your environmental choices and the ones others make for you while on the road

Travelling with Greta Thunberg in mindWe must reckon with the environmental impacts of our personal travel decisions in this time of climate crisis. For us, it was our current trip – to hike in northern Italy with friends, just after my wife’s retirement and, coincidentally, climate activist Greta Thunberg’s trip to New York from Sweden on a sailboat – that…

Big tech created a fractious, annoyed, malfunctioning world

Where’s the evidence that the values this new world order has created produce happiness, fulfilment and the well-lived life?

Big tech created a fractious, annoyed, malfunctioning worldA great article by Andrew Marantz in a recent issue of the New Yorker called Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience details the struggle of American big tech to find its soul. The central theme is the growing awareness of big tech CEOs and senior executives that their endeavours are causing massive societal psychological harm. None…

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West Coast

Blackberries, figs, grey and humpback whales, and spawning salmon all herald the arrival of autumn

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West CoastAs August turns the corner to September, some notable and familiar signs of change occur at Skelhp, which is known as “The place where the ancients dropped down from the heavens and taught us how to make canoe paddles out of yew wood.” The blackberries that have been thriving over the past three weeks start…

Memories of a Transmission lost in translation

Transmission Difficulties: The Dignitaries once had a place of pride behind my father's desk. My mother eventually sold it. Now we know why

Memories of a Transmission lost in translationFor her 97th birthday, I offered to take my mother to Whistler for the day, especially to see the new Audain Art Museum. She was ecstatic at the prospect, and especially eager to see the in-house collection of works by Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes – her two favourite B.C. realist painters. Mom was a…
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