You have not nearly seen everything yet

A 96-year-old mother’s invaluable experiences and insights help put today’s calamitous events in perspective

You have not nearly seen everything yetIt’s tempting to think when you hit your 60s that you’ve seen it all, that your analysis of contemporary issues is tight and complete. I’m here to say it ain’t. That’s because I’ve just checked in with my 96-year-old Mom, Frances Robinson, after being in Mexico for a couple of weeks, forgetfully without a phone…

The nomadic life of retirement tourism

Among the many fascinating people found in San Miguel de Allende was a couple who sold everything to travel the world

The nomadic life of retirement tourismI’ve just returned from San Miguel de Allende full of interesting new experiences gathered in a 475-year-old Mexican central highlands town renowned worldwide for its hospitality to culturally creative folk. Those visitors like to rent 300-year-old casas, practise speaking Spanish and participate in a nuanced cosmopolitan life. The local media refer to this phenomenon as…

San Miguel de Allende losing its lustre

There are signs of unwelcome change on the horizon for the Mexican community of about 150,000 residents

San Miguel de Allende losing its lustreI’ve been a cultural disciple to San Miguel de Allende for the fourth time in four years in the last week. San Miguel de Allende is a Mexican community of about 150,000 residents, founded in the early 1540s. It’s in the central highlands, 274 kilometres north of Mexico City, in the far eastern part of…

Cleaning up Vancouver’s “rat’s nest of rot”

Single-family houses in the city are now deposit boxes. How did we get here and how can we restore balance?

Cleaning up Vancouver’s “rat’s nest of rot”It’s time for broad review of the dirty money games played in the casinos and on the high streets of the raincoast’s ‘capital' city. B.C. Attorney General David Eby recently reported that upwards of $2 billion in dirty money laundering has occurred in Vancouver casinos and luxury real estate over the past year. He characterized…

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate change

As spring beckons after four previous very dry springs and four summers of smoke, we should prepare for the worst

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate changeA funny thing happened in Powell River, B.C., the other day. There was a scheduled one-hour power outage that I heard about on the radio as I was driving the 30 kilometres into town to do some errands. No big deal, I thought. Lights out in the mall perhaps. My first stop was at the…

Endeavour’s voyage of enlightenment added a hemisphere to the world

And, according to author Peter Moore, the endeavour attitude is characterized by dreaming of our better angels, not by acquiring more stuff

Endeavour’s voyage of enlightenment added a hemisphere to the worldMy daughter choreographs reading that plays to my whimsical non-fiction interests through Christmas gifts of books. This year, I carefully opened a beribboned volume by British author Peter Moore entitled Endeavour: The Ship and Attitude that Changed the World (2018). Right away, I recognized Endeavour as James Cook’s ship on his first epic voyage of discovery…

Building strong communities with education, innovation – and craft beer

James and Deborah Fallows hopscotched across America to understand what makes the best of Our Towns thrive

Building strong communities with education, innovation – and craft beerMy son, the thoughtful curator of my must-reads non-fiction list, has done it again. For Christmas, he gave me the American bestseller Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. The book, published in 2018, was written by award-winning The Atlantic Monthly journalists James and Deborah Fallows. The Fallows have made significant public…

New Year Resolutions, based on hope and a refreshed awareness

Perhaps some observations are just more obvious at this time of year. And perhaps it’s never too late to modify behaviour

New Year Resolutions, based on hope and a refreshed awarenessAs the ‘Ho ho ho’ spirit fades and the reality of a new year looms like an enormous new moon, I’m summoned back to the keyboard. Why not try one more time? an inner voice calls, lightly mocking my compulsion to seek somewhat new and beckoning pathways. Why not sketch out a template for personal…

Preparing for another Christmas at Skelhp

There are lights to hang, cleanup work to be done inside and out, kindling to split, a turkey to order and a final round of gifts to buy

Preparing for another Christmas at SkelhpIt’s very calm this morning and still a dark grey overcast at 7 a.m. The offshore islands are shrouded in mist. There’s no sign of human habitation right across the southern horizon. No rising plumes of chimney smoke are visible. No boats or tugs and booms are passing. And it’s cold in the house. Time…

The clear and present danger of climate change

Who best to convey this message of impending calamity in contemporary society?

The clear and present danger of climate changeWhat’s the best way to ensure that humanity gets the severity of our impending climate crisis and acts to forestall or prevent its full-scale onslaught? The question is particularly pertinent given that the science is well founded and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is well informed – even while the oil and…

It’s time for economic and social paradigm shifts

For far too many people, life is losing its lustre. Here's a systemic remedy that will take us into a new era of prosperity

It’s time for economic and social paradigm shiftsDay by day, the storm signals are more evident. Let’s start with Peak America. It’s no longer the world’s top economy (China’s gross domestic product is $22 trillion compared to America’s $19 trillion), suffers under bitterly tribalized politics and is led by an oligarch with a growing list of symptoms of aged maladies. Are would-be…

Staying when the government tells you to move

How a decision to remain in an ancestral village helped ensure a family maintained strong ties to a culture

Staying when the government tells you to moveIn 1968, my father took me to Yuquot on Nootka Island, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, because he wanted me to see where Capt. James Cook first stepped ashore in 1778. Little did he know that because of this visit, our family was about to begin a lifelong friendship with Ray and Terry…

Getting it done is better than getting it perfect

Lessons for the world from the logging camp and why binding many individuals together in the common cause is so important

Getting it done is better than getting it perfectMy first job on my first day at Juskatla logging camp in 1969 was spreading gravel around a shed that housed firefighting supplies. I can still remember my old-school woods foreman, Ed Anderson, telling me how to do the rather obvious task. “You see that f---ing pile of gravel over there, and that wheelbarrow, rake…

Awareness fatigue weighing us all down, particularly millennials

They are the gatekeepers of so much change necessary to forge new norms of behaviour and social standards

Awareness fatigue weighing us all down, particularly millennialsI had a discussion with a bright young millennial in my family network last week and predictably learned something new. “I think I have awareness fatigue,” he said. “What?” I inquired. “Awareness fatigue, Mike. Too much knowledge of too much stuff that collectively is emotionally hard to carry.” Arguably, the syndrome currently includes: the whole…

A bold alternative to pouring money into another Calgary Olympics

Why not pioneer an Alberta climate change caravan resettlement program as part of an emerging new west?

A bold alternative to pouring money into another Calgary Olympics“Back to the future!” This thought echoes in my brain as I contemplate the imminent plebiscite on whether Calgary agrees to the omnibus International Olympic Committee, provincial and federal offers to co-fund the Winter Olympic Games again, along with some $390 million in Calgary municipal taxpayer dollars. While most Calgarians who were part of the…
1 2 3 7