Careful now!



It’s About What You Do (And Don’t Do)

“If it is not right, do not do it,” Marcus Aurelius wrote, “if it is not true, do not say it.” But it’s worth pointing out that as a philosophy, Stoicism demands more of us than just this negative. As Marcus would also point out, “Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.”

So, first, do not lie. But, second, sitting by and allowing a lie to stand? These can both be injustices. No Stoic would argue that fraud is permissible. But what if you witness fraud? What if you suspect a fraud is occurring at your work or in your industry or in government? Nassim Taleb bridges these two quotes from Marcus perfectly: “If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”

Be the person that stands up. Be the person that lends a hand. Be the person that actively does good, that is courageous and generous. It’s not enough to simply not do wrong. We are called to do more than that, we are held to a higher standard. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” is the line. It’s true. Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t make it someone else’s problem.

Do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.


Thanks to The Daily Stoic.

The Green New Deal Battles Business as Usual. Both Will Doom Us

We’re clinging to fantasies while the world crumbles. And we like it that way.

By Andrew Nikiforuk Yesterday | TheTyee.caAndrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about the energy industry for two decades and is a contributing editor to The Tyee. Find his previous stories here.


‘The real unfolding drama — the collapse of a global civilization founded on a highly material culture created by cheap energy — is not a narrative we want to tell ourselves or our children.’ Image via Pixabay.IndustrialFutureVignette.jpg

The stories we tell ourselves become the reality of our experience.

Global elites are now offering ordinary people two salvation stories for our digital entertainment.

Both delusional stories are being served on the Internet with bags of virtual popcorn.

One is the so-called Green New Deal, and the other is Business As Usual, which comes in both liberal and autocratic formats.

Both are actively competing for our attention.

Let’s begin with BAU, which now boasts a variety of populist variations.

At one level or another, we can all understand BAU’s alluring and simple call to restore greatness and order.

Think of it as Vladimir Putin, Doug Ford, Jair Bolsonaro, Andrew Scheer and Donald Trump doing a rain dance to bring back lost worlds and spent energies.

Or China’s Hong Kong establishment wondering what’s wrong with those young people in the streets.

Or Emmanuel Macron asking what the hell got into those yellow vest people marginalized by globalization and carbon taxes.

The BAU refrain is simple: trust the status quo and its armies of technocrats, because they’ll make things great again.

The BAU crowd maintains that nothing is really wrong with our failing global economic Ponzi schemes or the broken air conditioning unit that controls the climate.

According to the BAU crowd, there is only one route to greatness: we must deregulate and reduce taxes for the rich in order to promote growth and jobs.

The BAU program also encourages citizens to attack its critics, climate migrants, scientists or anybody else who questions the insanity of its approach.

According to BAU proponents, ungrateful people are making it impossible to achieve its real greatness.

That’s one popular denial narrative, and most of the media tends to parrot it. In a technological society, the media builds consent by serving the powerful.

Next comes the Green New Deal. Fashioned after U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt’s economic new deal, the GND says that BAU stinks.

Climate change poses an “existential threat” to civilization (as if biodiversity loss and exponential population growth don’t), and fossil fuels are the enemy.

It proposes a Second World War-scale mobilization to fix the problem.

Proponents of the GND claim they have a plan to transform the globe’s massive fossil fuel infrastructure into 100-per-cent renewables over the next decade.

In just 10 years, they say, we can pivot (a favourite word for elites these days) to a greener and saner world than the one based on a century of fossil fuel reliance.

The GND movement says it will drive carbon emissions down toward zero with the goal of thwarting rising seas, maverick storms, heat waves and ocean acidification.

In the process, the GND aims to employ lots of people, end poverty, and perhaps racism too.

To appreciate the ambitious scale of the GND, consider the real global energy picture as set out by Tad Patzek, a professor of petroleum and chemical engineering in Texas.

If we divide the days of the year up based on total energy use, he writes, fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — powered the globe for 321 days in 2018. (Fossil fuels provide more than 80 cent of the energy we consume.)

Dams and nuclear power kept the lights on for 15 days.

Renewables or repeatables (solar panels and wind turbines need to be replaced every 50 years or so) only energized the globe for about 29 days. And most of that energy came from biomass or wood burning.

The GND wants to turn 29 days into 321 days of primary power — in a decade.

But here’s the thing. According to Patzek, annual increases in the total amount of energy consumed by the world has consistently been greater than electricity production by all solar photovoltaic arrays in the world.

Electrical demand is rising faster than the increase in production from renewables, which explains why fossil fuels have supplied more than 80 per cent of primary global energy demand for decades with little or no change.

So that’s the choice at your local political theatre. BAU promises a magical future, with some robots and drones thrown in. GND sets out energy goals that could only be possible in some sort of Marvel superhero movie.

People are lining up behind these simple narratives because the human brain can’t handle much complexity.

And the real unfolding drama — the collapse of a global civilization founded on a highly material culture created by cheap energy — is not a narrative we want to tell ourselves or our children.

We are wired to deny reality the way warring spouses can steadfastly ignore the absence of love.

