May 31, 2020

Looters On A Rampage

I was going to write about my garden, which is fully planted, but there is so much going on in the world right now I find myself needing to sow some ideas in the fertile soil of the internet first.

So here goes with some random thoughts.

* When you steal the contents of a store you are a looter. 

When you steal the contents of an old growth forest you are an enterprising industry leader.

* When telling a lie, tell a whopper. Keep repeating it. If challenged, double down. 

For example - "You are free." "We care." "TINA." "Corruption only happens in other countries." "You have Freedom of Assembly." 

* You can rob more money by owning a bank than by robbing a bank.

* There is never enough money for the people's projects. 

There is always enough money for propping up crony capitalism.

* When you dump a load of steer manure on a CEO's doorstep you are engaging in "domestic terrorism". 

When that CEO dumps toxic shit in your drinking water he is engaging in "bringing jobs and prosperity to your community".

* When a crowd of people are in the street (some with automatic weapons), disrupting traffic and screaming moistly for haircuts and a sit down fast food meal, they get a police escort. 

When a crowd of peaceful, non-violent, non-armed citizens are in the street screaming (also moistly) for justice they get pepper spray, rubber bullets and police infiltrators/provocateurs instigating violence to discredit their message. 

* When you try to save the Earth you are an ecoterrorist and will be rewarded with scorn and incarceration. 

When you succeed in destroying the Earth, if you are lucky, you will be rewarded by becoming a billionaire.

I can see who the real looters are, and where the real violence is coming from.

It is not the citizens I have seen in the streets, who are largely peaceful and compassionate toward each other and loving toward their communities.

Right now the real looters are on a record-setting multi-trillion dollar rampage. It is the largest transfer of wealth in the history of large transfers of wealth. 

And the largest purveyors of violence on the planet are state authorities trying to keep our necks under their knees. "We can't breathe!" 

These truths aren't being reported while we are obsessing over The People's understandable reaction to an obviously messed up social and economic situation.

May 28, 2020

A Switch Flicked And It Was Spring

From left: Scotia tomatoes, bush pickle cucumber, Brussel sprouts, stevia.
We are very excited about this year's garden. 

For the longest time winter held on here, long after spring officially began. Until one week ago. Then it was like someone flicked a switch and there was warmth. 

Immediately all living things saw that it was good, and burst out of their winter slumber in an exuberant celebration of life.

Frog eggs.

It's a party - must wear frills.

Exploring for signs of spring. Finding them easy.

Reaching for the sun. 

Growth everywhere.

Red Maple tree flowers popping.


There is no lockdown in nature. It's full speed ahead, now that spring has not just officially begun, but has also officially officially begun.

Next - Our expanded garden!

Happy spring to all Northern Hemispherians. And fall to those of you in the South.

May 25, 2020

Borrowing From The Future: Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day is the day on which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth's capacity to regenerate those resources that year. This day has been getting earlier and earlier since record keeping began.

What will EOD be this year? It is not known yet, but this dismal day was July 29th last year, meaning after that date we were in overshoot and consuming more than the Earth can provide in one year. 

Compare that to 1987 when we started borrowing from the future on October 23rd. We are going in the wrong direction.

The promise of consumerism is that everyone everywhere can have everything. Eventually. That is the kind of fantasy thinking that has lead to a degraded environment. The truth is, our planet is in peril due to overconsumption - we are using too many resources too quickly.

Another whopper, that you would think most of us would have noticed a long, long time ago, is that we can satisfy our infinite wants in a finite system. How? No one ever explains this one. 

Ask someone who believes this myth and you will hear mumbling about how "technology will save us", which then trails off to an uncomfortable silence. 

Technology has gotten us into this problem, and the shortcomings of it won't be overcome with more. If highly complex methods are the problem, reducing complexity is the solution. 

Earth Overshoot Day has been before the end of the year since the early 1970s, when we left one-planet-living behind.

It seems that not many people realize this, or they would surely change their ways. Right? Because when we borrow from the future, we end up depleting resources while killing everything in the process.

This is the shape that our ecosystem (from Greek oikos, house) is in, and that is what has been tracking since 2006. 

Today, their data show, we are using resources at nearly twice the rate that nature can replace. 

In other words, our shared house is in trouble. 

