Category Archives: Satire

Car – less in Ottawa

Car-less in Ottawa, Canada

 Since relinquishing my car, radical new horizons have appeared, though there was an initial period of grief and frustration.  Every time a winter green Subaru Outback drove past I would weep, especially if I was clambering over snow banks to get to a bus stop.  I would often get on the wrong bus, discovering parts of the city I had no intention of visiting.  I must also add that relinquishing my car was not quite as virtuous as it may seem.  My car insurers refused to renew my insurance policy due to the frequent, yet small, crashes that had cost them oodles of money.  The most notorious incident was when I collided with my neighbour’s mini-van.  I still believe he was on the wrong side of the road, but just perhaps it was I.  His insubstantial mini-van crumpled and buckled while my beloved Subaru Outback had minor damage to the front fender.

My neighbour cheerfully, and without realizing the risk, got into my car and I drove both of us to the nearest police station to report the collision.  The police sergeant who took our particulars was another neighbour and as I stood there looking somewhat sheepish, he put up his hand with an air of authority and said: “I don’t want to hear anything from you – I will put this down as a no-fault collision.”  I was about to point out that “no-fault collision” was an oxymoron, when my neighbour (not the police sergeant but the one whose mini-van I had crumpled) said OK and hurried both of us out.  He had to meet his daughter at a shopping mall and asked if I would kindly drive him there.  Quite a risk taker he was, given the circumstances.  I happily agreed and mused that just perhaps my absence from driving would make it safer for every other car on the road, quite apart from the obvious environmental benefits.  All this being said, I was not prepared for new vistas that were suddenly there when I became car-less in Ottawa.

I learned how well served my city of Ottawa was with bus and light rail services.  Furthermore, had I continued driving a car I would have missed out on one of the most hilarious and refreshing bus conversations I have ever had.  Riding home one evening on the 117 bus from my university to Baseline Station, I noticed a young man with a 12 pack of beer sitting opposite, staring very intently at me, obviously three sheets to the wind.  Finally he blurted out: “Hey, aint you the ecology guy on TV?”  To which I mildly demurred that indeed I was – not really wishing to get into a conversation with an inebriated young man.  But joyfully he exclaimed: “Hey, me and the boys have a pack of beer every Monday night when we watch your show.  It’s cool man.”  I felt immediately humbled by his openness and that surprisingly I was making a difference.  As was he at that moment, as he chatted away about ecology and recycling until his bus stop. He offered me a bottle of beer before leaving the bus, which of course I accepted graciously.  I did not drink it, leaving it in the bus driver’s bin to dispose of as he saw fit.

I had discovered that between Baseline Station and my home, there was a kilometre walk along Pinecrest Creek that constantly stunned me with its beauty.  As it was a bicycle path the snow was ploughed in winter, which made walking that much easier.  To have mother nature dance for me in such unexpected ways led to my often carrying a camera, with stale bread and grain for the mallard ducks that wintered there.  The sunsets over the ice rimmed creek and snow covered field leading to it would take my breath away.  They could not possibly be there in the middle of a busy city!!  As were red foxes, one lonely coyote, song birds, owls and the occasional pedestrian.  My walking meditations between Baseline Station and home made me smile as I slowed down and hummed Pooh Bear type hums.  If I had a car this wonder would have been denied to me.

I also relocated essential services close to home, finding doctors, dentists, eye specialists (and camera shops) within walking or biking distance.  They had been there all the time, just waiting to be discovered.  I now re-arrange appointments locally within bicycle range, rarely going downtown unless absolutely necessary.  Driving a car, I could not stop to fully be with moments of stunning beauty for as long as I liked; or say hello to rabbits that boldly appeared; or leave contented ducks well fed on bread and grain murmuring their approval of the two legged who listened to what they wanted.

The bus drivers on the 117 bus route have got to know me and younger passengers offer their seats to the greybeard with the jazzy umbrella and funny black hat.  Would I go back to driving a car and lose all this?  Well, talk to me about an environmentally friendly Mercedes and a kind insurance broker, then perhaps we’ll see.

