Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
Abuse of power is the oldest story in the book.
Abuse of power is born from the illusion of superiority.Superiority is born from the illusion of belief.
Belief is born from the illusion of morals and values, or lack thereof.
Morals and values are born from the illusion of insecurity.
Insecurity is born from the illusion of inferiority.
Inferiority is born from the illusion of fear.
Fear is the illusion that fuels the oldest story in the book.
Empowerment is power of a totally different kind. Empowerment literally means “to give power to”. Empowerment gives us license to live into our own potential. By living into our own potential, we give ourselves permission to bring the best out in others. Living with empowerment we live into our own potential, learning all there is to learn about what makes us tick, and in that living, willingly share all that we have learned. Empowerment does not need religion, laws, or government to shape us because empowerment lives according to the laws that are written in our hearts. The laws that are written in our heart guide us from a knowing of what is right and what is wrong, a knowing that is born of empowerment.
Change is going to happen. When people are pushed to the limit by abuse of power, lines are drawn in the sand and action is taken. When people are empowered, change is a welcome byproduct of life well lived. Either Way, change is going to happen.
We have a municipal election coming up here in Kelowna in short order. Candidates who are running for the available Mayor and Council positions are under full public scrutiny. The cross section of people, platforms and positioning fascinates me, let the games begin!
There is a buzz about this election like I have never seen before, and that’s after living here for 50 years. Forums are actually being attended and watched. Platforms are actually being scrutinized. Background checks on candidates are in full swing. There is actually word on the street, it would appear that the “Silent Majority” is done being silent.
Battle lines have been drawn, and for a change, at least so far, there is no mud slinging. Candidates this time around are going to earn their seats with solid platforms, a clear vision, and dare I say, strong values and morals. There is little tolerance among the electorate for disrespectful behavior. The environment is a topic of discussion, candidates and voters alike are taking a moment to consider the effects of their planned actions in a sustainable light. Community is a word that is being tossed around, as in actually building one. Leadership is more than a buzzword and a campaign slogan, there are actually candidates demonstrating it. Concern for the environment, transportation, infrastructure, arts and culture, development, population growth, clean industry, youth programs and employment, parks, city hall operations, and more are all on the table this election.
To be sure, there are the usual band of would be manipulators in the form of special interest groups, one of those groups influenced the outcome of the last election. This time around the people seem to be wary of these groups, and are reacting to them with suspicion, indignation and open eyes. This time around the people are going to do the research and make up their own minds, no more blind leading the blind, no disrespect to the blind.
It is shaping up to be a two horse race for the mayor’s seat, one former mayor with experience, one current councillor with enthusiasm, both with a vision for Kelowna, both passionate about their city and their potential role in shaping it. Both are quality candidates, one the elder statesperson with a vision, the other a younger up and comer with youthful enthusiasm and a vision. This promises to be a match of epic proportions!
The council race is no less interesting, made all the more interesting by the retirement of more than one long time councillors, leaving empty seats to be filled by new eager beavers. People new to politics, people re-entering politics, and current people looking for re-election, there is a full roster to choose from.
The future in Kelowna is looking bright!
Fact of fiction?…
We’ll see, the litmus test will be voter turnout!…
The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
One of my favorite things about travel is seeing and appreciating the natural differences that uniquely shape each place and lead thinking people and communities to adapt to live in harmony. Those differences are the reason that landscapes and buildings look different in New Mexico than they do in Florida.
Over the years, I have become much more attuned to my surroundings and anxious to learn about the local conditions wherever I go. Climate, physical forces like waves in the sea and fire on the land, soils, plant communities, and many other natural forces determine the look and feel of every place on Earth. In order to effect positive change on environmental and community issues, this base of knowledge is the foundation of well-informed action.
A recent trip to Amelia Island, Florida —nearly 400 miles to my east—allowed me to experience the uniqueness of northeast Florida. It’s the same latitude as my home in Pensacola, but the differences between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean sides of Florida are pronounced. Observing and experiencing the differences helps me refine my own level of awareness and ability to discern what drives the uniqueness of every place.
The coastal landscape of north Florida comes into view many miles from the island, as broad expanses of salt marsh extend nearly to the horizon next to a long and winding road across river and bay. Once in my hotel room, I leave open the sliding glass door so I can clearly see the rising light of dawn and enjoy the sounds of the ocean as waves pushed across the mighty breadth of the Atlantic crash upon the shore.
Walking out through the dunes, beaches are wide and flat–a reflection of the high energy of the ocean waves and the broad range of the tides that rise and fall up to eight feet on each cycle. Sands are full of shells whole and broken, indicating the richness of life in the nutrient-rich nearshore waters. The Gulf and inshore waters are dark with life, flowing full of tiny plant life and organic matter swept from the vast marshes and sustaining a very rich aquatic food web that includes the massive piles of oysters exposed at low tide.
