The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Most Terrible Poverty

Posted on November 30, 2018

We probably all know this, but in an increasingly economic world we make poverty to be something about money, or the lack of it.  Yet it’s more.  It’s one thing to lack capital, but it inevitably leads to a shortage of social capital as well. In recent decades access to economic well-being has increasingly split our modern societies into two – better known as the haves and the have-nots.  That distinction has always been there, but in recent years it has become a wide chasm that few can cross.  That leads to making difficult choices or not being able to make any choices at all. Increasingly, those being pushed to society’s margins find themselves not only economically bereft but socially struggling as well.  Regardless…

That’s Two Red Planets, Not One

Posted on November 27, 2018

We watched in fascination yesterday as NASA’s inSight Lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars – the Red Planet.  Following years of research and efforts, six months of space travel, and one billion dollars of funding.  It was an accomplishment of seismic proportions. In a few days, the Lander will begin digging 16 feet below the surface to test the temperature of the soil.  Some believe it’s hotter than many think. It now appears that millions are beginning to wonder the same thing about earth. It’s taken time to approach it seriously – likely too long – but the arrival of the Trump administration’s climate change report is just the latest in a series of urgent warnings that our environment is about to…

Capitalism vs the Environment – Guess Who Wins?

Posted on November 22, 2018

It’s been no secret that one of the great outliers when it comes to climate change has been corporatism specifically and capitalism generally.  Every time something like this is stated – a frequent event – apologists list various examples of where business has made positive and productive progress in sustainability.  Fair enough, but these are exceptions and not the rule. When we speak of capitalism, there is an important distinction because it includes corporations and consumers – a huge difference.  The capitalist culture is one that speaks to the penchant for business to overproduce and consumers to overconsume.  Together, both of these have made the hopes of putting a serious curb in climate change a rather remote one. Recently a group of scientists, put together…

The World We Want

Posted on November 15, 2018

Over lunch with a civil society leader in our community last week, there was concern expressed over how she feels our Canadian cities are becoming increasingly split over ideologies, never-ending opinions, online mischief and a rampant kind of identity politics.  She asked if I could send her any writings that could give her some hope for a future kind of citizenship that can overcome forces seeking to pull us apart through a rededication to community life.  I sent her the following quotes from Mark Kingwell’s book The World We Want, among others.  Written almost 20 years ago, it remains more relevant than ever and I thought I’d pass them along. “We must trust to listen to the other whom we do not yet know,…

The First Casualties of Peace

Posted on November 11, 2018

On the morning of November 11, 1918, everyone from all sides of the conflict understood that the “war to end all wars” was itself in the process of ending.  At 7 a.m. that morning, France’s Marshal Foch was heading for Paris with the Armistice document in his breast pocket.   At that same moment, in Mons, Belgium, Canadian soldiers were enjoying being hugged by locals who understood that the war would end likely before the end of the day. The problem was that there was no one person in charge of how it would all come to a close.  Worse, communications in 1918 left a lot to be desired, and although everyone knew the end was nigh, there was no way to get the news…

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