Limits To Growth

Limits To Growth

This year has seen a couple of fairly major shocks to the global industrial economic system that so many of us rely upon. One could say that we had a near-collapse experience. I thought it might be wise to take a moment, step back, and have a look at the bigger picture. To see where western civilization is at, what’s driving us and what kinds of a future we might want to plan for. How does the pandemic fit with other threats to stability. To help me with this, I sought out the ideas of a Cortes Island thinker and researcher who deals with a lot of the shit on this island that most people would rather flush away without looking at – he’s a plumber, but so much more. Chris Walker Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Cortes Island’s plummer/philosopher: Chris Walker Who Is Chris Walker? Chris Walker was a builder in Ontario when he became enamoured with solar electricity. He became an installer of solar systems, hoping that they would replace the more destructive forms of energy production. When he found that they were ‘in addition to’ and not ‘instead of’ fossil fuels, he decided to try social change through democracy – he ran for the Green Party provincially and federally in several elections. When he found that people didn’t want to vote for people representing policies that acknowledged limits to growth and pushed for conservation of resources and nature, he went off to Sweden and did a masters in Sustainable Business Design. His thesis was on sustainable power generation. He then taught at a college in Ontario for a year before moving to BC in...
Exploring The Concept of Conservation Planning

Exploring The Concept of Conservation Planning

This program was funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.  On today’s show, we’re exploring the concept of Conservation Planning.  What is it, what’s involved and why is it important.  . Roy L Hales photo Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Helen Hall and Liam Baron-Preston about Conservation Planning Who’s Who? We’ll hear from Helen Hall – Helen is the Executive Director of the Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI).   Helen has had a long career in nature conservation over the pond, in Britain. She has been with FOCI for five years. FOCI is a charitable society that exists to monitor, preserve and restore the health of local ecosystems and provide educational programs that foster a greater understanding of the natural environment. (FYI: the author, Max, is a member of the Board of Directors) We’ll also hear from Liam Baron-Preston.  Baron grew up on Cortes Island, exploring the wilds and now has returned from University with a pair of degrees to give depth to his passion and credence to his observations.  Helen Hall - courtesy FOCI What Is Conservation Planning? I asked Helen, what is conservation planning? She described how it is a study of land and water and life that exist in an area with the intention of determining which species or habitats might be at risk, underrepresented, or especially valuable so that they may be conserved, restored and connected with one-another.  A conservation plan would incorporate climate projections. Conservation plans guide our efforts to protect the land from threats, and support its flourishing.  And they also form a...
Enter The Humble Cortes Shellfish Farmer

Enter The Humble Cortes Shellfish Farmer

The opinions expressed in this broadcast are those of the people being interviewed and not necessarily shared by the Cortes Radio Society, its board, staff or membership. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative. Oysters by Manet via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License) Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Erik Lyon, of of Rising Tide Shellfish, and Dr Tim Green, of VIU, about Oysters The Cortes community is in various levels of emergency mode: the climate emergency has moved many people to increase their local self-reliance. Community non-profits like the Cortes Community Economic Development Association, the Friends of Cortes Island Society and Climate Hope are organizing to relocalize essential needs like food production. And then the covid-19 pandemic came along with its own challenges to the established modern food systems – bacon is under threat. Enter The Cortes Island Shellfish Farmer The folks of Cortes Island are hearing the call. Many people who previously had gardens are expanding them. People who haven’t had gardens before are starting one up. But what about the other food groups? What about the critical brain-building inflammation fighting fats, and muscle building protein? Perhaps we will be saved by the humble Cortes Island shellfish farmer. Enter: Erik Lyon, owner/operator of Rising Tide Shellfish. He says that Cortes Island is well suited to produce large volumes of high quality food with very little inputs. Oysters Are Good Food Oysters are a good food. They’re full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. So the case is easy to make that we should eat them. But...
The People Working Tills & Stocking Shelves

The People Working Tills & Stocking Shelves

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative. In this episode, we get a deep dive from Eric Hargrave, manager at the Cortes Natural Food Cooperative, and Bill Dougan, manager at the Gorge Harbour Marina Resort General Store.  These are two fellows who run grocery stores and have given a lot of thought to the modern food chain.  They present their insights with wit and charm. Together we explored the impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their lives and their businesses.  I was especially curious about the pandemics impacts on frontline workers — those working the tills and stocking shelves.   We began with understanding all the new stresses, responsibilities and risks associated with the job and how the managers are supporting the workers through this. Image courtesy Cortes Natural Food Co-op Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Bill Dougan & Eric Hargrave How Society Values Those Workers I wondered how society valued — and compensated — these workers before and how that might be changing now.  Grocery workers on Cortes generally begin around $15-$16/hr, a little above the minimum wage in Canada.  And after years of service, they may expect to climb as high as $18 or even $22/hr.   Bill wondered aloud how this compares to a construction worker, who may begin at $18 or $20/hr and climb quickly to $25 and eventually to $35-$40.  Is this a gender biased valuation of different positions in society?  What does it say about those values grocery workers are considered among the most essential front-line...
The Lessons Of A Virus

The Lessons Of A Virus

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative. In this episode we speak with  author and ecologist, Rex Weyler.  He has worked with Greenpeace since its founding in the 70s.  He represents an uncommon and refreshing perspective on the Covid-19 virus.  Strange Perspectives by Wendelin Jacober via Flickr (Public domain) Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Rex Weyler about COVID 19: The Lessons Of A Virus The Underlying Condition: Overshoot We ask and answer: Is this the worst thing happening right now?  Why is it that we’re reacting so strongly to Covid-19 and are completely unmoved by other, more mundane, daily tragedies that have a much greater impact on the life and health of humans and non-humans.Rex explains, in this one-hour radio piece, how the virus is a symptom an underlying condition: overshoot.  Overshoot is a natural phenomena, quite common throughout nature, where a species reproduces and thrives and extends its number beyond the carrying capacity of it’s ecosystem.  The population then crashes as it hits the limitations on growth.  It might be a food shortage, building materials or a virus. Overshoot includes the habits and practices of a species as well as its numbers.  Rex tells us how we’ve got a problem with both.  Ample Warning We’ve had ample warning of this fact of nature from writers in the 60s and 70s and even earlier than that.  We know that some kind of balance between humans and the rest of the planet will be restored eventually, it’s just a matter of time (and this might...