Nate Hagens, a former Wall Street wolf and now an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, gives lots of talks about things falling apart.

He emphasizes that BAU and GND suffer from the same shortcomings.

They are both energy blind. Neither BAU nor GND, for instance, understand that energy flows underpin economic flows. The more carbon-based energy we use, the more economic growth global civilization experiences.

The less we use, the more our economies contract.

BAU pretends that expensive fossil fuels like fracked oil or bitumen can replace cheap conventional stuff with no global economic contraction. They can’t.

GND pretends that renewables can provide the same quality of energy as fossil fuels with no global upheaval. They can’t.

Both ignore the limits imposed when 7.7 billion human beings are consuming the planet, and the dire consequences for biodiversity. Any way you look at it, overpopulation is part of the problem. But not in the BAU and GND worldviews.

These two battling narratives also fail to take into account the fragility of the global financial system. It is now sustained by low — or negative — interest rates and a fossil fuel industry sustained by cheap credit.

Hagens, of course, offers a different narrative, one closer to the truth.

He says the world is in the grip of energy-consuming amoeba, or what some critics used to call the technological-industrial complex.

The omnivorous blob, a sort of “unthinking, mindless, energy-hungry superorganism,” is autonomous. We are no longer in charge or driving this crazy bus. It has swallowed us.

Every fossil fuel user belongs to the amoeba, just as a starling and its neighbours belong to a murmuration.

Because almost every good and service (and solar panel) starts with a fossil fuel fire, the amoeba can’t really think of a world where power is not consumed vigorously and mindlessly.

And without fossil fuels, the amoeba would shrink and die.

Almost every so-called environmental problem, from deforestation to nitrogen imbalances to vanishing fisheries, is largely a product of the metabolism of the energy-consuming amoeba.

Hagens thinks the world needs a non-partisan conversation about this reality, and about how to prepare for a 30-per-cent drop in energy consumption.

He says civilization has three options: it can muddle on, bend or break.

Muddling is what we are doing now.

No one is talking about bending. That would require dramatic reductions in energy spending and a different way of living.

Breaking is what Margaret Atwood writes about in her science fiction.

At the 2016 World Economic Forum, the historian Ian Morris patiently explained to some of the globe’s elites why civilizations collapse.

The horsemen of apocalyptic collapse — or what the digital crowd might call barbaric disruptors — include uncontrollable migrations of people; novel plagues; failing states leading to much bloodletting; the collapse of trade routes leading to hunger; and climate change.

“It’s hard not to feel that we are now encountering some of the same kind of forces that have traditionally been involved in the fall of civilizations,” Morris said.

But back to Hagen’s amoeba metaphor. It is probably more apt than he ever intended.

Almost 250 million years ago, a microbe called Methanosarcina figured out a new way to capture energy in ocean sediment by eating organic carbon.

It grew exponentially on the new fuel, like the British Empire did on coal or the American Empire did on oil.

But there was an unintended problem.

Methanosarcina farted methane, and that methane changed the chemistry of the oceans and the sky, resulting in a massive die-off of creatures.

It took about 10 million years for animals and plants to recover from the climate crisis created by a Methanosarcina population boom.

The absurdity of the two competing narratives should now be plain.

The BAU crowd thinks we can grow the amoeba, and all will be great again.

The GND thinks we can green the amoeba and right all that is wrong.

Listening to these two camps trying to clobber each other while denying reality brings to mind a delightful line from an equally absurd scene in the film Dr. Strangelove.

“Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here! This is the war room!”

We’ve begun to experience collapse in all spheres of life. Collapse can be both slow and rapid. It is a series of unending emergencies.

Instead of responding or preparing, we’re cheering on a fight between fantasies.  [Tyee]

If I can mow a pathway to peace with my neighbour, why can’t governments figure things out?

I have copied this story directly from The Globe and Mail mainly because I love the idea expressed here and the simplicity of becoming friends. Additionally I have actually met the writer and developed a great relationship with his Dad.

First Person is a daily personal piece submitted by readers. Have a story to tell? See our guidelines at

There seems to be a lot of sabre-rattling in the world these days and it’s troubling because it’s not actually sabres that are being rattled: it’s ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. I was thinking about this as I was mowing my lawn, which takes about three hours and so gives me lots of time for thinking. As I mow the pathway that connects my backyard to my neighbour’s, I think back to the creation of that path, I think about the relationship I have with my neighbour and I think still of the news of the day.

Between my house and my neighbour’s lies a tract of unused land covered in weeds, wild shrubs and trees, giving clear 20 or 30 yards of separation between our homes. The land belongs to my neighbour and he treats it with a kind of benign neglect: It is a little piece of wild woods between our neatly mowed and maintained properties. In my first summer in my home, I was out mowing one morning and decided to make access to my neighbour’s yard a little easier. With my garden machete, I cut through weeds and shrubs to create a path as far as the trees and then mowed it down to lawn level. Later that day, in true Canadian fashion, I wondered if that was really acceptable, as the land does belong to my neighbour, not to me. Shortly after that, I heard a gas-powered brush cutter at work up in the area that separates our yards. Going out later, I saw my neighbour had cut the rest of the passage through the trees, completing a convenient path from one back yard to the other.

