” Pipeline Propaganda” a revealing look at how Enbridge uses stealth marketing disguised as grassroots initiatives

It leaves a nasty, foul taste in my mouth, much like I imagine the dirty oil from the tar sands would leave.  Just how far will corporate giant Enbridge go to promote it’s Northern Gateway pipeline project? 

How about an “educational package that is targeted to school children”?  This, direct from the mouth of Colin Kinsley, ex-mayor of Prince George and the new face of Enbridge in northern BC. It doesn’t get any lower that that, if you ask me, unless you look at how Enbridge employs stealth marketing and big corporate $$$  to push their glossy PR propaganda  on the residents and businesses of northern communities – all under the guise of a grassroots initiative .

You might wonder why coastal and metro Vancouver residents should even care about a pipeline going across northern BC, but the potential risks from this project will have a massive impact on all of us. Imagine oil supertankers going up and down the coast. Imagine if even one develops a leak, even a small one. Oil tanker traffic has not been allowed along the BC coast for years, but Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals plan to change all of that, and more. This pipeline has received much support from our current  Liberal administration, as part of the Asia Pacific Gateway plans.( One wonders how the environment minister, Barry Penner, lives with himself at night. Guess it comes with being a lawyer)

 Inform yourself now, to prevent a nasty surprise down the road. Need I say… Exxon Valdez?

  From the Prince George Citizen, staff writer Gordon Hoekstra ( the link for this column is now working)

PIPELINE PROPAGANDA– Gordon Hoekstra, Citizen Staff

Enbridge is footing the bill for a northern advocacy group to generate community support for its proposed $4.5-billion project .The recently-formed Northern Gateway Alliance which is advocating support for Enbridge’s $4.5 billion pipeline through northern B.C. is the brainchild of Enbridge and is being bankrolled by the company, The Citizen has learned.
The Alliance was rolled out earlier this month during the North Central Municipal Association’s annual convention as a community coalition in support of the Enbridge project. It has also been billed as a “grassroots” group designed to create a voice for the North. Community leaders who have signed on include Prince George mayor Dan Rogers, Mackenzie mayor Stephanie Killam and Kitimat mayor Joanne Monaghan.
The recent announcement made no mention of Calgary-based Enbridge’s involvement.
But it is not the communities that are paying the bills, setting up the website or organizing the group’s activities. It is Enbridge.
In fact, the chair of the Northern Gateway Alliance, former Prince George mayor Colin Kinsley, is on Enbridge’s payroll.
Neither Enbridge nor Kinsley deny that Enbridge is bankrolling the Alliance, and that the community group was the company’s idea.
“It’s what Enbridge engaged me to do,” says Kinsley.
But the North American pipeline giant denies they are engaging in “astroturfing” — a term that describes companies that fund or create seemingly grassroots organizations to give their cause legitimacy.
Enbridge spokesperson Steve Greenaway said that characterization is unfair. “I’m not willing to accept that we are somehow trying to do this from the top down. We have gone to community after community after community to explain the details of our project and we will continue to do that,” he said.