Legacy – Not a Love Story with the Earth

Legacy – Not a Love Story with the Earth

by

Dr. Ian Prattis, Professor Emeritus, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Hey there Mr. Prime Minister, President, King, Despot, Corporate Mogul and globally cloned counterparts – congratulations from the new century. The year is 2101 to be exact, eighty eight years from your present time. We notice that your policies and corporate acumen created a systematic cascade of failing ecosystems on planet Earth. This was a remarkable feat on your part, as you had all the science, studies and reports in front of you to stop the destruction. Remember the one liner from Bill Clinton that won him an election – “It’s the economy, stupid.”  That is the wrong direction. Your dysfunctional global financial system lurched from one disaster to another throughout the century. May we remind you of the obvious: “It’s the ECOLOGY, stupid.” The economy is a mere sub set of the mother lode of ecology and you have successfully screwed that source up. On your watch not only did the financial collapse signal a dangerous global watershed, the world food system crashed as a consequence along with the train wreck of chaos brought in by climate change. Nobody did anything to rein in the usual suspects.

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Come and see through eyes from 2101. Are you aware that by 2101 thousands of millions of people died from thirst, starvation and disease?  With death arriving from every pestilence available, some of it created in your counter-intelligence labs. The countless millions who have died do not include the many wars waged over scarce resources. And the reason for such wars?  Your greed for money, control and power led directly to the cascade of disintegrating eco-systems essential for the support of life. It was amazing how you silenced and muzzled the climate change scientists, the oceanographers screaming that the ocean eco-systems were disintegrating, and how you ignored citizens with the integrity to save the earth. You had a different agenda and the power to implement it.

Maybe our species will be eliminated while it plays with distraction technologies. What a serendipitous aid for your ambitions to so distract the world’s populations from what was happening right under their noses. Folks did not realize that you were bringing them to the brink of elimination. Neither did you realize this. Our team from 2101 studied your minds yet did not find a species death wish lurking there – so whassup?  Aaaah – our mistake – your minds were so tiny, without an ounce of generosity. Not what we expected to find. But there it was – you could not see beyond the next election, the next million dollars. It was our fault that we failed to see that you had inherited the Nero gene – fiddling while not just Rome burned, but the entire planet was allowed to burn.

What could you have done?   Why did you not shift away from a carbon based economy? Why did you not protect the bees by banning all pesticides that killed them? Agricultural systems in Canada and around the world collapsed as there was no pollination after the last bee hive perished. The Global Marshall Plan created a blueprint for an eco-social market that would sustain the earth, respect cultures and finance voluntary simplicity. Did you even read their brilliant Manifesto?  The list of your wrongdoings could go on for a hundred pages.

Mr. Prime Minister, President, CEO – who should you have listened to? You could have listened to Rachel Carson, rather than turn on the pharmaceutical industry jets in a carpet bombing campaign to discredit her. The extraordinary writers and campaigners for the Earth runs a very long gamut from Bateson, Suzuki, McKibben, Gore, Gladwell, Hawken, Korten, Lovelock, Anderson, Monbiot, Radermacher, Shiva, Wilson to the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Prattis even entered the earth gambit with his 2008 book Failsafe: Saving The Earth From Ourselves. David Suzuki endorsed it and wrote the foreword, aboriginal leaders delighted in his advocacy. His point was that in every mind there is a Failsafe that would activate when matters grew so bad that moving to a new mindset would be inevitable. He argued that the notion of innate earth wisdom, when combined with tipping points in the mind and counter culture, would be sufficient to change our collective mentality in the direction of better earth stewardship. But there was a huge obstacle in the way, not anticipated. That was YOU! Your shared Nero gene had circumvented any possibility of a Failsafe in Consciousness from kicking in. Your manipulation of distraction technologies was a brilliant strategy to protect your interests.

You collectively figured out that distracted people don’t realize they are in danger. Perhaps you can learn something from Rumi’s cogent words. He said: “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.”  But your policies and greed forced humanity off the edge of the roof to occupy an ecosystem of distraction technologies. Add in the Fear factor and Suffering – then homo sapiens may indeed be toast. Turning on the switch of awakening in your time frame seems to be a good idea right now, but that is not something you promote. This is what you promote. In Canada, Stephen Harper and Big Oil ran an incredible promotion campaign for the Alberta Oil Sands project. They produced images of reforestation, utmost safety, deep concern for wildlife, populations and clean water. This played to a receptive audience throughout the country. Decades later the northern rivers and lakes had become a wasteland. It does not take long to destroy eco-systems. Oil derivatives and sludge polluted lakes swiftly poured through interconnected waterways. Aboriginal populations that once augmented their households with fish and game are no more. They either relocated or died, for they could not drink the polluted water carrying the deadly toxins from Tar Sands Oil production. While the northern ecosystem dies, the politicos and corporate CEO’s bask in power and wealth.