We can't borrow from the future forever. Sooner or later (but probably sooner), our overconsumption will bring the house down with ripple effects that will make the pandemic lockdown look mild in comparison.

"What can I do?", you may ask. 


Simplify, simplify, simplify.

May 24, 2020

Real vs Manufactured Desires

Concrete and barbed wire. Pavement and vertical bars. 

... where no one walks out on the street unless they are going to work, the mall, or returning home.

"Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy..."

Where the people stay in at night, mesmerized by screens.

"This is the evening narrative management."


"Did you see our latest China propaganda?
Michael Moore sucks. He's white, and fat."

...and the stock market, bank accounts, luxury bunkers, how to enslave the people more completely, and ultimate world domination.

Only people who can distinguish their real desires from ones that have been manufactured for them, are able to break free from those that dream of a world of concrete and barbed wire. 

Real vs manufactured desires. It is crucial to know the difference.

Once one can distinguish between them, one can break free, and a simple life of meeting real desires is possible.

May 20, 2020

Jagaad: Life Hacks Indian Style

Makeshift hand wash station shows Indian Jugaad in practice.

If you can't throw money at a problem, what does one do? Simple. You do what you can with what you've got where you are at. 

It is known by many names, this creative use of the resources that one has on hand. Jerry rigging, tinkering, and life hacking, are all DIY, and all happen where resourcefulness reigns over gross wealth.

In India it is called Jugaad, which is defined as "finding innovative solutions to problems arising out of very limited resources." 

There is a rule-bending component, too, that will appeal to those who don't wish to be constrained when problem solving.

The six principles of Jugaad are:

1. Seek opportunity in adversity (resilience)

2. Do more with less (frugality)

3.Think and act flexibly (flexibility)

4. Keep it simple (simplicity)

5. Include the marginalized (empathy) 

6. Follow your heart (passion)

As we move into a lower energy future marked by more people and fewer resources, a philosophy of frugal innovation will be necessary. Besides, just throwing money at a problem rarely produces satisfactory outcomes.

Jugaad shows thinking appropriate for our times, or any time, really. The principles on which it is based are always in style.

It emphasizes doing what you can with what you've got where you are at, rather than buying wastefully over-engineered products from somewhere else with features that are not needed and will not be used.

It is interesting to note that for some time now American corporations have been hiring Jugaad consultants to help them become more creative and learn to problem solve with limited resources and money. 

You can see where they think the world is going, and they want to be prepared. We should be prepared, too.

The principles, and the mission, of doing what you can with what you've got, can help.

May 17, 2020


The simplest of all. 

No questions. 

No answers.

No things.


May 15, 2020

Booming Bicycle Sales Show Shift Toward Simplicity

Overheard the other day:

"What is something you are looking forward to doing after the pandemic is over?"

"Continuing the family bike rides that we have started while staying at home."

Does anyone else feel the Earth moving under their feet? 

Is that the rumble of people giving up driving for riding? Right now car sales are down, and bicycle sales are up. Guaranteed no one saw that one coming just a short while ago.

Not only are bike sales up, bike servicing is as well as people drag old bikes out of basements and garages and bring them in for a tune up. 

Whether it is to get out of the house, get exercise, spend more time with family and friends, or have a less expensive way to commute that doesn't involve being in close proximity to other commuters, people have been turning to the glory that is the bicycle. 

One of the best headlines I have read recently is "Bike Business Booming During Pandemic". That booming you feel is a mass turn toward simplicity. 

The acquisition of a bicycle, after all, is one of the most simple (and wonderful) acts a modern person can engage in. 

To alter the H.G. Wells quote a bit, I can say that, "when I see an adult get set up on a bike, I no longer despair for the human race".

And when I see large masses of adults buying new bikes, and repairing old ones, I start to think, "Hey, we might actually turn this thing around."

Here's to riding our way to a new, better world.

May 13, 2020

If It's Not Essential, It's Not Necessary

I know that something that is not considered essential would be non-essential. But what is that? Not a very glowing term, is what. Maybe we should think about that a bit more as we adjust to where things appear to be going at this strange point in time.

I think it important because when we understand what non-essential means, it gives us a greater appreciation for those things we call essential, but may have taken for granted in the olden days of 2 months ago.

I have been learning a lot about what we now look at as "essential workers" on Canadian farms (also essential). 