Asked if the company was being dishonest in spearheading the creation of a so-called grassroots organization, Greenaway said no.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say that we’re putting words in anyone’s mouth. Those people are coming forward voluntarily and allowing, you know, allowing, quotes to be placed on our website,” said Greenaway. (The quotes from mayors like Rogers and Killam are posted on the Alliance website).
“I think it’s important that all voices are heard in this debate, and I think in terms of, you know, support we have provided through compensating a chair who is going to assemble a board of community leaders across the pipeline, to characterize compensating him for part-time work, as somehow, is anything untoward about that, is unfair,” said Greenaway.
He would not say how much Enbridge is spending on the creation and support of the Alliance, but did acknowledge that Kinsley was being paid by the company, which was also offering administrative support to the Alliance effort.
Kinsley acknowledges it could be argued the Alliance is not a grassroots organization if Enbridge has hired him to create it, but said that somebody has to lead it. “It’s a great deal of work, and an immense amount of travel.”
Kinsley also argues that the intent of the Alliance is to support the pipeline project proceeding to the regulatory review where questions can be asked by northerners. (Only once has the National Energy Board, one of the project’s reviewing agencies, rejected a major project, the Sumas 2 energy plant near the B.C.-Washington border).
“We want to make sure this thing isn’t stopped in its tracks,” says Kinsley.
But the former mayor’s enthusiasm for the project is hard to hide.
He defends the merits of the project by rolling out stock Enbridge arguments, pointing to a focused economic regional impact, lauding a trust Enbridge plans to create for community projects, maintaining there is no oil tanker moratorium on the coast off Kitimat and calling the federal government review process robust. “It’s probably the most sophisticated approach to a major project such as this, that’s ever been undertaken,” he says.
Kinsley makes a similar pitch on the Alliance’s website.
“This will be an outstanding project and it will have economic benefits that are untold for northern B.C. and Alberta, for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities,” he says in a short video on the site.
Kinsley plans to take this message to Rotary Clubs, chambers of commerce, town councils and regional districts, as well as construction and contractor associations. Also in the works is an educational package targeted at school children.
He’s also encouraging supporters to sign up on the Alliance’s website.
So far, under 200 supporters have signed up.
Even a casual inspection of the Alliance and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline’s websites show startling similarities.
The design of both websites is similar, including the type faces, the muted green colour scheme and the positive messages on the project.
Identical messages cycling on both sites proclaim: Enbridge is a Canadian company that has been safely building, operating and maintaining pipelines for 55 years; Thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created to support the construction and operation of the Northern Gateway pipeline, benefiting workers in northern B.C. and Alberta.
There are about 20 messages.
The logos on both sites are also very similar with an identical stylized green leaf.
There’s also a direct link from the Alliance website to the Northern Gateway Pipeline website.
There’s little doubt that Enbridge’s effort to create the alliance is aimed directly at environmental groups who do not support the project.
Kinsley argues that environmental groups are not local groups and are funded by U.S. foundations. Greenaway offers a similar argument.
An environmental group that is based in the North, the Terrace-based North West Watch, is dismayed by Enbridge’s recent tactics in creating the alliance.
North West Watch representative Julia Hill noted she just recently learned of the term “astroturfing” to describe this type of activity.
According to SourceWatch, a project of the Madison, Wisc.-based Center for Media and Democracy, “astroturfing” refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms.
Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, a longtime Washington and Wall Street insider, is credited with coining the term.
There are numerous examples of the practice in the U.S. including its use to block health-care reform and to oppose restrictions on smoking in public places.
Closer to home, the B.C. Forestry Alliance was created as a citizens’ group in the early ’90s to improve the image of the forest sector, where it faced criticism from environmental groups on logging in the southwest of B.C. The group was funded by the forest industry whose members also sat on its board.
North West Watch recently applauded Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski for pulling out of the Northern Gateway Alliance. Pernarowski had objected to the wording on the alliance’s site that indicated unqualified support for the pipeline project.
North West Watch and Friends of Wild Salmon are calling for an independent public inquiry into the pipeline project similar to one held in the late ’70s.
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council chief David Luggi is not surprised by Enbridge’s tactics. “I think Enbridge is using (Kinsley) as a pivotal PR point,” observed Luggi. “It’s a PR (public relations) machine firing up on all cylinders.”
The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council has been calling for a separate government-funded, First Nations-led review process to assess major projects in their traditional territory.
In 2006, First Nations, which included the tribal council, had requested $2.4 million from the federal government to spearhead their own review of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline. Later that year, the tribal council filed a federal court challenge of the federal government’s decision to send Enbridge’s proposed pipeline to a review panel. The tribal council wanted the court to overturn the creation of the panel because they said they were not consulted.
Rogers, the Prince George mayor, who has signed up with the alliance, says he is under no illusion that the group is a creation of Enbridge.
“I think that everyone understands that is participating is that it’s being driven by Enbridge. No surprises there,” says Rogers. “It’s PR strategy.”
Nevertheless, Rogers is comfortable being associated with the alliance, saying Enbridge is looking at signing up those that believe there may be benefits because there will be those that are adamantly opposed.
Rogers says he is supportive of the project moving to the review stage.
“I’m not afraid as the mayor of B.C.’s northern capitol to reiterate, as the largest centre in the northern region, there are some economic benefits that could flow to our community,” he said. “We want a stake in those discussions and to participate in those discussion as it unfolds.”
Rogers said the city has not put any money into the alliance.

For more information and background on this project – some of which you will not see on the Enbridge project site –  check out my recent blog posts HERE and HERE.

( and since you are here, scroll down a wee bit and read how one suit took 16 days to get from Surrey to Prince George – travelling to Montreal and Edmonton along the way)

22 thoughts on “” Pipeline Propaganda” a revealing look at how Enbridge uses stealth marketing disguised as grassroots initiatives

  1. I generally support any expansion of industries and resource transfer/extracting, assuming all the protocols are followed and the the vast majority of the people are behind it.