Mr. Harper, Prime Minister of Canada – do you remember in 2013 that 12 prominent Canadian climate scientists advised you to grow up? They took you to task for the wasted billions spent on expanding oil infrastructure. Your policies torpedoed the transition to an economy that could sustain us. Instead of finding a balance you chose to use the atmosphere as a waste dump for carbon.  We all breathe the same air Mr. Harper.  Are you even aware of the legacy you left for your great grand-children?  Certainly you and your global clones created well provided bunkers for your families – but sad to say the power ran out some time ago, along with the synthetic food. Your descendants are waiting to die from the next wave of pestilence. Do you think for one moment that they look kindly on your legacy? They do not. And indeed hold you responsible for their miserable life on planet earth.

DCF 1.0

Our team have communicated with global citizens and encouraged them to hold all political and corporate ghouls to account. Where can they begin? Citizens must think globally, be aware of the bigger picture and step beyond the smaller pictures of themselves created from the disempowerment you so cleverly dispense.  They must also act locally with great vigour in families and communities. Intentions then spread as ripples from a pebble dropped in still water. In addition to holding officials, politicians and corporate culture to account, citizens can begin with the small things that everyone can do.  Such as implement a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity, reduce meat consumption, walk/cycle more, drive less, create an organic garden, plant a tree – just do it! Reduce the ecological footprint by conserving energy with an eco-friendly act every day, then global consciousness as a collective human phenomenon may change. Different questions will be asked and different solutions found, as a new mind-set of shared consciousness emerges to make the necessary decisions for change.  At the same time alert political and corporate decision makers that you mean business as voters and consumers deeply concerned about the planet and your location on it.

Respond in the short term and do not check out in the long term. Boycott all Monsanto products and vote for new leaders is the immediate rallying cry. Citizens must make it clear to political and corporate leaders that the violence and disorder committed in their name is no longer acceptable. Citizens of the world, please hold your leaders to account with clarity, wisdom and courage.  The actions taken now shape the possibilities for generations to come. The future is now. When the collective will changes, we will have new leaders who act differently.

In writing to present political and corporate leaders from the future of 2101, we realize that you are all dead now. Some assassinated, others rotted away in prison, while the remainder died shallow deaths in gated communities.  Please note that the prophecy for your 2013 legacy was provided in 1971 by Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.” Watch the movie Mr. Prime Minister, President, CEO – Then Think!

The Middle Finger Sutra

The Middle Finger Sutra                                                                   Ian Prattis

Good intentions meet wrong perceptions creating disaster!

This teaching by the wise one was passed on by a lady in a bookstore.

“The other day I went into the local religious bookstore, where I saw a “Honk If You Love Jesus” bumper sticker. Although not a Christian I thought this was a great sentiment with respect to Global Religious Harmony. So I bought it and put it on the back bumper of my car, and I’m really glad I did that, as it brought forward a wonderful response from all kinds of people of many faiths and cultures. What an uplifting experience it was for all of us.

I was stopped at a light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought of the Divine and I did not notice that the light had changed. But that bumper sticker really worked as I found lots of people who loved Jesus. Why, the guy behind me started to honk like crazy. He must have really loved his Lord because pretty soon he leaned out his window and yelled “Jesus Christ” as loud as he could. It was like a football game with his shouting “Go Jesus Go.” Everyone else started honking too, so I leaned out of my window and waved and smiled to all those loving people. There must have been a guy from Florida back there because I could hear him yelling something about a “sunny beach”, and I saw him waving in a funny way with his middle finger stuck up in the air. I asked my two kids on the back seat what that meant, they giggled and said it was the Hawaiian good luck sign, so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign back.

Several cars behind, a very nice large man stepped out of his car and yelled something I could not hear. It sounded something like “mother trucker.” Maybe he was from Florida too. He must really love the Lord. A couple of people were so caught up in the joy that they got out of their cars and were walking towards me. I bet they wanted us all to meditate together, but then the light changed to yellow and I stepped on the gas. I was the only one to get across the intersection as everyone was meditating and waving their middle fingers. I leaned out of the window and gave them a big happy smile and held up the Hawaiian good luck sign and drove away. Praise the heavens for all those wonderful meditators.”

The followers of the wise one immediately put the Middle Finger Sutra into practice at every intersection in the city.