Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)’s
Global Emergency Operation (GEO)’s
Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #6 (CARE-6)’s
Field journal #5
August 1, 2008
Dear HOPE-GEO team and all friends in compassion:
I know, I know, this HOPE-GEO CARE-6-tour field-journal #5 has been long in coming. However, I have to abide by my own rule that this is a report of action. If I went through a temporary period inaction, the journal would have to wait. Either this, or I went through a temporary period of intense activity with no time to write, but I cannot apply the latter to the last ten days.
Of course few things are 0% or 100%. These last ten days have served as the time required to study the book Stupid to The Last Drop (by William Marsden, given to me by Patrick Moore of CURE, Montevideo, Minnesota). Even for me, who has created the website part of which dealing with the Alberta tar sands, the book is an eye-opener. It takes a historical perspective to the beginning of tar sands discovery to how the Canadian government contemplated using nuclear weapons to extract oil from the tar sands, to the selling out of Canada’s resources to the U.S.A. via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in which, for example, Canada is required to ship to the U.S.A. 60% of its oil output, regardless of whether Canada itself falls short of oil or not, and via other political and commercial devices, by incompetent and impotent and/or unethical and corrupt, and/or foolish and, yes, stupid, “statesmen” such as former Prime Minister Brian Mulrooney, former Alberta Premier and former Alberta “Environment Minister” Ralph Klein, current Alberta “Environment Minister” Rob Rennie, current Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who have shown not one iota of concern for human health (e.g. the cancer epidemic amongst the First Nations peoples inhabiting the Athabasca watershed) nor environmental integrity (e.g. the deformed fish they consumed and the ducks that died by landing into one of the tailing “ponds”), and how psychopathic and sociopathic Big Oil took and are still taking full advantage of this weakness and all but invaded Canada with their heavy machinery for leveling the forest and tearing up the land, and light bribes for officials and natives (see Chapter 5 titled “Washington’s Doomsday Politics in which the Americans discover the oil sands, contemplate the invasion of Canada and find it’s not necessary”) , and, worst of all, how Canadian and especially Albertan investors and voters keep voting these criminals-against-nature-and-humanity back in, even though their deeds are destroying the Canadian ecology, the entire biosphere, and their own children’s future. This infuriates me, and has hardened my resolve to defeat them ASAP, and given me the extra ammunition to hasten our victory. So, these 10 days have in fact been very fruitful, without which, charging full speed ahead, I would have had no time to read at all.
I arrived at Janesville on July 17th, on the same evening of which I gave a talk to about a dozen people in the gazebo of a park in Beloit, including organizer Les Blumreich and my dear friends Amy Burns, her husband Mark Dwyer and their daughter Luciana, Allegrea Rosenburg, and a few others I did not recognize. When I was concluding my talk, it was twilight, and all around the gazebo the fireflies performed their magic. It was beautiful and enchanting. Unfortunately, there was no reporter there to witness it.
On Saturday the 19th, Amy and I went to Madison to attend the Dalai Lama’s public talk. When we were standing in line waitings to enter the stadium, in the fierce sun in the asphalt parking lot, we could not help but notice a demonstration by a group of Tibetans against the Dalai Lama. There were large banners saying “DALAI LAMA, STOP LYING!” The demonstrators were chanting “DALAI LAMA! (Something something in Tibetan)!” Amy went over to talk to them, and was told that they were a Buddhist sect not recognized by the Dalai Lama, who had refused to meet with them. In other words, they were accusing the Dalai Lama of religious persecution! Upon finally entering the stadium, a guard confiscated my bottle of water. We were seated way up on the third level and the sound system left a lot to be desired. I had to strain to catch the odd recognizable phrase from “His Holiness” (a term I disdain, be it applied to the Dalai Lama or the Pope or any other spiritual “supreme master”). The format of the talk basically involved the man sitting next to him asking him questions which he then answered. Unfortunately, the questions were posed by one with almost no environmental or global awareness, and most questions were mundane and pseudo-spiritual in the extreme, and the terms “global warming”, much less “mass extinction”, did not arise even once that I could discern. Amy did not hear them either. She has attended the Dalai Lama’s talks before, and said that indeed this time his performance was substandard. Subsequently, she gave me a book by the Dalai Lama in support of science. However, Julie Johnston attempted to gain me access to the Dalai Lame, and it was not granted.
Here is how I feel about the Dalai Lama; many who admire him may feel personally affronted, but so be it – this being a field journal of truth, at least truth as I see it. The Dalai Lama has the power to fill a stadium with ease. If I were him, especially since he is a man of science and a global warming acceptor, in view of the urgency of the matter, I would not rest, but instead give public talks everyday, 365 days every year, city after city, country after country, until the world is enlightened, Big Oil is trounced, and the tar sands are shut down for good. But that afternoon, I saw little if any sign of urgency. I cannot respect a world leader with his enormous power of global influence, who would not try to accomplish at least what the miniscule HOPE-GEO team is trying to accomplish. And to add to the mediocrity of the day, except Amy’s company, I ended up with a heat stroke for the trouble, which led to my vomiting later at her parents’ place.
