August 30, 2004

Green, Red & Weekend

A half-remembered sound bite from the CBC news this morning has been bugging me all day. It was a snippet from David Suzuki's keynote at the Green Party leadership convention in Calgary this past weekend. I wish I could remember his phrasing, but the message was, if you want to be taken seriously, don't present yourslef as too granola. Crude paraphrasing, that. The message, though, is one that resonantes with me. I've always been an advocate of only asking people to step outside their box so far if I want to get anywhere.

However. I've never been all that happy about the over the top idealists that haven't done their homework or turned a critical lens on their own thinking. Now me, I happen to think that organic farming makes sense from every perspective, including the economic one, even though it will take essentially a paradigm shift before we as a mainstream society are prepared to accept that. But there are all these shiny young people who see organics as the saviour of so much evil - but their arguments are too often based on something they read in a magazine picked up at the health food store. Often, the same magazine that tries to sell you all sorts of potent supplements. The reasoning, to my mind, in much of this is about as sound as that behind the colon cleansing crap (pun fully intended) that was floating around (nothing intended there) a few years ago. The idea I believe in, the reasoning behind it, though, discredits the advocate and has the potential to discredit the idea by association. There is nothing I hate quite as much as seeing organic farms that allow the perpetuation of that 70s hippie stereotype: potheads, with lously looking crops sold at exorbitant prices by spaced out long-haired people in tie-dyed garb. Nothing wrong with pot or tie-dyed or long hair or being spaced out or even growing lousy looking crops, but they don't make much of a case for organics except to the "converted".

And yet. The over-the-top idealist element serves such a valuable purpose. First, there's the awareness raising, in the context of "no such thing as bad publicity" category. Though I'm not sure I agree with the statement itself, sometimes, this in-your-face activism gets people talking, and that can get them thinking. Furthermore, I've seen a few of these shiny people age and mellow - and contrary to another stereotype, the hippies didn't all turn into SUV-driving capitalist pigs and there are plenty who are making sound choices and quietly pursuing their own sort of advocacy. And finally, the activists of this ilk do exactly what they should be doing: they challenge complacency. For this, I am grateful.

But David Suzuki's statement rings true to me: there comes a time in every movement where you need to make it more difficult for people to dismiss you. I think the Green Party of Canada is at that stage.

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Today, I took my car in for a recall. I'm still not used to driving a vehicle new enough to be under warranty recalls! My regular mechanic is as good as it gets and has on occasion served me cake, but still, I was enthralled with the free coffee at the VW dealership. And surprised at the complimentary car wash. However, when the little red jetta that could goes for its tune-up this week, it will return to its regular mechanic. Yes, it's the week of taking care of my car. I even vacuumed the inside on the weekend!

Ah, the weekend. I have become truly lame. I had plans to go to the McCoys with Sarka, but even at the time the plan was made I issued a proviso: I will cancel if the forecast turns sour. And, this being the "summer" of 2004, of course it did... so I stayed at home. My one thought as I sat inside, puttering away on a project while it poured and poured outside? I have done enough sitting under a tarp for the rest of this year. And, quite incidentally, I managed to get one project that's been hanging over my head for what seems like ever out of the way. It's easy to work on a weekend this year...

In between being all lame and diligent, though, I started plotting a Fred Eaglesmith-filled fall. There will be at least two concerts, if not three, for me! And, best of all, if things work out the way I want them to, I will get to go see Fred with my sister! It's only happened once before, at the Caledonia Fall Fair, but that night will remain in my memory as one of the most fun nights of my life. Here's to hoping for a repeat.

Speaking of my sister - thanks to the generosity of my brothers, she has been paddling Superior again despite the despicable theft of her kayak (as ranted about on this page a few weeks ago). I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes me that I come from the kind of family where siblings will pull together like this and fix such a stupid wrong. When I look at pictures Marlene has taken on Superior since she got the new boat, I get all warm and fuzzy. Plus, I think the CD Squall is a really great boat for her. Now I want to do a trip on Superior with her, but there's no way that can even be considered before next summer. Sigh.

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And a few more rainy weekends, and this page may finally get the re-design I've been meaning to give it for months now... I did the farm journal back in May, and then I just ran out of time. One of these days...

(one of these days, I will surprise you all.)

Posted by Johanna at August 30, 2004 05:18 PM

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