    But hearing that the company is now targetting children in hopes that it will sway adults to their idea, that’s almost as low as you can go. Using children, whether you’re Embridge trying to gather support or teachers having kids making Anti-Liberal/Campbell for political reasons, that itself to be reason enough for those groups to lose all face and support.

    If a project is having trouble having people flocking to their cause, maybe they need to review their proposal. Assuming they are transparent and the rewards significantly outweights the risk, citizens will definately support them. No need for targetting the vunerables or using back-room techniques, if it’s a good idea, there won’t be any problems.

    Overall, I still believe that the project should go through…. you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.


  2. Laila,

    I can’t believe that you faked this comment (above) just to bug the bejapers outa your readers! How could you!

    OK, I’ll take the bait.

    * Making an omelette consists of carefully and thoughtfully using the goddam eggs, not smearing them over the landscape as toxic sludge.

    * “Assuming [Enbridge] is transparent and the rewards significantly outweights [sic] the risk, citizens will definitely support them.” OMG. Please explain to “Lancaster” if he/she exists, that there are Public Relations teams who do nothing but promote ideas that hurt people. They promoted cigarettes, didn’t they? And the government of British Columbia has the biggest PR bureau of all — bigger than any newsroom in the entire nation — working to persuade us to approve of things.

    * good teachers would take those Enbridge propaganda pieces and use them to show kids what it means – pro and con – so that the kids learn to think for themselves … and so that when the kids grow up they won’t be dummies at the mercy corporations or politicians who don’t give a damn about them, or about British Columbia.

    Lancaster approves of the expansion of industries and resource extraction. Like, he/she doesn’t even say “I generally support the wellbeing of citizens by means of employment, fair wages, and good working conditions …” Oh no, Lancaster simply supports the gouging, blasting, spilling, polluting, and industrializing of the landscape.

    Lancaster can’t be real. And you wouldn’t write such stuff, Laila.

    Now I get it. So it’s our own Public Affairs Bureau, hard at work again. Jeez Louise. So this is what the BC citizens’ tax dollars are being used for.


  3. Wow, who knew that when I try to be as neutral/objective as possible on trying to comment on a project which I have only surface knowlege of, that it could offend people to such extremes.

    I was simply pointing out the correlations between BCTF propaganda and those of Embridge’s. Regardless of who is applying such techniques, it’s just morally wrong, whether they’re teachers trying to milk the government or PR firms attempting to brainwash the masses.

    As for “supports the gouging, blasting, spilling, polluting, and industrializing of the landscape”…. I certainly don’t recall mentioning any of that. In anycase, you’re automatically assuming that there will be million of barrels worth of oil spilling out. According to probability, oil spills are extremely rare…. but it’s a fact that the economic windfall won’t be.

    Of course, I will continue to reinterate, I don’t know much about this Embridge project, either than what I just read above. Regardless, (in my own opinion) economic activities should never be impeded due to exaggerated environmental concerns.

    Lastly, I guess I should be happy that you think I’m a fake entity created by Laila… that must mean, “Me engrish izz goooood”, lol.


  4. Wow, can’t leave this one alone for long. Sorry for the delay, the garden and kids are taking all my time this weekend.

    Lancaster, all opinions are welcome here, in agreement or not. This is on you and I will not be agreeing on anytime soon though. In the interest of learning more about this project , you might want to read one of those recent blog posts of mine, regarding the article Enbridge felt they had to defend , but would not print on their site- you can access if you haven’t already by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post.The author has done a fantastic job of revealing the risks and issues surrounding this project.

    Enbridge is not currently (and never has been) a very good corporate citizen, something I have a hard time believing is going to change anytime soon. That aside, there are a multitude of reasons this project is all wrong, one being the liklihood of tar sand expansion, rather than reduction. If you are not familiar with this embaressment to Canada, a quick google search will bring up all sorts of research and documentation on the evils of that “Dirty oil”

    I know BC Mary, like myself, is incredibly disheartened by the recent Liberal win, because unless something drastic happens, like people rioting in the streets, it is likely to be the beginning of the end of many BC treasures. Run of the River projects criss-crossing the province, a hit to wild salmon. I myself have no issues with economic projects that will truly improve the financial situation in the province, but in this scenario there are no exaggerated environmental concerns, nor a lasting economic benefit to anyone but Enbrdige and its investors.

