Monday, 21 December, 2015


                                                                                                                                             ... attention must be paid*


What One Person Can Do...With a Lot of Help

all the views we dare to share

A Worthy Thanksgiving


[ Posted for the Americans to the Huffington Post: ]

On what we in the U.S. mark as the launch of our Thanksgiving tradition, indigenous Americans showed a compassionate practice central to humans' civilizing impulse: Welcome the stranger.

For the immigrating Europeans, that habit was enshrined in the literature and practice of our ancestor Middle Eastern cultures framed by the teachings of Abraham, Jesus and Muhammed.

Feeling the pull of Thanksgiving's meaning, I got up early Thursday and headed not for the kitchen, but to an eclectic gathering of locals in our small British Columbia town. We are intent on welcoming Syrian refugee families into our community.

A young French-Canadian at the table was especially poignant. His Parisian relatives are still raw from experiencing terror first hand. He had come, he said, looking for a way past an undercurrent of rumors and fear of Syrian refugees coming to Canada. He left sufficiently reassured to take a leading role in uniting efforts to be open to strangers in need.

Alas, this stands in sharp contrast to the cruel irony of America's latest outbreak of isolationism and xenophobia. Those at the refugee meeting muted their obvious scorn of both, in deference to my Americanness.

Syrian families need our help because of interventions by the British, the French, the Ottomans, the Russians, indigenous opportunists and, most recently, the Americans. It was not the first time I'd heard pointed remarks, on both sides of the 49th parallel, aimed directly at George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq and America's commitment to the economics of oil. Now we're entangled in a genuine civil war. Civil wars ("civil" and "war" in the same phrase always gives me pause) tend to be the nastier sort of a very ugly group. "Civil" war is total war, everyone is a participant.

By the end of Thanksgiving Day, I'd repeatedly been reminded that chaos-creating fear-mongering from America's reactionaries is not new. Blessedly, I also heard a rising tide of civilizing voices, led by President Obama and by my neighbors. Turning away deserving refugees is an insult to America's and humanity's claim to courage and to our instinct for universal freedom. Good people are suffering. Many are direct victims of our hubris. Our lesser spirits even want to restrict potential emigres to Christians. Not only is that contemptible, it is perverse and it is unconstitutional.

In his first inaugural address, Lincoln ended by insisting:

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Lincoln was talking about the secessionists. In our tightly connected, bigger world, our better angels should aspire to our common heritage and shared values: welcome the stranger.

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

We must not allow ourselves to be victims of terror, whatever the source, or of terrorists, whoever they are.


The Place In Which We Live:

Columbia Commonwealth


Nature, fish, people and other parts of the environment were among the items ignored when the Columbia River Treaty between Canada and the United States was signed in 1964. Power generation and flood control were what mattered.


Things have changed. Eileen Delehanty Pearkes has studied and written about the complex ecosystem which is the Columbia River Basin. She has also curated an exhibition on the Columbia River Treaty and its impact on the people and other parts of the environment in the two signatory nations: Canada and the U.S.




Eileen graciously sent us a copy of Treaty Talks: A Journey Up the Columbia River For People and Salmon. It is an excellent way to see and better understand the challenge of the Columbia Commonwealth. We thank Adam Wicks-Arhack for making it available to us.



• • •




"Routes of Change"


Five months into his planned five year journey, Markus Pukonen stopped by to tell us what he's doing to change our world.

Markus is traveling around the world, without motorized assistance, to support the environment and social justice. Here's his summary of what he's doing:


Markus Pukonen: Routes of Change


There's much more on Markus' website and on all sorts of social media. You can follow the next 4 1/2 years of his journey there as well. We thank our Kimberley neighbor Randy McLeod of the Canadian Wildlife Federation for introducing us to Markus.