Right now up the valley from me, farm workers are actively gearing up for a new growing season. Who are they? Not locals, as one might think. 

The vast majority in the fields are temporary foreign workers from the Caribbean, some of which have been coming here every spring for the past 20 years. To put food on my table. 

I didn't know that. Even though I ate food that was carefully planted, tended, and harvested by their hands, they were invisible to me.

From now on I will recognize them, and their farm employers, for their contribution to my life, and be grateful for their labour. Food, after all, is one of my all time favourite things (along with air, water, and warmth).

To continue, one could look up the definition of non-essential and see what insights that might offer. 

Ouch. Not. Flattering. You do not want to be in that category.

Just look at a selection of other words that could be used interchangeably. I am surprised that anyone from the establishment would call any GDP-boosting business activity in terms that have the power of these blistering words.







unnecessary, and


Never has there been a more honest statement about the majority of what we call a normal, functioning economy. It's all there in the dictionary.

How much of the economy is needless and uncalled-for? Look at how much is shut down now. It is surely a massive amount, since a lot of it depends on endless waste.

Is it thirty percent? Fifty percent? Eighty percent?

What does work even mean in these times when that labour can be considered needless by the very system that propels people to do it to survive? Why were millions of people employed in needless work?

As usual I have more questions than answers. So many questions.

However, it is clear to me that much of our wasteful economy will need to be shut down permanently before arriving at a level where what we are consuming in one year equals what the planet can provide in one year. 

Anything more than that leads right to ecosystem collapse.

Now is a great time to start the global economic downsizing (rightsizing), because if it's not essential, it's probably not necessary. Let's keep it shut down.

May 8, 2020

Will We Stop To Save Mother Earth?

Progress today means everyone stopping and having a lie down.

It is interesting to note that the way to deal with the corona virus is the very same way to deal with so many other challenges facing humanity - stop doing so much unnecessary, completely unnecessary, and wasteful things. 

In other words, stay home, or close to home, more often. 

Right now the world has stopped doing lots of "extra but nice to have" things to save ourselves. I wonder - will we do the same to save Mother Earth, and ultimately ourselves?

Will we continue our temporary forced simplicity, in which we are concentrating more on things like where our food is coming and how it gets to our table, or will we be lured back to the abnormality of excessive and wasteful ways?

While the demise of our planetary life support system isn't as pronounced as a highly contagious virus killing thousands of friends and family in a short period of time, it is a more urgent issue. 

Climate change, air pollution, species extinction, soil depletion, and habitat loss might not kill you quickly, but that masks the fact that people are already dying from all of these things. 

Expect that trend to continue. Many more will die down the road if we fail to seize the moment, have the courage to take back our lives, and continue our collective simplification and lifestyle downsizing. 

We will do it to save ourselves an loved ones from a virus, but will we do it to save the Earth? Will we stop to save ourselves in the long run?

Any way we go is going to be difficult, which is why you will never hear anyone in the establishment make any recommendations large enough to help solve any of our problems. No one wants to be the bummer at the party. 

What they don't recognize, is that the party is over.

At this late stage in the game, a planned downsizing is preferred to an imminent  collapse, and over the past few weeks we have already started the downsizing. 

I consider this to be a good start in the direction we desperately need to go. 

We will have regrets if we don't take advantage of this time in history when things are ripe for turning things toward simpler, slower, and more sustainable ways.

Otherwise, future generations will be asking, "When they well knew the generational effects of their lifestyles and their economies and their systems and their greed, why didn't they stop?"

May 6, 2020

Localism: Keeping It Closer To Home

There is nothing better than a big box full of local food.

Even when we do get out of our homes, our lives will probably be conducted closer to those homes. Many will like it, especially local merchants.

It may seem strange, but everyone used to live more locally before someone figured out how to make a profit by convincing people that life was better somewhere else, even if it was just for a weekend. 

Now we are localizing again, for a variety of reasons. Mostly because expanding our experience did not expand our happiness like they said it would. It is all becoming a great big hassle this trying to "keep up". Many are finding the Good Life to be exhausting.

People will travel and buy stuff from far away when it is easy, but will they do the same when it is harder and more expensive?

Besides, downsizing our experience is what will be required to face down all the other crises that face us after the immediate one is over. As Jim Kunstler said recently, "Big itself is on its way out". 