Amy’s parents are Betty and Marvin Burns, age 58 and 60, who are staunch Christians and Creationists, which normally would have set me diametrically opposed to them, but their caring hospitality has not only neutralized this intellectual barrier, but instilled within me a sense of unconditional love for them. While their son Michael has followed in their footsteps and become a pastor, Amy has struck out on her own into the realm of science, logic and evolutionary thinking, and is home-schooling her delightful younger daughter Luciana, while maintaining an uneasy yet loving truce with her parents. Marvin is a bit of a missionary at heart. After finally raising the money, he is now poised to go back to Uganda on August 3 for 15 days to help build a house for their Ugandan minister. He had had his luggage packed 10 days ahead of time, unlike me who seldom start packing until the very morning of my departure, even on a 4.5-month-long tour. Betty is a homebody, and could only look on in semi-amusement and semi-resignation, with their three cats around her heels. About Marv’s trip, I have always found Christian missionaries indoctrinating Third World people with their dogma objectionable, but again, on the personal level, I sincerely wish Marvin a safe and fruitful journey. Whereas they, fully knowing that I’m an evolutionist, have avoided broaching the subject even once for all the time I’ve known them since 2005. On Amy’s side of the family, she has had recent heated debates against Marv in blog form, but I have yet to see them duel it out verbally in person. Unfortunately, the conflict between her and her eldest daughter Dejanique had come to a head on Dage’s 18th birthday, and only after some serious confrontations did it die down. Quite a few late evenings, I walked the several blocks from Betty’s to Amy’s to unwind and hang out, with Allegrea and Mark almost always there with us, and of course all nine of Amy’s cats. I love their whole family deeply.
When I arrived at Betty’s place and checked into my assigned bedroom, I found the proof copy of our new book Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH lying on the bed. I looked at it for a moment before picking it up and holding it in my hands, as if it were a new-born babe. By the time I entered Wisconsin, I had contacted Lightning Source to have 2000 copies of the book printed ($3980 vs $3363 for 1500 copies) and have 200 copies sent to Peter and Julie on Pender Island BC, 150 copies to Lane’s place in Bedford Ohio, and 1650 copies sent to the Alternative Mini Storage in Maryland rented by Charlotte (shipping cost $702, vs $648 for 1500 copies). They would be shipped on August 1, Friday, and should arrive within 3-4 days, in time for the AR Conference.
On July 29, Tuesday, I bade farewell to Amy’s family, and drove to South Bend, Indiana, for the engagemnt at the St. Joseph County Library scheduled for 6-9 pm, organized by Lisa Funkhouser, a MySpace friend of mine. I arrived at 4 pm as arranged, and was instantly struck by her feel of freshness, youthfulness and warmth when we met at the library parking lot. She and her friend Jim, who brought his video and projector equipment, treated me to dinner in a Thai restaurant nearby. While driving, I called Lisa on my cell to see if she had contacted the local media, she said, while we were walking to the restaurant, “You have to teach me how to do it properly next time.” As she had feared, the audience was small, but it could also have been caused by some mix up on the date on the part of others. While still in Wisconsin the day before driving to Indiana, i.e. July 28, Monday, I received an email from an Indiana woman named Jamie, who wrote that she had heard about the presentation at her work place, and would like to attend, but the date she mentioned was July 28, Monday. I wrote back to give her the correct date of July 29, Tuesday, and she did show up, but goodness knows how many people went to the library on the wrong date. It was not Lisa’s mistake, because her announcement did say July 29, Tuesday. Just goes to show that however careful we try to be, we cannot control the carelessness in others.
Lisa, whose opened her home to me for my stay, where she lives with her young daughter Kaley, is a highly intelligent woman with a university degree and excellent computer skills, and is applying them to improve my websites and my telecommunications capabilities. She offers to host another event for my return visit in October, and to help with the HOPE-GEO campaign in the long run, pro bono. To help save the Earth has been her aim in life, and she deems our campaign worthy of her time, energy and talents.
Jim did video-record the presentation, and is working on the recording for YouTube and elsewhere as we speak.
The next 2 weeks will be busier than the last 2 weeks, with presentations in Ohio and West Virginia prior to the AR conference. Alex (FARM) just wrote me saying that Joanne Chang could not make the conference, and asked me to take on one of her talks. So now, I have 12 speeches at the AR Conference to make.