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Jungle Talk

Are we hard wired to run a sustainable planet? And are we accountable to the entire world that we live in? For me the Jungle is something made up of so many fascinating elements; a journey of intriguing possibilities. That kind of sounds like "life" on planet-johnson.

Can I travel with a presence that allows my footprint to add value to the world that you live in while "capturing moments" that tell a compelling story? Karma is a belief that all of your actions will have equal reprecussions, affecting you and I. This journey is a search for some balance, a little discovery and hopefully some visual poetry?

This blog will humbly attempt to see my world through the experience of TRAVEL, photos and sincere examination of an experential and visual karma. And I will find a way to incorporate some positive travel experience into that karma with the perspective of a Digital Camera. Photography and writing have become my "love affair" with life on planet-johnson. Hopefully I can share my passions for the best of this crazy world!

Please join in and welcome to the jungle! 

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Friday
Jan262007

The Green Party comes to Town

    "There`s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren`t for our lungs there`d be no place to put it all." Robert Orben

I`m driving  the 401 outside Toronto at a cool 140km/hr. My Honda Sports Coupe slides past a couple of Lexus Suv`s and grabs the draft of a 500 series BMW starting to push 150. This is adrenaline alley and anyone with a real car (horsepower baby) is high on performance. Maybe I`m just one of the drones just rushing my fate, but get out of my way because this car performs and I am "one" with the road. I turn on my premium audio system and tune in CBC radio.

They`re interviewing Canadian Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, my favorite tree hugger. This lady just published a book called "How to Save the World in Your Spare Time" and I`m sensing a karma crisis here. Elizabeth May thinks and speaks like no other politician in Canada today. She stands out as head and shoulders above the herd.

In Canada the herd is led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper who dismantled the previously "unused" Liberal environmental policy and replaced it with "no policy." This was not politically astute in this era of greenmania and he has since reacted to suicidal polls and returned to the previously "unused" Liberal Party environmental policy. I think he`s going to start wearing green clothes and paint his political lawn signs green to boot. I guess he thinks the average voter is deaf, dumb and blind. Hope he`s wrong? Then we have Stephan Dion, the Liberal Leader, who previously championed the "unused" Liberal environmental policy as Minister of Environment and now shows great passion for his dog "Kyoto." That`s a literal dog I`m talking about here. I personally support the Kyoto process but I haven`t named my dog Kyoto. And I haven`t failed to meet Kyoto targets like Dion did as Environment Minister. But maybe we can trust him this time? And finally, the Canadian non-alternative Party, the NDP, are lead by Jack who? Layton. He smiles a lot and kisses Harper`s ass in his spare time trying to maintain a minimal presence in Ottawa. I don`t think so.

These guys aren`t connecting with me but May talks about changing the world. She wants to do for the Environment what "Tommy Douglas" did for Health Care in Canada . She wants to influence the process more than she wants power. I think I believe her. But she`s talking carbon emissions`s as the scourge of the earth and takes me to the mirror of my soul. Fast cars = more carbon emission's. Shite! Maybe Layton will let me keep my car. Maybe she`s wrong?

I`m convinced to go to the theatre and watch the new Al Gore movie,"an Inconvenient Truth". I`m moved by his argument and admit that his scientific presentation of hypothesis, passion and probability are a pretty sad song for the future of terra firma.  I buy the DVD and watch it again and again and pass it on to friends. I find out that all profits from the book and movie will go back into Gore`s movement to educate the planet about Climate Change. This is tough. I think I believe this guy like I do Elizabeth May.

I`m a car junky (I watched "Vanishing Point" 4 times and still watch "Bullet" like a heroin addict) and Motorcycles, don`t get me started. I grew up dreaming about girls (kind of irrelevant), cars and "freedom of the open road". But I`m part of this problem and I kind of go for taking responsibilty for my impact on the world. Now, every time I cross 120km/hr I`m thinking about Polar bears and Icebergs bigger than Prince Edward Island.  