Conditions will be smaller, more local, and with a focus on strengthening communities in order to face the next challenge more successfully together.

Overall I advocate for buying less in any circumstance. But the exchange of goods is a reality, and most of us must buy. Why not buy those things you need from a local source that in turn builds security and resilience?

The following is from a website on localism
Our actions matter, and we have the freedom to vote with our wallets. Here are our top seven reasons to patronize local businesses: 

Buying locally strengthens communities. Local purchases keep the wealth in our neighborhoods, increasing the prosperity for the people around us instead of going to a far-away corporation. 
Buying locally reduces the fuel necessary to acquire goods for our homes, businesses, and bellies. Why buy food that travels thousands of “food miles” if we can buy fresh, local produce here? 
Buying locally demonstrates community pride. By patronizing a local hardware store instead of a big box alternative, we contribute to helping a local business stay in business in today’s challenging economic climate. Customer service is more personalized, and we get to see the same familiar faces each time we visit. 
Buying locally gets us out of the house or office and outside onto the street where we interact, connect and network with others who live and work around us. In doing so, we expand our own community sphere. 
Buying locally increases our knowledge of available and productive resources in our community, which could serve as a lifeline in the event of a disaster. While we like to focus on the positive, we live in a world where disasters happen. Having a strong and sustainable local infrastructure and food network is not just smart. It’s essential. 
Buying locally enables us to invest directly into our local economy. By contributing to a local business we help to preserve existing local jobs and create new skilled jobs. Local businesses are also the most ardent supporters of local parks, libraries, events, and the great area amenities that make communities unique. 
Buying locally builds trust and positivity, opens minds and hearts, and makes us more independent as a community. A more connected community is safer, more resilient and self-reliant in times of uncertainty.

Localism offers an alternative way forward in which we are in charge, not investors on Wall Street.

Now that globalism has crashed, the time is ripe for localism to take over. We will take it from here, thank you very much.

Forward together!

May 3, 2020

You Are The One

As crisis after crisis piles up, and our crazy world slowly goes to hell, we turn our focus to each other. In this crisis "old fashioned" values that we ditched for selfies of our souls, are returning.

Neighbourliness is being practiced regularly across the land as we look out for one another through small acts of kindness.

Now, with The Virus threatening us all with death, many are wondering, "Who do I want to spend my last moments on Earth with?" just in case.

I know who I want to be with when the "shit house goes up in flames".

"You Are The One"

Written by John Mark Nelson & Dan Wilson
Performed by John Mark Nelson & The Quarantine Chorale ( a choir of internet strangers, singing together about love and the end of the world)
Cello by Dan Lawonn Animation by Sarah Nelson

Even if the world we know crumbles at our feet Even if it comes to war and riots in the street Even if the government can't save us from ourselves And we watch the world while it slowly goes to hell You are the one I wanna watch it all burn down with You are the one I'd say I love you with my final breath You are the one If I could only have one last wish When this life's done, we'll share another one after death Even if we boil away the ice caps and the snow Even if this fragile earth decides we have to go Even if our shining cities sink into the mud And no one's there to save us from the flood You are the one I wanna watch it all go down with You are the one I'd say I love you with my final breath You are the one If I could only have one last wish When this life's done, we'll share another one after death You are the one I wanna watch it all burn down with You are the one I'd say I love you with my final breath You are the one If I could only have one last wish When this life's done, we'll share another one after death

Let's watch it together. Better yet, let's save it from going down.


May 1, 2020

This, Or A Liveable Planet

Humanity has some serious decisions to make right now. We should have made them 50 years ago, but we did not. Now we must, because our survival depends on it.

Will we decide on preserving the Earth, our only life support system, or will we choose something else?

What it comes down to is, 

"You can have *this* or you can have a liveable planet. You can't have both".

With *this* being things like:

- unlimited travel

- personal motor vehicles (fossil fuel or electric)
- billionaires
- industrial food production
- unfettered human reproduction
- ruthless competition
- war/hate
- convenience
- monumental waste
- a disposable society

I don't think it inaccurate to say that we can have a liveable Earth, or we can have those other things. As much as we have been deluding ourselves, we can't have both.

American biologist E.O. Wilson said that "nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction." 

That is because nature is everything. In the end, nature represents our survival. 

What do all those other things represent?

Which would you vote for?

*This*, or a liveable planet?