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Jealousy via comparison

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It's really easy to judge the people I am jealous of.

Whether my judgments are correct is not even interesting.

What's interesting to me is where the desire to pass judgment is coming from. I see an opportunity to peer into my shadow.

I notice my malice and grab onto the thread to take me deeper within myself. It is an opportunity for inquiry. 

What feels better when I judge?

By judging those I am jealous of, what I am doing is attempting to tear down a 'taller tree'. I am trying to poke holes, make them out to be less, so I feel more equal.

In that I am able to notice something important. I'm unconsciously comparing myself to them. I've placed us in competition.

The truth is that someone else's shine does not negate my own.

By letting go of the need to compare, no competition can be had, and my jealousy dissolves. The seed of my jealousy is comparison. When I don't compare, the seed is never planted.

I focus instead on what's Good about me, on being my best self.

I practice letting go of comparison until it becomes habit. Until I smile when I see them, able to appreciate what it is I found amazing about them in the first place.

Let them be bright.

The world needs more light.

#comparison #competition #letgo #selfwork #shadowwork #jealousy #yogapractice

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Self love speaks

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If I be myself

He will see me

 

If he doesn't

Let him go

 

If I want to be loved

for who I am

I have to be willing

to be real

More often

than I am safe.

 

More than I am politically correct

More than I am accommodating

More than I am what another wants

More often than these

I have to Be my Truth

 

Only then

Will what's mine come to me

 

To discern when he has

I have to be more concerned

with whether I like him

than I am

with wanting him to like me.

 

-self love speaks

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Vanity

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Vanity is not safe with your heart.

It will judge it's shape and contours

Oblivious of substance

Blinded by conceit.

Vanity will eat you

and spit you out

without tasting.

 

Vanity is a runner

in a race

worthlessness is received

for winning.

 

Prop yourself up on your stilts of pride

over your:

appearance

wealth

talents

accomplishments.

 

How far you have to fall

is obvious to all

Knowing not

that low goals

keep you down.

 

Only those whose roots grow in

humility

humbleness

modesty

Do not depend

on comparison

to feel tall

to feel of value at all.

#vanity #pride #competition #selfrespect #selflove

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Opening

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 I have spent years now trying to find my purpose. To start living for real, choosing my direction, instead of reacting to what happens to me.

I have spent years getting out of the backseat of my life to grab hold of the wheel.

Now that I'm here, where am I going?

I'm not interested in steering myself towards material gain or popularity. Those are low goals. Motherhood appeals, but I can't escape the feeling I have something to do first. That right now, motherhood would be an escape.

The longer I stand with my hands on the wheel the stronger the signal is that I am not to drive at all.

That I am to suspend worldly (sensory) determination in order to allow what's within to come forward. The most important thing I can do, the greatest good I can accomplish in my life, will unfold by letting the divine live through me.

Easier said than done.

There is an impulse inside me that wants to share. An impulse that is backed by the feeling that through this my greatest potential will bloom.

An impulse that is constrained by my perfectionism and fear of judgment.

I am resistant to sharing.

I am afraid of being judged for what I say.

To be sure, it is not safe to speak, and it is certain I will face judgement. I cannot change this, and so I must accept it. The work is finding the courage to do it anyway.

Let them point out the ways in which I'm ignorant, bias, vain, arrogant, egoic or privileged.

Let me have enough restraint over my ego to consider whether they are right.

Let me let them fuel my growth, my Yoga practice.

Lately, I've been faced with my resistance to promoting myself. To opening up.

Writing is an outward pour, and the writing that makes me feel alive is when the content scares me to share.

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So, to feel this aliveness I need to move past my blocks.

I need to get out the way of my flow.

To really get behind my work, to believe it in, I can't be doing it to achieve something. I can't be doing it with how it's going to be received, in mind. I can't be doing it for the fruits of my labor.

To write, I'm going to have to stop caring about the outcome. What it's going to be. What it's for. What it's purpose is. What people will think.

How do I do that?

I have to take my care, my attention, out of the future result, and invest it in what I'm doing now.

And so I practice taking my attention out of what will happen, and placing it in what is happening. Creating.

"Yoga attempts to create a state in which we are always present- really present- in every action, in every moment"

-T.K.V. Desikachar

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Driven by 'Important'

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Driven by 'Important'

My whole life I've been focused on pursuing what I believe is important.

Since I was young, games have annoyed me because of their frivolous nature. I see them as (albeit harmless) distractions.

What is the point? I ask. Why Is this important?

They're not, and so I brushed them aside. Looking for more, but not always finding something more important to do instead.

As I got older, and it came time to decide on what I would study at university, I dug deep. Connecting to my desire to understand universal laws. I didn't want to study something humans made up (economics), or look into the past. Seeing earth systems as the most "important" thing to know, I decided finally on the science of the environment.

I am driven to tackle what is important.

To my personality, anything less is a distraction.