    Educating the residents of BC through some other means than a propaganda driven fake ‘alliance’ is what is needed here. As Mary points out, it could be likened to Marlboro promoting the benefits of cigarettes.

    Personally, I would like to hear what you think of this project Lancaster, after you find out a bit more about it from various sources, not just what I have covered on it.

    Mary, thanks for the rousing commentary!!


  5. Take heart Lancaster, trying to be neutral and constructive in an emotion filled debate is like trying to get my neighbor to kill his dandelion farm.


  6. Hey, Sal, I was wondering where you had gotten to!Vacation? I think Lancaster did a great job of stating his opinion without emotion.

    As for the dandelions, just take a few kettles of boiling water over while the neighbours sleeping. Does the trick every time.


  7. Ok, so I have read one of the articles listed at the bottom of the post, the “column Enbridge respond to….” plus skimming a few pages from the internet, all I can say in my opinion, as a card-carrying Conservative Party “economic first, environmental concerns last” person, and an individual living in the Lower Mainland (far from the issues at up North)….. start the building process and I’ll bring my own shovel to help build if need be.

    It seems that there are many different people objecting to the project for a number of different reasons. Some have serious concerns for the environment, other believe there is a conflict of interest between different levels of government with energy corporations, while there are also those who prefere the status quo.

    Even though it is important to have BC to remain as one of the least environmentally impacted places in the world, it is self-defeating to let a modest few concerns impact the greater economical good of this province and this country. If people are worried that oil spills will be costing tax-payers money, then the real issue isn’t really about the green in nature, but the green in (y)our pockets. We should be telling our politicians and those in government to be placing more liabilities on companies that chooses to transfer energy through our province. To set up laws, rules, and regulations to ensure that polluting the ecosystem will not be tolerated and if there are accidents, Enbridge (or other companies emulating the same project) will be on the hook for 100% for the cost of the clean-up, plus they should be forced to pay for any other damages.

    For those who says there is a collusion of interests between the federal Conservatives, provincial Liberals and energy companies, would people be as outraged if it were the federal Liberals and the provincial NDP in power instead? It would seem to me that some of the opponents are just continuing the fights during the elections, even though it’s already over. We all know politicians are the same regardless of party affliations, so accusing those who happens to be identified as “right of centre” to be in bed with “the corporation” is just sheer lunacy.

    As we all know, the oil industry is creating many jobs and providing a good source of revenue for Canadians. We can simply let China purchase oil from Russia and other APEC nations, and also let the USA give their money away to Saudi Arabia and OPEC for the black substances….. or we can try to be their most important source for crude oil. I don’t know about some of you folks, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having the US giving us the respect they give to the Saudi’s and the Chinese being more willing to recognize our claims to the Arctic North (more resources for us to sell to them).

    As for jobs, all we need is to tell our members of parliament to pass some law to make sure that all those employees building/working on the pipeline be aboriginals,BC/Albertans, and unionized jobs…. problem solved.

    Even though the Enbridge Gateway Project may seem like some northern backwater, environmental issue (from my perspective)…. I see this more as a geopolitical opportunity we as British Columbians/Albertans/Canadians should be seizing upon.


  8. I think that Lancaster presented some food for thought, with his Post. I always enjoy weighing the Pro’s and Con’s on any issue, I feel it makes places me in a better position to arrived at an informed opinion.
    As far as scalding one’s neighbours while they are asleep, I think that may be just a little rash. But I will ponder it further……………………..



  9. Oh dear.

    I came back, this morning, to extend the olive branch to Lancaster whose courtesy I appreciated. But now there are new issues.

    Lancaster, my friend, oil spills are devastating to the environment and to the public purse. Somebody has to pay to clean up oil spills. And Exxon is still in the courts, fighting against paying those costs associated so long ago with the oil spilled from their beached tanker in Alaska. OK?

    But the environment is not a matter of dollars and cents. It’s a matter of stewardship … of NOT doing things which can never be cleaned up, repaired, or replaced. The Alberta Tar Sands are a disgrace to any civilized nation and you can bet that the U.S.A. wouldn’t allow such habitat destruction on U.S. soil.

    About 20 years ago, I saw the Athabasca River. The image has stayed in my mind like a masterpiece of landscape beauty: clear, emerald green waters rippling along over pebbles, nourishing a lush countryside.

    At the time, it was the accepted wisdom that the Alberta tarsands would never be developed because the extraction process would be prohibitively expensive. Well, nothing is “too expensive” now.