"Because we don`t think about future generations, they will never forget us." Henrik Tikkanen

I need to focus, I need help. So I read the "Silent World" of Jaques Cousteau for the fourth time.  My winters are for the tropics, diving with sea turtles and big fish. Coral Reef is like the "Mecca" for me. It gives me a major break from reality. Travel time synchronizes my planet. But more research shows that carbon emissions are affecting the "silent world" on too many levels to ignore. Bleached and dying coral reefs, rising acidity of oceans and possible effect on fish populations. More questions and probabilities.

So I ramble through fast cars and coral reef and lament the crashing planet Eco system because of Elizabeth May and Al Gore. They`re a burr on the ass of my conscience. Thank Gaea for people like them!

They`ve got me back on track. I`m part of the solution but I`ve been sucking this tit for a long time and I may need rehab. And I just wish they`d make a Honda Coupe that goes 140km/hr and gets 80 miles to the gallon.

 

Thursday
Jan252007

Poverty 101 and The Golden Rule.

    "I`ve been rich and I`ve been poor. Rich is definitely better." I think it was Cher

I`ve never been poor but I hear (from 2003 United Nations stats) that 824 million people in the developing world were affected by chronic hunger. I can`t imagine chronic hunger. And every year 11 million children die, most under 5 years of age , from completely preventable causes like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.

Ok, that's stark enough before we all start crying in our pudding. And I know everybody is a little tired of poor little African kids looking for a buck on World Vision adds but people only feel that way because of this fantasy called the developed world where we can become so "comfortably numb." The crazy thing is that we only need to share a wee bit of this fantasy to allow a life and a future for these kids. Their opportunity to exist seems a little reasonable.

According to the "2006 United Nations Human Development Index", Norway is a nice place to live and Niger is not. Norway is the #1 "most livable country" while Niger is the #1 "least livable country." The life expectancy in Norway is 78.9 years and in Niger 47 years is the prize.  Me, I keep looking at the white "makepovertyhistory" band that I wear every day and hope that an 11 year old boy from Niger beats the odds and lives past his 47th birthday. Apparently these kind of miracles are possible by 2015 if we adopt the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations?

The MDG gameplan is the brainchild of one of the planets truly contagious brainiacs, Jeffrey Sachs.  Now Sachs tells me through his terrific book, "The End of Poverty", that a very small piece of the planet`s wealth bonanza (that would be us in Norway, Canada, USA, rest of Europe, Japan etc), a mere .7% of our GNP, can alleviate extreme poverty in our lifetime. Hear that Boomers! Chi Ching I can feel that karma rising fast and furious.

But the problem is that our governments, especially in North America, aren`t listening. They`re talking, but not doing, and falling way short of .7%. So maybe its time for Boomers and everyone else to raise a shite storm and demand that our politicians spend less money "killing people" and focus on saving lives. The cost is minimal and our karma is calling.

To this end, perhaps we need to approach poverty in our time as Kennedy spoke his "Golden Rule' to Americans in 1963 about racism.
" The heart of the question...is whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated." 

My Golden Rule is simple. Do for others as you would have them do for you, or yours. Don`t spoil them, just give them an opportunity to exist and evolve.

It is very much like wearing  the other man`s shoes. Can we appreciate the frustration of losing our family and friends in their youth to diseases that can be so easily cured at a low cost? I can only imagine the pain and the thing is, we can still have our smarter cars, Ipods, 50inch LCD`s and makepovertyhistory. Jeffrey Sachs has the plan and we can afford it.

The plan is practical, science based and the results are measurable. These people need something more concrete than a "hope and a prayer". They need insecticide treated anti-malaria bed nets,  soil treatment and improved agricultural techniques, the training of community health and agricultural workers, cheap drugs (aides) and basic nutrition. These kinds of simple solutions might seem like a gift from the Gods to desperate people.

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread." Mahatma Gandhi 

I have this dream that one day the children of Niger will live long enough to see their hair turn grey. Maybe I`m a tad hopeful but holy shite, this seems like a firesale on doing good. How do we resist a bargain like that?

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