All of this contrasts with the coast where I live. Along the northern Gulf waves are small, tidal ranges are only about one foot, beaches are narrower, and pure white sands of mostly quartz cover the beach. Our shorelines have very little salt marsh, and coastal waters run clearer, reflecting a relative paucity of life when compared to the turbid east coast waters.
As one who loves to explore how humans traditionally adapt to local conditions, I set-out to walk the streets. The town of Fernandina Beach is the original settlement on the Island, with many 19th century buildings lining a walkable downtown. Shops, restaurants, and a beautiful 1912 Renaissance Revival-style post office are tucked closely along the street. Wood frame houses with deep porches and live oak trees draped with Spanish moss provide welcome shade from the hot sun.
In an area of many large old homes, there is one street of smaller wood frame homes close along the street—each one with a front porch. I come to one home a little less kempt than the others but ironically showing the most life.
I hear voices from a loud television, as the front door of the home is open, and a well-used wooden screen door allows the sights and sounds of life to flow across a porch that sags just a bit. There’s the silhouette of an older man sitting easily in his big chair in front of the television, with an announcer calling-out election night returns. It looks like he may have lived in this home for much of his life, and I feel some comfort in how many of our basic human actions—including enjoying the familiarity and security of our living spaces—are universal across regions.
Once again I’ve called upon my powers of observation–walking the marshes and beaches, bicycling the town, exploring and observing the wildness of nature and the habits of people. It’s the first thing to do when visiting a new place, and should continue wherever we live and visit. Only by first gathering information, by touching the land and listening to its people, can we know enough to make good decisions about our future.
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
Choices part 2
So, how does one “Shape a World”? In a nutshell, by the choices we make!
Last week we explored choices, and the effects they send into the World. Very simply, negative choices send negative consequences into the World, and positive choices send positive choices. Before we discuss “Shaping the World”, we need to discuss the effect of choosing not to make a choice.
Although I have no forensic evidence to support this, politics are arguably the best example of not choosing. Politicians, who we entrust to “Shape the World” for us, bank on the majority of us to be silent at election time, and for the duration of their term in office. By choosing not to vote we support whatever agenda the winner has. Ironically, the “Silent Majority” have a big impact on how our World is shaped, without being actively involved. That leaves the consequence of a positive or negative effect in our World up to our elected officials, and history shows that there is a very high probability that our decision makers will have an agenda with a negative impact.
We discovered last week that we can make positive or negative choices, and in fact do, on a daily basis. We have also learned that choosing not to choose has an effect, an often unknown effect. Regardless of the type of choices made, there can only be two outcomes, one positive, and one negative.
Negative actions create negative results and consequences. Smoking is definitely detrimental to one’s health. We have a strong vote with our wallets, and when we vote to support a product and company without an environmental or social conscience, we support and spread their negative actions. The fossil fuel industry is in the news a lot lately. What is the effect of committing to further development in the oil and gas industry? Very simply, further commitment to fossil fuels commits the Planet to further negative consequences, quite possibly more serious than the consequences we are already experiencing with things like climate change. Negative actions that create negative results will lead to yet more negative consequences, at least until a threshold is reached.
Smokers will continue to smoke until their lungs and other body parts rebel and give out. Alcoholics and drug addicts will abuse until the negative consequence becomes too much to tolerate. We have a high threshold for negative government decisions until a line is crossed, then people will take to the streets to demand change, change that is positive in nature. I have yet to see, in my lifetime anyways, people take to the street to demand a negative change.
Positive actions create positive results and consequences. Like listening to a favorite song, choosing positively fills us up in a good way! Sometimes positive choices come with a price tag, often it means over riding a negative choice. Donut or apple? Drive to the store or walk? Fossil fuels or alternative energy?
We live at a time in history where everyone has a voice, and like never before, the opportunity to “Shape our World”! We have reached a place in our evolution where old ways of living simply do not work. The top down approach we have lived with for millennia is no longer working, or relevant. Kings and Queens rule the roost no more. Old habits die hard though, and we still try to pawn the right to choose off to our decision makers in government, and have reached a point where that system is toxic. We can no longer depend on our traditional decision makers to choose for us, and why would we given our new found voices. We are on the verge of entering a new era of more conscious consumption, an era where the corporations don’t dictate what we buy. Marketing is one of the last bastions of society that we cling to, we appear, understandably, reluctant to admit the party is over. Unbridled consumption is not sustainable. How long can a person believe that we can consume whatever we want, whenever we want it, without effect to the very Planet that is our home. Mother Earth can only support so much growth, and we can negatively choose to continue down the same road we have been going, or get off the fast track to nowhere and positively choose options that lead us to leave a lighter footprint. This new era is in its infancy, and I am sure we will experience some growing pains. It is up to us to use our voices and our wallets to let government and corporations know what is acceptable and what is not. It is up to each of us individually to choose wisely.