    Today the tarsands oil extraction industry is in full gear, visible from outer space. The beautiful Athabasca River, where once it was the green of plant-life and of jewels, now runs brown with toxic tarsands effluent. And Lancaster’s voice is the voice of all the people who (if they’ve thought about it at all) not only tolerate that, but endorse it. They’re even ready to pick up their shovels and help the process. Poor souls, they’ve been taught to believe that there’s no other way.

    Lancaster, it’s your sweet, humble, horrifying acceptance of such an atrocity that’s so alarming.

    There are alternatives to destroying a river and a landscape and the lungs of people having to work there. Where, in heaven’s name, did you get the crippling idea that destruction is the only possible industrial method?

    Have you thought about the future of the planet? Your own future environment? I’m sure you have. So I hope you’ll explain how you see the future unfolding.



  10. I would need a tanker truck of boiling water to raid the farm next door, but maybe I will suggest your idea to the old tightwad and see if he listens.

    I am with Lancaster. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet. We flooded lots of land to get our present dams, cut a lot of roads, killed some trees too. Majority ruled back then and it should be the same now.

    But we need the shrieking and howling of the fringe elements to keep us fairly steady in our tasks so we don’t go too far afield and actually try and ease up on the environment.

    I note the program on TV that showed us what the huge windmills in Alberta are doing to the bat population thereabouts. Clean electricity through wind? Ask a bat. And the huge solar panels in the US. What is that dong to the insect and bird population? Check it out. Ask my brother in law who helped build the superstructure for the panels.

    Give me a great big old dam anyday.


  11. I guess I should put out a few more detailed in my opinion. While I do not believe that we simply let any oil company operate in any way they feel fit, but I do believe that we should put more rules and regulations to make sure that their impact onto the environment should be as minimal as possible. If I was the decision maker, I’d still give them the green light, but only if, for example:
    – company put up like 200mil (random figure) as collateral in case of environmental disaster
    – they will be 100% liable for any pollution
    – forced to use the most “fail-safe” method possible
    plus whatever that’s available and I haven’t though of.

    For me, the environment isn’t something holy and sacred, it’s just land and resources. Something people should be using efficiently and safely, and not something that should be abused (if it could be prevent).

    Of course, if I was in charge of everything, I’d be promoting the use of hydro and nuclear energy… but that’s a different topic, lol.

    Overall, I truly respect BC Mary’s difference of opinion, it just means everybody is hoping for a better BC (Canada), just the method we’re using and the exact vision is just slightly different.


  12. This was in my mailbox this morning.

    Stand Up For Wild Rivers & Grizzly Bears

    Make Your Voice Heard in Kaslo!

    Glacier/Howser Private Hydro Project Public Meeting

    Tuesday, June 23
    6:15pm Rally
    7:00pm Meeting
    J.V. Humphries School, Kaslo

    AXOR, under subsidiary Purcell Green Power, has proposed the
    controversial 100 MW Glacier/Howser private hydro project for an
    area located in the Duncan Valley and the heart of the Purcells.
    It is the largest run-of-river project proposed in the Kootenays
    and has generated widespread public concern due to its potential
    negative ecological impacts on important aquatic habitat and
    wilderness areas. This area is also a popular tourism and
    recreation destination.

    The project’s power lines would cut through areas of old growth
    forest, old growth management areas off limits to logging
    companies, and important grizzly bear habitat. It also includes
    the damming and diverting of water from 4 creeks into a combined
    16 kms of tunnels large enough to drive a dump truck through; the
    water diverted would never return to the original creeks.

    There is a smart way to develop renewable energy. The massive and
    environmentally destructive Glacier/Howser private hydro project
    is the wrong way. A strong turn out at this Kaslo meeting is
    critical. Bring your banners, signs and costumes!

    West Kootenay EcoSociety is arranging buses from Nelson and
    Castelgar to Kaslo.

    For more info & to reserve your space on the bus:
    http://www.ecosociety.ca or info@ecosociety.ca or (250) 354-1909


  13. Good link, Astro, thanks for that. Ben Meisner has a great site going on in my home town. Too bad we don’t have someone like that on radio down here! What a treat that would be.

    Nuclear energy , eh, Lancaster? That’s an entirely seperate debate right there!

    It would be grand if the government imposed conditions and regulations like the ones you have suggested, and perhaps that would assist in addressing some of the issues that are garnering so much opposition in the north and among those concerned about environmental ramifications, however the government hasn’t done so, and most likely won’t. THAT is a huge problem for me. One cannot allow giant corporations to come in and do what they want, without regard for even cleaning up its own mess.

