Oh Brian Baby, You Shot Me in the Heart

December by

I’m always tickled by the way things pop up for me to think and write about: Especially when I need a post each week to honor the promise of a small weekly box-ad I place in the local paper I prefer.

This week, scanning (as I rarely do) through the other (larger) local publication, hitting the Letters section, which I tend to avoid (its editorial policy limits the length of submissions to the point of trivializing our issues), I came upon a reference to myself.

Apparently I told the writer..Brian by name, twelve years ago, that I didn’t see the Sunshine Coast, where I live, as a better place for having grown more populous than when I arrived here thirty-four years ago..and likely to become more so. The writer characterized this view as ‘selfish’, linking it to the actions of a group of folks currently freezing their arses off up on a local mountainside, protesting yet another shearing of the forest.

I am guessing Brian is a status-quo kind of a guy.

Twelve years: That’s some burr that apparently got under whatever sense of indignation Brian has been saddling himself with ever since the first of my two terms on the Sunshine Coast Regional District Board.

I t might well be that I said what he attributes to me and would today. Some folks may look past the fact that every bit of development requires the destruction of what already exists. They may be able to ignore the small part played here in overpopulating the Earth. I don’t find myself quite able to.

Lots of folks who live here can’t. They might, on behalf of future generations, see selfishness in the greedy hurry-up consumption of finite non-renewable resources, the degrading of renewable ones and in the global population growth that exacerbates it all.

It doesn’t mean we dislike human beings as individuals, even those who disagree with us. It doesn’t mean we don’t contribute in ways to the very things we want to see stopped or in some ways depend on them. It can’t be completely avoided.

It doesn’t alter the fact that we humans, along with the vested interests that drive our economies and control our governments and our minds, are pretty well certain to be slapped with a big bill from The Four Horsemen Inc. somewhere down the line. Perhaps not all that far. You know this bunch: War; Pestilence; Disease; Starvation.

A lot of folks I know express this kind of concern. If articulating it empowers more of us to do likewise then taking the odd late shot for it is a tiny, tiny, tiny thing.

Folks like Brian would like to characterize such concerns as bias. It is the old ‘discredit those whose arguments you can’t counter’ trip. I freely confess to just a little bias in favor or my kids and grandkids being able to experience their lives free of cataclysm.

For that to be the case we need to devise economic structures based on no growth, to follow up vigorously on the discussions in that vein that pop up here and there and hopefully will draw ever more attention and consideration.



My biases, during my terms in office, did not stop me from advocating for a water-filtration plant, or adding a satellite fire hall to reduce response times or pressing for the building of safe access to a popular lake, away from the previously-used side of the highway. They didn’t stop me from agreeing that a referendum should be held on borrowing money for new recreation facilities some citizens wanted, some of them hoping they would attract more citizen/customers our way. I didn’t vote for them in the referendum but had no trouble comprehending and supporting at the  the taxation model our Board came up with might tip the scales in their favor. You don’t get elected to do the business of the community as if it was your own, in order to suit yourself.

Nor did my larger perspective stop me happening upon and taking up a working life sorting and later salvaging logs to earn a living and support a family. It didn’t and doesn’t stop me from both loving and using wood as building material. The stuff much more amenable to being cut and dried than are the choices life presents us with.

It doesn’t stop me now, well out of office (and with no inclination to stand again, by the way) from urging the current crop of local politicians to identify and cost out more sources of the water that our tactically-self-identifying ‘Coast Community Builders Association’ should be pushing them to do and are not.

Of course buildings do not a community make any more than a house will necessarily become something fully identifiable with a home.  And while there’s a level on which you can appreciate the hutzpah of this bunch, being bright doesn’t necessarily stop you from being illogically in thrall to your own interests.

Their objectives would directly require more water. Are they afraid we may discover that we don’t have a further usable supply or that creating and accessing it would be so costly that folks would call a halt to development? Are they pressing on in their own short-term interests regardless, perhaps not wanting to see themselves having to directly cover the costs linked to their own objectives?

Within the group I imagine and would hope there is a range of perspectives on this but as a bloc they are not forthcoming on it.

Folks seem far too inclined to try to get those sharing their biases elected to office. Around here it has too often saddled us with representatives who, even after they are elected, apparently can’t read well enough or grasp right away that they have hired on to a job with existing parameters specifically designed to neutralize bias.

Those parameters are established by the Province, under whose aegis local governments operate. They have been developed, it seemed clear to me, to deter local politicians from getting themselves entangled in their own intrigues and keep them on task, providing, maintaining and where necessary expanding local infrastructure.

They still try to do sideways what they think might not be doable straight ahead, often for what seems to come down, when you look past the posing, to a need to be one of the gang.

To counter that, in hope of having something other than a grade B job done of running the community’s business, citizens will always need to keep an eye on those we elect. It is not saints we elect, but human beings……inclined to think that holding important jobs makes them important, forgetting that they, as are we all, constitute passing phenomena, on this plane at least.

We are in serious trouble on this terrestrial vessel of ours, overloaded with our own kind, our needs and expectations, pressed to take more on board by those with stuff to sell. We need far more than hackneyed, hide-bound diatribes on socialism vs. capitalism to start changing that.

We humans share immense capacity and can be wonderfully imaginative and good-hearted. We know how to work. Applied to what really needs doing (for starters determining what that is) those factors could lead to our avoiding a painful and disastrous future and remedying what for a goodly number of people is a present already like that.

Right now it seems that in some ways we are the prisoners of obsolete mathematics and the misalignment of capacity and resources.

And yes Brian, I see that as a big-time problem for all of us, our offspring and theirs.

  • Gord bell

    you have a good eye , and more than a touch of wit . cheers!   .. Gordon Bell

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