In the climate of my mind, pursing anything less is cowering from my purpose.

I want to be of service to the highest good.

Don't get me wrong. I got all kinds of distracted along the way (sex, vanity, addiction) but I remained tethered to a greater sense of purpose.

Through studying environmental science, and my experiences working in industry, it became obvious that environmental problems stem from humans. From belief systems and values that do not align with universal laws.

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It's at this point that I began to realize I had to deal with my own problems as a means of serving the highest good of all, for if each of us did this, the whole world would be changed.

The process of self change is not unlike washing a filthy rag over and over again. Each time removing an almost imperceptible amount of dirt. Results are perceived over time, as a result of small steps, taken consistently. There is no immediate gratification.

I wish I had started this (sharing) earlier. Chronicling the work, the shifts, the ways in which I changed my own mind, my own belief systems, that lead to my healing from mental illness. I was too ashamed of sharing my process when the outcome (healing) was unsure. I was afraid to fail publicly.

I was invested in the outcome. I was afraid of judgment.

These blocks are my battleground of late, but this work is what I believe now to be the most "important" thing I can be doing.

You are witness to my commitment to trying.

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Deep Ecology

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Where I live in Mexico, it's luxurious to have a washer and dryer. Hot water is not standard, and it's difficult to keep things functioning.

A layer of dust covers everything, always, and you're not the only being who lives in your house.

Geckos and their chirps, falling from the ceiling onto my face at night. Spiders like your palm, and coordinated ants, carting away anything that's died- sometimes just before they make that happen. Termites eat the walls, and try to make nests in my wardrobe.

There are butterflies to rescue and bees that come in tired crawling on the couch to sting my butt. Flies that touch you how you don't want to be touched and buzzing dragonflies that make the dogs bark.

Once an owl flew in, perched on our beam, and found its way out the back door. We spent the next half hour googling what that "meant".

So no, my house is not my own, and why should it be? They all have the same right to be alive, to be in any place. Just because humans are able to dominate, doesn't mean we should. It also doesn't mean I want a nest in my clothes.

And so I tell them we're roommates and only bother them if they bother me. What a mistake it is to see ourselves as superior when interdependence is what's real.

I let myself squirm, and cringe, and then I deal with it and move on. Ultimately I am grateful not to be living the sterile life. Ignorant of my separation from nature and surrounded by the artificial. Removed from consumeristic pressure, I understand my needs more clearly.

I'm grateful to be living closer to the land, closer to what's real.  Even if that means days without water in the taps and more frequent illness. Occupied with simplicity, I see my place in the world more clearly. I am amongst, not above.

Living in Mexico has been humbling.

What a gift to my growth witnessing my arrogance is.

#interdependence #simplicity #breakingdowntheego #gringadiaries #mexico

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Who am I to teach Yoga?

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Who am I to teach Yoga?

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I never thought I'd teach, when I started practicing yoga.

The teachers displayed an easeful patience that I felt incapable of. I was often irritable and quick to anger.

When I started practicing yoga I looked down on the idea of being 'just' a fluffy bubble soft-skilled cooing yoga teacher. My ego was stronger then, than it is now, and it prevented me from valuing aspects of life accurately. My ego insisted I have a 'serious', 'important' career.  One that was scholarly, with capitalistic reward.

Yet as much as I looked down on the profession, I also felt I wasn't good enough, or healthy enough for it.

Yoga teachers seemed to enjoy interacting with lots of people, whereas I had difficulty showing up as my real (un-defended) self to connect. I avoided intimacy, mainly so the secret of my eating disorder wouldn't be discovered.

The truth is: when I started practicing yoga I was in crisis, where I lived for 12 years.

As such, I was too insane to arrogantly put myself in a position to guide others the way yoga teachers do. Where to, misery?

I had nothing figured out. In fact, I had learned a great many lessons incorrectly. Things I would have to recognize, unlearn, re-learn correctly, and crystallize through action, before I even so much as had my head on straight.

So no, I Most certainly did not consider I'd become a yoga teacher.

I was just barely surviving, and the state of creation the teachers demonstrated seemed foreign and impossible.

But I started from where I was with my practice, and I was open. Open to change, open to the unknown. I began from there and kept going. Beyond competitive impulses, I had no destination in mind. I had no idea where my practice would take me. I had no idea yoga would change the game entirely.

With practice, my attitude started to change, a sort of respect developed. Along with patience, clarity, and compassion. My hardened shell began to soften. Gradually I began to comprehend my life more correctly—with less distortion—and started to sense the existence of something that is higher than we are. A greater organizing power.

I would never have been able to accept this at the beginning of my practice, but the tides changed gradually. One step lead to the next, which is the only way it ever happens. Recovery from Bulimia was a natural blossoming of my yoga journey.