    However, even if they did impose such requirements, the failings would come in the high probability of having little to no ability to monitor all of the above.

    Even currently the government has missed the boat on being able to effectively ensure that all the IPP’s are actually building projects to the current regulations see blog : https://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/what-the-liberals-dont-want-you-to-find-out-until-after-election-day-documents-obtained-by-cbc-news-show-run-of-the-river-projects-are-breaking-environmental-regulations/

    In my opinion, the BC government has not been able to marry business and economic opportunity with prudent environmental stewardship, and left unchecked will continue on this course unless the people of BC stand up and call for action. How compliant we are in accepting the unacceptable when in other countries they riot in the streets for less?

    When the scale is tipped in favour of big business and development ( as it currently appears to be) rather than achieving the much needed dedication towards an fairly even balance with preservation and proper use of our natural resources, something has to give.

    Right now, and in the future, others will begin to see the results of such imbalance, and perhaps then it will be too late. It seems one of our biggest failures as a species is our seeming inability to practice restraint -until the damage has been done.
    This is what scares me, Lancaster, and Sal. What do we do when nothing is left to cut, when the mines have all been tapped out, and the fish are all gone?

    It takes years to produce a new harvestable forest. To date there have been no real succesful attempts to try new woods or crops that might be more sustainable in the long run.

    Once mines are depleted and no longer economically feasible the town associated with it dies off slowly unless someone takes over and finds a new opportunity.

    And the fish? Don’t talk about the fish. Commercial fisheries over fished and then the remainder wiped out by disease and sea lice.

    To stand by and say, ” Hey have at ‘er- I’ll bring my shovel ! ‘ is to be part and parcel of the problem, not the solution.

    ( by the way, although there has been much talk about the publics perception of the” not an endorsement, endorsement” of the BC libs by that ranting man, David Suzuki, this little election time editorial can be found on the Suzuki website:http://www.davidsuzuki.org/latestnews/dsfnews05060901.asp )


  14. I wouldnt worry about the fisheries. The government is going to give it away to the Indians anyway, and they will fish it out. You will never completely wipe out the fish, you will only make it so scarce that you will have no viable fishery. This too will regenerate.

    When the mines died in the past so did the towns. Its a natural evolution. There are more trees now than 20 years ago if you can believe the newspaper. Everything has a price. We can stop development because of a rodent. Yet where is the outcry over the killing of the bats in southern Alberta where the huge wind turbines are killing them off. Safe energy? Not to the bat. What is the safety record of Chalk river. Pretty impressive I would say. We got pipelines all over the country. Why not a few more. Spills are rare on those.

    Nothing will ever be perfect and pretty and 100% safe and keep everybody happy. Should we tear down the mega dams we have now and return it to pristine watershed of yesteryear?

    And I love the push for the electric hybrids and all. So in 10 or 15 years, if they last that long, what do we do with all those batteries? They are made of some pretty toxic stuff. The chances of electrocution in an accident are now something new. Cops are warned about approaching them because of the juice.

    Remember the law of unintended consequences. My kid found me that information on Wikipedia. Stuff like not using DDT and the rise of malaria. Old minefields now bird sanctuaries. The Korean DMZ is a unique habitat now there is no people there.

    Seems to me we take a lot of stuff for granted and now we got it and still cry for more but are unwilling to break a few eggs. Life itself is risky. My kid tells me I drive too fast.

    At the rate we are recycling, I do not think we will be running out of stuff for a while. More with less. During the war the shortage of metal caused a huge recycling effort.


  15. This was in my INcoming mailbox today. Seems to me, these conservation people are just asking us, as a society, to act a bit smarter. Have a look: :

    June 16, 2009

    Dear supporter of wild salmon,

    Your help is needed to provide emergency protection to wild salmon!

    As a partner in our work, you know how damaging open net-cage salmon farms are to BC’s wild salmon and the marine ecosystem. Years of scientific research has built a global body of evidence, and our understanding of the impacts continues to grow. Recent research suggests that the critical Fraser River sockeye as well as other runs of wild salmon are being infected with sea lice as they migrate past net-cage farms in the northern Georgia Strait.

    We are demanding change – and we’d like you to join us!

    One of the narrowest pathways in the Georgia Strait is the Okisollo Channel — east and north of Quadra Island – where all five species of Pacific salmon swim and feed alongside herring, harbour seals, and orcas. This channel, this Wild Salmon Narrows, has been choked with open net-cage salmon farm sites for far too long.

