As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted a blog essay recently. Part of the reason is that I have been busy working on several projects that require substantial amounts of time. A crime series about an archaeologist turned detective in Istanbul.
The other book is a meditation on the role of prayer in people’s lives. These are waters that I’ve never sailed in before and they take considerable navigating. The third project isn’t literary but also requires considerable focus. I’m building a house overlooking the sea, a couple of kilometers from my grandfather’s old farm in the village of Grand Etang. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never could find a piece of land that was suitable. I’ve found it now, bought the land and am busy drawing up the plans for the house. We hope to build it this summer. It’s not an easy thing building a house 1,800 kilometers away and it’s probably a foolish thing to do. Jane Jacobs used to wear purple. The house in Cape Breton is my purple.
What else? I will post an occasional blog, but I will do my best to stay away from commenting on what Jim Kunstler calls the ‘flux’ of events. It’s not that I’ve lost interest, rather the reverse, I care too much. I find it painful to observe the primitivism the world is sinking into. There’s virtually nothing the Canadian governments or my old haunt city government does that I can find inspiration from. Cities are run by developers and client politicians. (I don’t find Rob Ford amusing. I find him immensely sad.)
The federal government is run by the oil industry and other corporate giants and the federal government is doing everything in its power to ensure that this will continue regardless of what political brand is elected by creating laws to suppress citizen capacity to vote and be informed. At the same time, the government is rapidly reducing the capacity of the nation state to actually govern. International ‘trade’ agreements like the Korean and China ones ensure that national laws cannot displace corporate freedoms to do business. We’re now seeing corporations take governments to court for trying to protect forest habitats and winning. Costa Rica must actually buy its rain forests at market value to ensure that corporations don’t clear cut it. This will happen in Canada also if any government tries to ratchet back the Tar Sands crime against humanity. (How else can you look at something that is three times the size of Ireland and is making such an impressive and singular contribution to global climate instability – which is jeopardizing the life of all human beings.)
As you can see from the foregoing, it’s probably a good idea that I don’t write about the ‘flux’ of events any longer. For a long time, I had the good fortune to work quietly away on local sustainability issues as a city councillor. To a certain extent, I found refuge there in promoting urban rail and street based development instead of mall and urban arterials, heritage forests and landscapes instead of McMansions and condos, but those days are gone. Today, I find myself with everyone else waiting out the long winter while the wind roars, growing stronger and more unpredictable with each passing season. My writing about the decline of society’s capacity to think about and act in response to the challenges that are facing us will not change this, so I will say good bye and content myself with the occasional cracker barrel twitter.
Thanks for your company.