Thursday, August 7, 2008
The world is so rushed these days. Everyone has ten thousand things to do, and we are all running as fast as we can just to stay afloat. Inflation, rising gas prices, and Globalization only make matters worse. Are days of family, community, and happiness over?
According to the television, the only way to be happy in the year 2008 is to buy as many "wonderful new" products as possible and to be beautiful, even if it means plastic surgery, botox injections, breast implants, crazy and unhealthy diets, aspartame, hair extensions, tanning beds, and new teeth via lumineers.
As I see it, vanity is just another way for corporations to profit. They are counting on us to buy into it, to feel inadequate without looking like a star in a magazine (even though that star doesn't even look like their air-brushed picture in the magazine). And if you don't have the latest version of windows, then forget about having a life, hey?!
When did the world get so crazy, and why?
I am learning a lot about the economy this summer, and how to make it sustainable. I am taking a class in Ecological Economics at the U of R. We are in trouble with the current system of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which requires the economy to grow forever just to stay at the same level of quality of life for you and I. I would argue that our quality of life is actually decreasing as the economy grows. We are running out of what's called "waste sinks". In otherwords, the earth is running out of room for the waste that is created by growing the economy endlessy.
The Genuine Progress Indicator is a new and different kind of accounting method that provides a more complete overview of well being then the GDP does. The GPI measures areas such as housework, health, culture, fitness, family time, volunteering, literacy, water, air quality, farmland, forests, and employment. Perhaps under that system, we could lower our ecological footprint.
An ecological footprint represents the land and water it takes to provide us with the things we use and to absorb our waste. To calculate your own ecological footprint, click on this link:
The sad part is that even if we all change our individual lifestyles and, as Mike Nickerson would say, learn to live on this earth as if we want to stay, that would barely make an impact. For this problem to be solved, industry has to change. They produce huge amounts of waste compared to you and I. I'm not saying that it's not important to live as green of a life as possible (because it is), I'm saying that it's not enough. We need industry to change, and we need Green Party Governments elected around the world to legislate the necessary changes.
The shift to a green economy is actually a great thing all around. We NEED to use less energy and make less waste. To do this will require much more human energy, which translates into more jobs, including a whole new wave of green jobs for our generation and our kids. Poverty in third world countries will also be relieved through sustainable jobs and by stopping corporations from going into these countries to destroy entire ecosystems forcing the people that live there off their land by polluting the air and water beyond being liveable. We're allowing corporations to do that in Canada too, in Fort Chip, an Indigenious community located downstream from the Alberta Tarsands. They are experiencing huge increases of auto-immune illnesses, and they have lost too many of their people to extremely rare cancers.
Because of NAFTA, Canada must continue to develop the Tarsands in Alberta and Saskatchewan in order to maintain U.S. oil supplies (presently used for the U.S. war effort). Otherwise, Canada will be taken to a NAFTA tribunal, sued, and will be forced to develop the Tarsands anyway. The Tarsands will single-handedly cripple Canada's ability to meet Kyoto Targets, and therefore cripple the world's ability to meet Kyoto targets. As Nuclear power gets further utilized by corporations as a way out of carbon taxes by convincing people that nuclear is green and safe when it's NOT, AT ALL, Canada will have to continue exporting uranium mined in Saskatchewan, despite the increased cancer rates from Uranium tailings.
NAFTA must be killed, and only the Green Party of Canada will do that.
In 1997, Canada banned the import of a maganese compound gasoline additive called MMT. It was banned out of concern that the carcinogenic manganese contained in the octane enhancer could cause memory impairment, tremors, and in extreme cases, psychosis similar to that caused by Parkinson's Disease.
Through NAFTA, U.S. based Ethyl Corporation sued Canada for more than a quarter billion dollars (the amount they claimed they lost in profits and reputation by Canada's MMT ban). Rather than face a messy scrap, the Canadian government paid a reported $20-million settlement to Ethyl Corp., wrote a letter of apology and agreed to withdraw the ban on MMT. As a result, it is still counted as one of the many chemicals added to the gasoline we pump today.
It is cases like MMT and horrible acts against humanity like NAFTA that keep me fighting for what is right. It is issues like the Tarsands, uranium/nuclear, and palm oil that stop me from giving up. If I don't speak out, who will? I am an activist, and I can't sit by while my world, my future, crumbles. That is why I am the Green Party of Canada Candidate for Palliser. Canada needs the Green Party more now than ever.
Peace and Solidarity,
Posted by Larissa Shasko at 12:38 PM