    We are launching a new Wild Salmon Narrows campaign! We’re calling for emergency protection for wild salmon migrating through the northern Georgia Strait. While we continue to work towards a coast-wide transition to closed containment aquaculture, we are demanding the removal of the five active fish farms in Okisollo Channel. Clearing a critical migration route of open net-cage salmon farms is an emergency measure needed to reduce the pressure of sea lice infection on wild salmon.

    Hop on our new Wild Salmon Narrows email series and be a part of the push for immediate change. You’ll learn more about what’s at stake in this biologically and culturally rich area of the Pacific coast, and will have many opportunities to help protect the Wild Salmon Narrows.


    Thanks for getting involved and spreading the word to your friends!


    All of us at CAAR


  16. Thanks Mary, for spreading the word, and agreed,we all need to be a bit smarter.

    I’m not sure how great the whole recycling thing is working. I vist the Greater Vancouver Landfill every year on their open house and it’s rather dismal to see all the shit on the heaps that could have and should have been recycled. Plastic plastic plastic everywhere, as well as newspaper and cardboard, the easiest items to recycle if you ask me. Not to mention prices for these items in the recycling industry have not made it profitable( theres that word again) to recycle some items any longer.

    Speaking of Salmon, I had some wonderful wild smoked salmon recently, and it was wonderful. I don’t eat farmed fish if I can avoid it.


  17. Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences! The sweet innocent face of Lancaster keeps popping up beside certain INcoming e.mails, making me think “Lancaster might like to see this …” And so here’s one more:


    The Guardian – June 16 2009

    Two years ago Douglas Rushkoff had an unpleasant encounter outside his Brooklyn home. Taking out the rubbish on Christmas Eve, he was mugged — held at knife-point by an assailant who took his money, his phone and his bank cards.

    Shaken, he went back indoors and sent an email to his local residents’ group to warn them about what had happened.

    “I got two emails back within the hour,” he says. “Not from people asking if I was OK, but complaining that I’d posted the exact spot where the mugging had taken place — because it might adversely affect their property values.”

    That, he says, was more shocking than being mugged. He was spurred into action.

    A New Yorker with a short crop of curly hair and dark eyes, Rushkoff made his name in the 1990s as the author of a series of books that examined the intersection of technology and popular culture, including Media Virus — in which he minted the concept of viral marketing, where the internet is infected with contagious advertising — and Cyberia: Life in the Trenches, which documented the weirder corners of online life.

    Along the way he also coined the now-popular idea of “digital natives” — youngsters who gained a distinct advantage over their parents because they had grown up in a world of computers and electronics. But after two decades of documenting the hi-tech counterculture, Rushkoff realised he had a new subject: the mess we’re in. Life Inc, his new book, tells a story of an economic and social collapse 500 years in the making.

    “It isn’t just about this crisis, it’s about a much bigger process,” he says, when we meet in the back room of a San Francisco conference centre (he has just delivered a barnstorming talk on why the stock market is a dangerous beast to a room full of stock-obsessed internet executives). “It’s the process through which we internalised values and built a physical landscape where there are towns and roads that support this sort of corporatised, disconnected existence. It’s about why the Dow Jones is the metric we choose to measure our health.”

    His thesis is that centuries of corporate influence have turned us into a world of isolated, individualistic people pitted against each other. It’s familiar territory for the followers of Naomi Klein or Joel Bakan, the author of The Corporation, a damning examination of modern business. But Rushkoff’s ideas are more complex.

    He tracks back our economic system to the Renaissance, when the first corporations were born. Initially created as an attempt by the aristocracy to control — and profit from — the actions of the merchant class, corporations slowly became more powerful, setting up new codes that encouraged people to stop producing things and start buying.

    “People exchanging value with one another directly is the thing that got outlawed 500 years ago and then, over the centuries, got turned into a weird, messy thing that we look down on rather than a wonderful thing that we should look up to.” Over the course of history, he argues, the notion of local production and trade has been erased in favour of a centralised, globalised culture.

    “It’s almost that what the church did to sex, government and corporations did to transactions,” he says. “We think of money as dirty, but it’s corporations that are dirty, the whole notion that we need them is dirty.”

