Instead of drinking my face off on Halloween a few weeks ago, I went to a presentation that incorporated the (disaster of the) Alberta oilsands and water resource quality & depletion. It was put on by the Council of Canadians and had 3 guest speakers to address the 100 60 year olds in attendance, in addition to the 50 middle-aged people, and finally, the 10 people under 30.
The newly appointed United Nations' Senior Advisor to Water Issues, Maude Barlow, was the first to address the CoC for a 30 minute schpiel on water issues within our borders, and on the global scale. She talked about water as a commodity vs. water as a human right. Since I am currently working for a water utility who capitalizes on people's ability to buy water, it made me wonder more if I could be doing something better with my time. Sure, we all have yummy fresh cold tasty water from each of our taps if we live in the City of Edmonton, all for a relatively inexpensive price. But there are injustices nevertheless. Just look around. There's a difference in the colour of Edmonton lawns in August depending on what your postal code is. Different service lines in different locations might give you a shower with noticeably more pressure than your friend in a different part of the city - yet still, we will pay the same price. And I know that filling the hot tub each time will make a noticeable, if not significant increase to the water bill at the end of the month I fill it. And here in Edmonton, we have it good! I have done some reading on how privately owned & distributed water in various impovershed countries is essentially killing people. A friend recently sent me this link where they discuss how even the rain water was privatized: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZC1LafSxAk. So what to do. I am young and fun and deserve to be going out, getting drunk & having a good time, right? Why is it that so much of my time is spent not drinking and laughing but instead spent thinking about what on earth am I doing here and why other people have ... the lives they have?! What gives?!
Aside from water privatization, Maude Barlow discussed the health impacts from water table contamination from the development in northern Alberta. She talked about the people dying - specifically Aboriginals surviving off of Lake Athabasca or ground water well tables nearby Tar Sands Development - from the rarest forms of cancer. Despite countless statistics and physical evidence, Fort Chipewyan Dr. O'Connor was accused of raising undue alarm by Health Canada. Eventually he had to flee the region if he wanted to keep is license, as the Canadian government denied to drop the charges even after countless reviews of the overwhelming evidence. Oii.
This evidence was reinforced by highly esteemed and well-published academics Dr. David Schindler from the UofA and Andrew Nikiforuk. Each of them had some terrificly horrifying statistics and visuals to share about Canada's water dilemma, especially when the oil industry compounds the degree of the problem like mad. The audience was captivated. Wiebo Ludwig's story was told from a moderately objective look by Andrew Nikiforuk in his book: Sabateur's: Wiebo Ludwig's Fight Against Big Oil so I knew a little about this guy's stance & reputation. As far as these well-trained and highly regarded experts in their fields are concerned, our water is in trouble. Enter Environmental Engineering Degree. Someone Please Help Me Put It To Use. IMPACT, right? We all want to have an impact.
I get out sometimes. It's not all just doom & gloom - reading non-fiction & watching the local news, and listening to various speakers forwarn us of an apocalypse. I get out to Rock Shows. I see bands. Last spring I remember seeing NOFX, SNFU, and a third metal or punk show all within a week. I even got down to Virgin Festival to watch The Hip, Matt Good, and City & Colour last July. I have seen African drumming circles, George Strait, Weird Al, and Celine Dion. It doesn't matter the type of music - as long as I get away from the doom & gloom once in a while. But.
Most recently, I went to a Justin Rutledge concert at Convocaton Hall. There, I was mildly suprised to see that same group of post-hippy burnouts that was at that forum on Halloween: a bunch of babyboomers & enlightened academia-type folk aging upwards of 45, with that arrogance in their stance which suggested that they really enjoy being a b-side alternative type character with better taste in music than the rest of those redneck closed-minded Albertans. This same "Linda Duncan Electorate" from the University area that I saw 3 weeks ago were happily tapping their feet and patting their laps to the beat as Justin splendidly strummed through an amazing set. Big deal? I suppose not. I didn't let that deter me from enjoying the hell out of myself for the duration of the show. Especially since my friend came with me so I didn't have to sit alone! But at the same time, I can't help but think that one day I will be one of these people. Sure, there were other young folks there but there were easily just as many Old Farts there, too. I don't wanna be an Old Fart. That's likely part of the reason why I keep on going back to punk shows!! And with this Iron Ring on my finger now, I am gonna be able to really punch some kids out real good @ the punk shows now too! But in all seriousness, I really do think that for as talented as Justin Rutledge (and his band) is, it's a shame more people weren't aware of his amazingness - like I said - only people that fall into a certain status/class and have that certain air of arrogance about them will be @ shows like this. I don't want to be this same kind of person in 20 or 30 years. I don't want to limit myself relying on CBC Radio for letting me know what the best in Canadian music is, or the most important social and environmental issues that Canadians face. I want to have some hope in our young people, such that they will pay attention to the important issues of the day. I want to find someone that understands the important issues of the day and for that person to try to keep me hopeful! I don't want to be the only less than 25 year old in attendance at a Council of Canadians meeting, and I wish that more common people would be exposed to the greatness of Justin Rutledge, rather than just sparing him for that elitist and enlightened few. It's past 2. Time for bed.