Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Guelph: Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted

Global Change #2 by peterkelly
Global Change #2, a photo by peterkelly on Flickr.

"Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts." 
~ Albert Einstein

I was at the talk on Tuesday given by environmental activist, David Suzuki, and former Chief Economist with CIBC World Markets, Jeff Rubin, here in Guelph.

The discussion was not one of optimism and nor should it be considering that we've taken every opportunity as a species to turn away from consequences such as air and water pollution, overpopulation, global warming, species extinction, ozone depletion, acid rain, and rainforest destruction, among many others.

As of October 17, 2012 the world human population was estimated to be 7.046 billion by the United States Census Bureau. The estimates for the carrying capacity of the Earth are between 4 billion and 16 billion people.

So, don’t you think it’s time we started counting the things that really matter, and not just counting our money?

In his book Everything Under the Sun Suzuki points out that corporations are running governments at all levels. And I know this is because we are on a precipice – at the foot of an economic cliff with capitalism pushing us to the fall. We are in the throws of a dramatic capitalist failure, with our natural resources running out, and just as quickly, our time running out.

In this situation, I would hope that we would be looking for creative solutions to our problems from our communities. That we would be learning as much as we can from what people have to say everywhere – whether that’s through a Film called Tapped about the water-bottling industry, or through investigating alternatives for population growth in our city rather than just unquestioningly complying with globalization models that have so-far gotten other cities nowhere but into a much deeper state of corporate dependency. Guelph believes in eating local, buying local, supporting local. This autonomy is what could ensure our survival and indeed our prosperity, but not if we are pushed onto the cattle truck of a corporate capitalist mandate to homogenize culture across Ontario, Canada, and the world.

Globalization. It’s a huge problem. It’s the McDonald’s you see in the middle of a desert in Egypt, in the Philippine mountains, and even in Ethiopia. It’s the high-rise in Barrie, Ontario that looks just like the one in Guelph.

Yes, it’s here in our backyard.

It’s not the time to close the gates and bar the windows – it’s time to open them up and look out. To start talking, to encourage all perspectives, to support creative community thinking.

It’s time to count what matters and to make it count.

~ Aidan M.D. Ware

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Downtown Guelph, University of Guelph, The Guelph Hillside Festival or The Guelph Lake Conservation Area.

On the other hand, you may be curious about what the City of Guelph looked like last October or maybe Spring.

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