    Rushkoff is rake-thin, and has a twitchy, nervous vigour, busily taking notes, checking his phone, constantly moving backwards and forwards in his seat. It is no surprise that he is full of verve: after a few years on the sidelines, Life Inc is a return to his best form. In it he takes swipes at advertising, pop psychology, public relations, suburban life, the dotcom boom, reality TV and many of the things we take for granted. And yet, he says, it’s too easy to blame other people for what has happened to us all: in order to win our lives back from consumerism, we need to start pulling together again.

    “When push comes to shove and our corporations fail us we begin to look to our peers for support,” he says. “We’re going to have to start doing favours for each other, working with each other … and then we’ll start to see that it’s more fun, more meaningful and cheaper.”

    The book’s anger is tempered by sad stories that illustrate Rushkoff’s thesis of disillusionment: among them the tale of Charles and Sandra, a middle-aged couple from New York desperate to recover from a series of seemingly random financial calamities. In their quest to make life better, they are sucked into the world of get-rich-quick seminars — spending money they don’t have to try to win back money they don’t really need. In Rushkoff’s view, Charles and Sandra are victims of corporations and governments that have spent decades inculcating people into being commuters and consumers. But they are not just victims: they are also willing conspirators in a cycle that promises everything and delivers nothing.

    Life Inc supposes that the only way to eschew the corporate world is through communal action. People need to reconnect with each other to create real value again. “The part I’m optimistic about is people who genuinely want to get back to doing something. It’s OK to just make a living. Why is that wrong?”

    Surprisingly, given the strong conservative streak running through his arguments, one of the ways he thinks we can reclaim our lives is through the internet. “There’s an irony in it,” he admits. “In attempting to sell more goods to more people in less time, [corporations] ended up putting a device in our hands that let people connect with one another directly.” He refers to the “Craigslist phenomenon” — the classifieds website that makes it free to post adverts and has, as a result, become woven into the fabric of urban America.

    “The amount of value that Craigslist has allowed people to create for one another is pretty remarkable,” he says. “I’m renting a little office near my house, and I’ve got to find someone with a truck. What else am I going to do? I go to Craigslist and find someone there. It makes me tremendously optimistic.”

    He revels in the idea that this resembles the trade and bartering before the Renaissance — before the corporate world took hold and delivered us supermarkets, megastores, multinational banks and heavy debt. But while he believes fiercely that the internet harbours a revolutionary power, he is keen to stress that the online world shouldn’t do more than supplement the physical world.

    “If you’ve got a rare form of cancer, then connecting with people online is the only way you’re going to find a support group — there’s no one else in your town or your country who’s got whatever that is,” he says. “If you’re trying to make your local school better? You might be better off using the internet to find out where and when are we going to meet to do this.”

    Rushkoff says he started working on the book more than four years ago (although getting mugged brought the project into sharper focus). Back then, friends and acquaintances scoffed at his predictions that the housing bubble was going to hurt a lot further down the line. “It’s a little sad,” he says. “I wrote the book in the future tense, and then when I was editing I had to put it in the present, and then — in the last draft — I had to put it in the past.”

    The upside of delayed publication, if there is one, is that his arguments seem more compelling now — and people are less likely to view him as a crackpot counter-culturalist. Still, he can’t be immune to the system he decries: after all, he’s got a book to sell, right? Rushkoff laughs. An advocate of what he calls “fractal activism” — favouring a host of sprawling, disorganised, personal protests over organised campaigns — he says he’s hoping the ideas in his book become common property so that, like a Wikipedia project on every street corner, many people can build something of value in their own lives by contributing their time.

    “I’m not Naomi Klein,” he says with a grin. “Not only am I not capable of spearheading a movement, I don’t believe in movements. What I’m trying to do is encourage people to take the steps they need to take, in their communities and cities and towns.”

    – guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009


  18. Everybody I know recycles at the curb with all the different stuff. I don’t think the garbage guys should take stuff like cardboard or newspaper. If its with other garbage, too bad, you should have put it in the recycle bin.

    Its time to weed my lawn, again. To the garage for my Roundup. I had a long hard look at the weed farm and decided the hauling of pails of boiling water were too much. I bought the neighbor a session with the Weedman. The other neighbors are ecstatic.

    Sorry Mary, I like the high life and refuse to return to the Renaissance.


  19. I’m not naive or innocent…. but I’ve been enlightened to realize that in our ever changing world, money and power are the only true constant denominators.

    People will come and go,
    The environment can be changed and change back,
    Morality is all relative, and faith is subjective.

    I’m not afraid of “big brother” or “the corporation”, because I intend for myself (and my descendants) to be part of them… and what I need to accomplish that…. money and power.


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