• • •


Kimberley Chamber of Commerce


Greg Bradley is the current president of the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is one of the organizations which keeps Kimberley working. Greg tells us what the Chamber does for the city and for its members:


Greg Bradley 

• • •


Wayne Stetski is Our New MP


Anyone who thinks their vote doesn't matter should look at the returns in the Kootenay-Columbia riding. e-Know reports that the turnout in the riding was just under 75%. Clearly people cared and, equally important, took action. Of the 63203 people who voted, Wayne Stetski (NDP) won by a remarkably slim 285 votes--less than 1/2% of the votes cast. "Strategic voting" almost certainly was the difference. Congratulations to Kimberley and its neighbors for getting involved ... and to new MP, Wayne Stetski.



• • •



Some years ago, (Sir) Harry Evans quoted for us Lord Northcliffe's incisive comment:


News is something someone wants to suppress.

Everything else is advertising.”


Evans repeated that quote at a reception in his honor at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, celebrating the publication of his memoir My Paper Chase in 2009. Harry Evan is simply one of the best reporter/editors we have ever met. If, as do we, you think that authentic, quality journalism is important, read his book. You might also enjoy watching Sir Harry's performance at the reception. It is very informative.



• • •


Our Neighbors


Kim McLeanBavarian Home Hardware

Stan Cuthill
Kimberley Building Supplies

Tara Penner
Pivot Data


Grady PasiechnykWine Works


Elected Representatives


In December's installment of our monthly conversations with Mayor McCormick we talk about KRRG (Kimberley Refugee Resettlement Group),CKDI (Cranbrook Kimberley Development Initiative), demographics and, yet again, the flume.


Mayor Don McCormack


If you prefer, you can listen to this program here.



In November, Mayor McCormick gave us a short introduction to the newly formed Cranbrook Kimberley Development Initiative (CKDI). Our full November conversation with the Mayor is here.


Earlier editions of conversations with the Mayor are here.






The largest solar installation in western Canada officially signed onto the grid on 27 July, 2015. Built on a reclaimed brownfield site of what was once the world’s richest lead and zinc mines, the aptly name SunMine moves Kimberley, BC decisively toward a sustainable future.




The SunMine is Now Open for Business


27 July, 2015


Congratulations Kimberley!






Broadband is Not Enough, But It IS Essential


Before deciding to relocate to Kimberley, we looked at communities on four continents and one large island. Two important criteria in our seach were air quality and internet connectivity. Kimberley's air quality is acceptable, though significantly improved by HEPA filters.


In June, 2009 we were assured by the appropriate authorities that Kimberley had "high-speed" internet service, aka broadband. Our sources believed what they had told us. They had been given inaccurate information. Since moving here, we have become tedious on the absolute necessity of having broadband service available to our community.


With Telus now about to offer service via fibre optics and Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation working to facilitate access to broadband, we thought it time to assess where Kimberley is in the broadband-sphere.


In January we had scheduled a discussion with Johnny Strilaeff, CBT's chief operating officer. We planned to talked about the SunMine but also took the opportunity to discuss CBT's relatively new creation, Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC).


Part 1


The other parts of this conversation are here.








If your internet connection has the bandwidth,

watch these video clips in High Definition.



Audio Bits: 

American author and playwrite E.L. Doctorow died in July. We talked with him in 2005 about his novel The March and about the relationship between writers and readers. These are excerpts from that conversation.

Contact Us: send your questions, ideas, suggestions, insights, revelations, et al, up to and including critiques to: comment@ekology.net

Why we do this


During Kimberley's 2011 election campaign, we made an offer to all the mayoral candidates to produce a regular discussion with the Mayor as part of the communication process everyone was talking about. We renewed that offer in 2014. On April 1, 2015, we recorded the first program. Here 'tis (on the right of this page).


This project is based on the notion of democratic dialogue, first introduced to us by Cornel West. Respectful discussions between and among the citizens of a community are the central core of a polity's ability to govern itself. That's why we're including some of our neighbors.


*"Attention must be paid" is a line from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. In a conversation with Gay Talese in 2006, he pointed out to us the importance of attending to everyday events and the people who inhabit them.

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