The responsibility to “Shape the World” is ours, and ours alone. We have three options open to us, and options are choices! We can choose positively, negatively, or choose not to choose. The only choice that makes any sense is to make positive choices, choices made with love and compassion.
What if we all woke up every morning and started our day with this thought, “What is the most important thing I can do today to send a healthy World into the future?”, then actually follow through with that thought!
Future generations are depending on us to “Shape a World” that is actually worth living on. A World, at the very least, with clean Air, clean Water, and productive Land! Me thinks that the sooner we start, the quicker we will see the changes we want, a World we can proudly say we have had a hand in shaping, a World we can all live with, a World future generations can enjoy!..
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
This Blog, plus one more will mark a full year of writing for the SUP Radio Show, don’t know where the time has gone! Many thanks to Leslie Kolovich for the opportunity! As this milestone looms, I thought I would explore the things that “Shape our World”, call it an exercise in where we are at, and where we are going!
In Part 1 this week, let’s explore choices. Let’s start by defining choice: the act of choosing: the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities: the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities: the opportunity or power to make a decision: a range of things that can be chosen.
We make choices every day, thousands of times every day. Before I started writing this blog I made several choices, and in the end, due to the complexity of the subject, chose to tackle “Shaping the World” over the course of two blogs. That ought to be enough to tackle a challenge this big!
Ignore the alarm clock or not? Boxers or Briefs? Bacon and eggs for breakfast, or granola? Third cup of coffee to start the day, or not? Coffee with the bacon and eggs, or the granola? Coffee or tea? Bacon crisp or not? Alright let’s choose bacon and eggs. Toast with the bacon and eggs? Peanut butter, or jam? Twelve Grain bread, Rye, Brown, white or sour dough? Butter or just plain? If not coffee or tea, maybe juice? Are bacon and eggs really the best choice for a healthy body? Never mind, I’ll have the granola. And maybe a muffin, no, no, too much fat. Milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or yogurt with that granola? The day has barely started, and already the choices are off the charts.
Our choices all have consequences, sometimes leading to a vicious circle. To heck with it, I’ll choose the bacon and eggs, three cups of coffee, toast, peanut butter, and since comfort food is big, let’s toss in hashbrowns and a muffin for good measure. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to see where a steady breakfast like this is going to lead. When a person makes unhealthy, or negative choices, it doesn’t take long for the effect of those choices to be felt. When a person makes healthy, or positive choices, the effect is also felt. This begs the question, what motivates people to make choices.
Negative choices have a variety of sources, including peer pressure which may lead us to a smoking career. Trauma which often leads to substance abuse. Substance abuse which leaves a fairly significant wake of degradation and destruction. Circumstance has profound influence on our choices. Social status is a big one. Sex, sometimes the physical kind, and most definitely the male/female kind sends us off in variety of different directions. Geographic location determines choice, a child in a third world country is not able to choose like a child in the west. Finances, money, moola, we all want it, fewer and fewer have much of it, which largely determines whether it has a negative, or a positive effect.
Positive choices bring a different set of consequences. People who make positive choices are in a different space than people who make negative choices. Health, personal and global, are often motivation for positive choice. Reward of some kind has been used for millennia to motivate positively. Most of us will go the extra mile if it means getting a compliment. Or a raise! Recognition, in its many forms, is arguably one of the strongest drivers of positive choices.
If positive choices bring positive results, why would a person make negative choices? Who decides what is positive and negative?
We all know it is better for us to walk than drive, and yet the majority of us choose to drive. Driving brings a host of negative consequences, lack of exercise, Planet degradation, expense, potential in the form of personal harm from an accident, etc. Walking brings a host of positive consequences, fresh air and exercise, slowing down a pace that borders on hysterical, the potential for conversation, spending time with the dog, etc. Driving also brings some positives to the table, mainly freedom and the ability to cover ground! By the same token walking can bring negatives, hmmm, let me think a moment.
This is where choices get tricky. Compromise. We are not very adept at compromise. What if we were to use our cars for longer distances, and walked the shorter distances? Hmmm, seems we have created living situations that require us to travel long distances, could be tricky. What if we were to drive part way and then walk part way? Granted that would take a bit longer. Hmmm, seems we have created a World where every second of the day is filled with something, and we have no time. We are definitely in a hurry to get somewhere, most of us just don’t know where!
It would appear we have created a World that is somewhat dysfunctional. It’s really hard to function in a dysfunctional operating system, which is why stress levels are off the charts in today’s World. Question is, if we want to leave a dysfunctional way of life, where do we start? What choices do we need to make to create the change that will lead to a better and different World we actually want to live in? How do we go about “Shaping the World”?…
To be continued next week!…