Thursday, June 05, 2008

More about Polar Bears (thinking about “A Polar Shift in Thinking”....)

Category: Issue 10

There is an interesting set of circumstances here in Canada, because Canada is where a lot of the raw materials—raw fir (trees), raw furs, raw fish, raw meat, marijuana, water, etc., have all traditionally come from.  Raw oil.  Raw wheat and canola.  Raw lobster.  Raw cow products.  This is Raw Material Land, and always has been.  Or used to be. 

Now, most stuff is made in China.  Sometimes (mostly?) they buy the raw materials from here and ship it to China to have it manufactured or processed or sewn or whatever, and then ship it back over here to the West.  This takes a lot of energy (um, raw oil, um; never mind the human labour) to run the planes and stuff; good thing we have lots of oil.  Or have had, until pretty soon. 

Right now, one of the issues that passes across my very civilized kitchen table along with the toaster-waffles (imported from China thanks to Wal-mart, or whomever) and my banana on my cereal and coffee (imported from I dunno even where but as far as I know there are no coffee or banana plantations here in Canada) is in my McLean’s magazine (a Canadian news magazine with a reputation for being right wing, although I don’t see why).  It was about polar bears, this article, and it said that some of the Inuit, some perfectly respectable well-educated Inuit people, for that matter, are annoyed because they are seeing lots of polar bears all over the place.  They are a bit peeved at the Americans down south for announcing that there aren’t any polar bears left and that the polar bears are endangered, when they manifestly aren’t.  At least, not around there. 

These guys, the Inuit, have been hunting polar bears forever and they think there are lots of polar bears.  In fact it’s a good year!  I doubt they are lying; I bet there really are lots of polar bears around where they are.  It doesn’t mean the scientists from the universities down south are wrong.  The polar bears may just be hanging around closer to the people because the polar ice caps are melting.  I’m not saying that’s not the case.  But you have to imagine how annoying it would be, to be told that there aren’t any polar bears left, when one of them just ate your favorite dog and another of them is sleeping in your bed.  Fairy tales can come true, God forbid it should happen to you.  Sorry, it’s an endangered species. 

Same thing is going on with the fishermen and the seal hunters and the woodsmen here.  In fact we have lots of seals here, it’s not that the seals are endangered, in this particular case:  it’s just that they are CUTE.  I think they are cute, too.  I do not want to wear sealskin anything.  I don’t want anyone ever to club a little baby seal to death, or kill any seals at all.  Let the Orcas kill the seals.  That’s my position.  However, here in the Maritimes there is a recipe for (get this) Seal Flipper Pie.  I have not tried it, but it is what the seal hunters’ families (usually they had come over from Ireland or Scotland or other places in Europe) used to eat. 

There are apparently no codfish left to eat, really.  There’s enough that we can have it, but it’s expensive and filled with mercury.  What this means for the cod fishermen who have made their ways on the sea for generations, fed their families…. well, it’s puzzling.  For awhile, they just got laid off and their teen-aged kids would support the family by working in call centers (you can’t expect an old codger fisherman to learn how to work in a call center).  However the call center jobs are now going overseas to Malaysia and India where the labour is cheaper, and so even that is starting to dry up.

Everyone loves polar bears, everyone loves the forest and the deep blue sea. 
It looks like these things are running out, and it’s going to be dicey because there isn’t going to be enough oil to heat our houses. 
Cute little baby human girls with curly blonde hair are going to cry because they are (at best) chilly and they are sick of the boring food they are getting to eat.

I am worried about polar bears just like everyone else, but check it out.  When the cards start to tilt, when the dominoes start to fall, it can go pretty fast. 
What’s sad is that nobody thought it would happen to THEM.  Just to polar bears.  That would be sad, awwww.  Save the rhinocerous and pass me another Starbuck’s coffee, thanks. 

Hmmmm.  What if it happens to your aunt, your niece, or to your absolutely immediate family? 
What if the price of coffee goes up so much that you can’t have two?

What if you have to walk to Starbucks?

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Old Comments

  • This is one of the smartest, and funniest, things I have read in ages. I truly enjoyed some of the insights. It almost made me want to become Canadian, but then I would have to say eh? a lot, right?
    Thank you for putting this up, it made me laugh and think.

    Posted by doprava  on  06/05  at  06:34 AM
  • Thanks!  You laugh or you cry! 

    Best thing is to try to be as nice as possible, although I confess I’m not perfect at that yet. 

    PS:  Stupid Detroit beat Pittsburgh in the Hockey last night.  How Canadian is THAT?

    Posted by julianyway  on  06/06  at  02:01 AM
  • I love the way you wrote this.  It’s entertaining, funny, and put yet another chisel mark in my shell of worldly ignorance.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/06  at  12:59 PM
  • I’m glad that my article “inspired” you to write.  There is always 2 sides to a coin.  I guess Darwin would tell the fishermen to evolve or die.  I don’t disagree with him.  It’s a changing world and the fishermen, although just doing their jobs, created the problem they are having with codfish.  Years and years of operating unsustainable fisheries put those men out of jobs.  As for all the work going overseas, that i completely agree with you on.  That is the fault of our governments for not just allowing it but harboring and encouraging it.  One last point, I get the whole human life has more value than an animal, but to the earth it doesn’t.  When do we start thinking about the greater good for all, not just my aunt or a little blonde girl. Sad but true fact that lives will be lost and things will have to change.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/17  at  01:50 PM
  • Actually I don’t necessarily think that human life is more valuable than animal life.  The only ones that read Litmocracy are humans, though, so I was addressing myself to that audience. 

    Darwin might tell the polar bears to evolve or die, as well, I suppose. That’s what they are trying to do, eh, by moving closer to the humans? 

    The cod fisheries have been regulated/unregulated by government for longer than outsourcing has ever been a concern. Coincidentally, governements are composed of human beings, generally self-interested ones whose main concerns don’t go much beyond their own lifespans. 

    I guess I was just trying to make a point about human complacency in general—not to disagree with you at all, but only to point out that the point you were making will most likely be more obvious to us as we are affected, directly, ourselves. 


    Posted by julianyway  on  06/19  at  01:14 AM
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