A Coal Mine in Apple Park

Canaries in a Coal Mine

Photo by shayd johnson on Unsplash

An open letter to Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley, Kinder Morgan, and the National Energy Board of Canada.

A Dead End

Fossil fuels are a dead end. Compromise is not an option when so much is at stake. In pandering to the interests of oil companies, you now have a fight on your hands.

An Indecent Proposal

Asking BC to okay a pipeline through their backyard is like asking Apple to build a coal mine in the middle of Apple Park.

What’s worse is that you are asking Canadians and any other species who live in BC to be canaries in your coal mine, the sentinel species for your profiteering.

Opportunity Costs

By focusing on the wrong things, we risk our own long-term economic well-being.

Have you not heard that there are greater economic opportunities in renewable energy? The EU and China have committed to the Third Industrial Revolution. Who wants your snake oil?

We can learn from California not from Washington.

There is a plan to make the world a better place. Your decision represents a stall tactic for the obsolete fossil fuels industry.

A New Economy

What if working together for the good of all was the most common business model? Watch, as several organizations strive towards building a more cooperative future. By putting humanity before the bottom line, they are finding their place in an economy previously dominated by profits and big business.

Design Thinking

Inspiration

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

— R. Buckminster Fuller

Ideation

The typical hierarchical leader lacks the vision, imagination, and will to embrace the design challenge the world has been tasked with. For 18 years, a small village has taken the initiative to build a model to make yours obsolete.

Implementation

‪Communities of people are collaborating on ways to take power back from governments and corporations so citizens can reap the benefits and sell the excess back to the grid. @cohousingYVR ‬

The Scientific Method

We are not climate change deniers. We want an opportunity to apply creative thinking to challenging problems and meaningful, purposeful work, but governments and corporations are depriving us of these opportunities.

For a start, we can slow down the last gasp expansion of the coal, oil and gas industries. This is a significant question because the carbon budget is nearly all spent. As Bill McKibben recently argued, the science is now very clear that we have a choice — we either face an out of control climate that will decimate society and the economy or we can rapidly remove those industries from the economy. There is no middle path. And the later we start, the more pain there will be.

Reinventing Ourselves

We need to reinvent the present in order to pass on as great as possible a range of options to the future. That need is what gives urgency and a wild permission to those who seek to reimagine the world.

Alex Steffen

If the benefits of the new technologies are to be broadly shared, there will have to be big changes ahead. Labour laws and employment standards will have to be rewritten, our social safety net will need strengthening, governments will have to take a more active role in directing the economy and unions will have to find new ways of representing workers.

Investing in People

Invest in people redesigning their own education and reimagining the experiences they will need to respond to the challenges of our times.

Free Education

Invest in an educated democracy or risk a population willing to believe the unbelievable and devolve into a fascist, authoritarian, corporate-controlled, military-industrial complex.

We can find our opportunities abroad.

There are hundreds of universities in Germany that have free or very low-fee tuition programs available for international students. Whether you want to study Engineering, Medicine, Architecture, or Business, Germany is the place to be.

Hidden Treasures

Invest in the survival of ancient languages and cultures and the empowerment of Canada’s indigenous people and the preservation of the wisdom they can share with us about how to live in this land.

Before settlers arrived, Indigenous peoples were guided by teachings about how to care for the land and water. In many Indigenous communities, these teachings have been carried down from one generation to the next.

A sacred element revered as medicine, water was used in traditional ceremonies and viewed as something that must be honoured, protected and treated with the utmost respect.

But all of that changed with colonization, as Indigenous people were forced to assimilate and relocate to reserve lands from their traditional territories, ordered to attend government and church-run residential schools for more than 150 years, and face the legal banishment of their traditional ceremonies, including any ceremonies that involved water.

Reconnecting to the Natural World

An Opportunity to Lead

You have an opportunity to lead us into a future that is more sustainable, liveable and joyful.

If you do not, it is only a matter of time before we relieve you of that responsibility and privilege, and instead take upon ourselves what you are abdicating: your duty to serve and protect the very real people, wildlife, land, and surrounding oceans of Canada rather than the abstract fictions of money and economics.

Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics, National Film Board of Canada.

And we will engage in class action suits against governments and fossil fuel companies who intend to do us all harm by focusing on profits over people.

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design. https://stephenbau.com

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