Curiosity is terminal

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Mondays, All the Way Down

I am gainfully employed again.  Hooray.

I am partly of the mind that working for a living is for the birds.  Although, I am also partly of the mind that having something unselfish to do is good for me, and entirely of the mind that being independent and paying my own bills, thank you very much, is also a good thing.  There you go - early morning multitudes.

I am scaffolding again. After six years of teaching and going to school and writing curriculum I am back on the tools and in a harness.  Dear god I am sore and tired.  I had just kind of got used to 40 hours a week on my feet and lifting things (scaffolders move between 2 and 10 tons of gear in a day - how about that?) when we started 10 hour days. Two days later we went to 7 days a week.

I am wholly of the mind that no one ought to work 70 hours a week, even if they do get paid a lot to do it.  But whatever, I am in the minority in the construction, scaffold, pulp, and oil and gas industries on that one.  After 14 days, though, people start to wonder when there will be days off.  We started the 7 day nonsense a full 3 weeks before the actual shutdown, which is supposed to be 35 days long. Last weekend the rumours about days off started; the plant was going to shut down early for cleaning out of vessels and pipes and we were not going to be allowed on site during the process.  Every day, the day after tomorrow was going to be a day off and we might be off as many as five days.  Every day we were told to come to work tomorrow.  I have just been going on the assumption that it is Monday until they tell us it is Friday.

Yesterday was actually Friday. And a good thing too.  It was day 18.  I am getting enough sleep and eating properly; in my old age, I am a bit of a stickler for those things. But I am unused to the hard physical work and my muscles dearly needed the rest. I am much stronger than I was when I went back to work 6 weeks ago, but for the last 18 days, there has been no time for shredded tissues to be rebuilt. I was actually kind of punch drunk. I felt like I was moving and thinking through molasses.  I'm pretty sure something bad would have happened if there had been a day 19.

Tuesday is Monday again.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Changing MInds

There was a link this morning in my Facebook feed to a BC Business article about how giving people the facts is not enough to change their minds.  In my mind this is connected to the moan I always hear from developers that they just have to package their plan the right way to get the public to buy in.

The trouble, I think, is that developers think the facts are all on their side. Pipelines built extra thick to last longer, world class spill response, double hulled tankers, extra tugboats to guide tankers (I don't think there are any plausible facts for Site C, are there?)

But the fact is that the Kalamazoo River is still filthy from Enbridge's spill in 2010.  The fact is that the Gulf of Mexico has not recovered from the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010.  The fact is that Prince William Sound is still not entirely recovered from the Exxon Valdez running aground in 1989.  The fact is that there is a catastrophic methane leak in California right now.  The fact is that there are earthquakes in places where there are no natural reasons for earthquakes that have been directly linked to hydraulic fracturing.  The fact is that human error actually accounts for much of this*, and before you tell me that automating and mechanizing things will prevent these events in the future, remember that in fact humans made the mistakes they made because they misread or over-relied on computerized systems.

The fact is that the people who are labelled opponents think this destruction is unnecessary.

We are not dealing with an inability to accept the facts. We are dealing with two fundamentally different worldviews.  I am perfectly able to grasp and even admire the technological advances and innovation that will purportedly make resource extraction faster and safer and hopefully cleaner. But I am completely unable to see it as anything but unmitigated greed and ecological rape.  Even if I back up from my inflammatory and contentious characterization, it is still single minded and short sighted destruction.  Developers either can't, or won't, recognize that.

I suppose it is possible that there might have been a time when some common ground might have been found here and that "development' could have taken place sustainably, but I suspect that time is long over.  We have befouled the earth, and the air and the water over so much of the globe that we are probably hurtling toward its uninhabitability.  Most days, taking the long view, I honestly think that our own extinction is the very best thing that can happen to the earth.  We have so much hubris as to think that we matter to the existence of our little blue planet, that we are of some consequence.  We are wrong.  We are a mere blip here.  Earth's tragedy is that we have left so much poison in our wake that we will very likely have rendered normal, healthy existence for other creatures impossible for several hundred years into the future.

But by all means, explain to me how cutting down the trees that hold eagles nests on an island in the Peace River and flooding a valley that is home to bears and deer and moose and foxes and could grow food for us while not hurting those homes is such a good idea.

* When I looked for articles to link here, using the words environmental disaster human error,  the results were 3 pages of mostly clickbait. There are some pretty heartbreaking lists there if you happen to want them.