For 25 years, my neighbour and I have used that path countless times, to our mutual benefit. We are completely different people. He has no university background, and university is almost all I have known. He knows how to survive in the woods with ease, and about the only thing I know about wilderness survival is that I should wait patiently for my neighbour to come and rescue me.

I have hauled my mower up to my neighbour’s shed numerous times for repairs, as he can fix any engine. He has often come down to seek my advice and counsel when he hits a rough patch in life. An alcoholic now over 20 years sober, he has leaned on me at times to ensure his journey through life stays sober. He has fixed my car, which I should note is a Kia Soul; so it can truly be said, I work on his soul and he works on mine.

We have delivered chocolate cake and cookies to my neighbour and he has delivered fiddleheads and apples to us. He keeps my motors running and at times, I keep him going. He’s a search-and-rescue volunteer and when search and rescue becomes search and recovery, he always comes down the path so I can do a debrief.

Sometimes, he talks a lot and sometimes I do, too, and we both also listen and learn. We are as different, as the British say, as chalk and cheese, but we walk the pathway into each other’s yards and into each other’s lives with all their challenges, fears, struggles and joys.

We talk, drink coffee, canoe and snowshoe together, and in many ways, look after each other.

After 25 years in my current university position, I was honoured (along with others who had achieved that chronological milestone). We received pins, plaques and a gift. Mine was a drill set, which amused my wife to no end, as I have no discernible abilities or interest in using a power tool. “What are you going to do with that?” she asked me. I gave it to my neighbour; he will get more use from it than I will and if I need a drill, I can always borrow it from him.

It has been an interesting relationship with my neighbour, but there has been one constant: the path. We use it when we need to and sometimes when we don’t. The path is always mowed, sometimes by me, sometimes by my neighbour and sometimes by us both. It is there year round. During the winter, it is plowed out for our mutual convenience, ease of access and as a metaphor of our relationship.

And so, as I was mowing recently, I was thinking of that path, mutually created and shared, and how it provides access for conversation and mutual assistance. I know it seems a little idealistic, but maybe the world needs more paths like that, not just between people but between countries. Instead of tweeting at each other and rattling sabres, maybe leaders could be speaking with each other and using their weapons to cut through brush and other things that divide – there is a biblical image about turning spears into pruning hooks, after all. I would like to see more pathways, both real and metaphorical, in the world; despite differences, countries might instead find some common ground, mutual support and ways to grow in kindness and care, nurturing the global community in which we live.

John C. Perkin lives in Sackville, N.B.

All about New Zealand’s amazing giant dead parrot

Amazing and yet so sad to read about and now see what we have done to our world, so shortsighted are we!

Matthew Wright

In the last ten days there have been announcements about two different giant birds that used to live in New Zealand. There’s a human-sized penguin that flourished during the Paleocene – the first age after the dinosaur extinction event – and a one-metre tall parrot that lived some tens of millions of years later in the early Miocene. That era is still ancient to us: it lasted from 23 to 5 million years ago, so the one thing that we can say about this giant parrot is that it’s dead.

It’s not surprising that either species of bird existed. Island gigantism (or, sometimes, its flip-side, dwarfism) is a known evolutionary phenomenon associated with isolation. And New Zealand was literally the lost world of Professor G. E. Challenger – a place where the surviving dinosaurs – birds – dominated. When humans first arrived around 1300 AD (give or take a few…

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Trump lands on Greenland, offers to trade for Puerto Rico and 3 golf courses

Oh so well thought out and written! Back to the days of owing humans when you buy a country!

Robby Robin's Journey

Maybe Trump thinks world domination is like Monopoly or Ticket to Ride. He wants to buy Greenland? BUY Greenland? In 2019. The colonialist mentality just doesn’t end, does it?

Does President Trump know that nearly 90% of Greenland’s population is Inuit (similar to what non-Inuit Americans call Eskimos). Does President Trump know that these Greenlanders have lived there for 5000 years? He thinks maybe he’ll buy their homeland for the U.S.? Would the Inuit, the Greenlanders, be part of the package???!

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Evangeline, Acadia, Refugees, and Resilience

Thanks for an update on History.

Robby Robin's Journey

Today, August 15, is National Acadian Day –  la fête nationale de l’acadie. Not only is today National Acadian Day, but our Maritime provinces are in the midst of hosting the 2-week long World Acadian Congress, aka le congrès mondial acadien, which takes place every five years. It’s a hugely significant event; something like 100,000 people are expected to take part in activities involving music, story-telling, feasts, and massive family reunions. 100,000 Acadians gathering from many parts of the world to celebrate their culture and heritage. To celebrate in style. To get to know each other. To connect and reconnect. If there’s a LeBlanc, an Arsenault, a Doucet, Landry, Haché, Thériault, Cormier, Caissie, Cyr, Duguay, Gallant, Doiron, Melanson, Richard, Roy, or a number of other family names in your family tree, then you undoubtedly have Acadian blood. It’s a heritage worth embracing.

The Acadian flag

It is my pleasure and…

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