What started as a 2 hour time slot for exercise, grew to encompass all aspects of my life: my relationships, my behaviour, my health, and my thoughts. I still desire a career that I think is important, but what I value and believe is important has entirely changed.

"If you tell a person who cannot find their own house, that there is a pot of gold inside, they would be happier had they not had this information. What use is the gold if it cannot be found? It only causes pain. First they must find the house and enter it. Then, there are many possibilities."

Now I find myself committed to this path, not just because my ego likes to show off in pictures, but because I have tasted the freedom and clarity that come with greater understanding, and I am hungry for more.

Nowadays, my hesitations with teaching are different. Who am I to be teaching Yoga- Union with God? I am just me.

But I am reassured knowing that we are all students, we are here to help, and perfection is impossible and therefore irrelevant.

If by teaching I help one person take a step in the right direction, it is worth opening my mouth to share.

The intention with which you do things matters.

 

#playforreal #values #findyourhouse #Dharana #enterit #Dyana #mineforgold #Samadhi #prayer #breath #meditation #yoga #selfrealization #karma #patanjali #yogasutras #avidya #asmita #ego #correctcomprehension

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Beauty Envy

Be objective about other women’s beauty.

You are not in competition. Her appearance doesn’t factor in to your self-worth. What someone else is, or isn’t, is not relevant to why you love yourself.

Your self-worth is an inside job.

It’s built from within and you keep it protected through your boundaries. You’ve explored who you are and know what makes you unique. You build upon your own strengths and celebrate seeing others do the same.

You know that being your best self — the best version of your uniqueness — is what makes you beautiful. You spend your energy where it counts — in developing yourself — not slaving away in front of a mirror to look like someone different than you are.

When you catch yourself feeling envious, you don’t indulge the envy, but you also don’t criticize yourself for feeling it.

Instead, you’ve learned how to transmute it through its opposite.

When you feel envy, you dig deeper to realize what’s really there — that you’re recognizing something you like in another (their beauty, in this example). If you like something, why is it you feel bad?

You send them appreciation for the quality you’ve recognized. You transmute the envy by choosing to be happy for them, even if it feels fake at first.

You transmute your envy by re-phrasing the situation.

You re-phrase by recognizing that if you feel envious of her, surely others do too. If you feel the urge to glare at her, you understand that others already are. You recognize that being the target of envy—and fielding its ugly treatment—must be difficult. You empathize with her suffering, and that changes your perspective. You don’t pity her for being beautiful, you’re just aware that the more perfect she looks, the less people want to like her. You feel mildly guilty for your unconscious response, which helps you choose to be kind.

You have found that when you are kind towards her, you feel better about yourself.

When you show her your heart through genuine appreciation instead of glaring at her, you are both buoyed by the positivity of the interaction. You feel stronger, because you didn’t allow your envy to diminish you.

You see your own beauty objectively.

You emphasize your favourite bits in a way that expresses who you are. No one else can be the particular type of beautiful that you are. Not even her.

You know that lamenting what you don’t have only brings you down, so you choose not to give yourself that experience. You know not to use the beauty of another as the counterpoint to your own, because you know it’s nonsensical to compare things that are different.

You know that her beauty does not diminish you — only your jealousy can do that.

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Why Consent is the Wrong Question

The common dialogue in relation to sexual abuse often hinges around the question of consent. Essentially, whether both parties agreed to sexual contact or not.

Which begs the question: what exactly am I consenting to when I give consent?

 

What consent is:

Consent is agreeing to open myself to you

Consent means I want your affection, your attention, and your love

Consent is my decision to risk being vulnerable with you

Consent means I want us to be connected

Consent means I am willing to entrust my body to you

Consent means I want to please and be pleased

Consent is conditional on your treatment of me

 

What consent is not:

Consent is not a vehicle for your self-gratification through dominance and control

Consent does not permit the immobilization of my head as I perform oral sex, until the back of my throat is bruised

Consent does not permit you to choke me or hit me

Consent does not authorize sodomy without discussion

Consent does not mean you can be unconcerned with the physical or emotional pain inflicted in the process of satiating yourself

Consent is not an agreement to be a slave to your sadistic appetites- porn is not real life

 

Good sex is the art of controlled abandon, which is not accomplished by tuning me out until you’ve finished. This only shows you’re trying to keep yourself ignorant to how I feel about what you’re doing to me. The way to know if I’m okay with what’s happening is to stay connected with me. If you tune me out, you tune out the answer.

Letting someone into your home does not permit them to rob you.  Sexual consent works the same way. Instead of asking after consent, maybe the better question is: “What happened next?”

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My Experience Working in the Oil Sands

This marks the first time that I describe my observations not objectively, but opinionatedly. Ive held my tongue a long time in anticipation of the opportunity to share with a receptive audience.

 

Brief Summary

I have a B.Sc. in environmental science from Royal Roads University and worked in the Alberta conventional oil and gas industry conducting technical report writing and site investigations for the reclamation of land involved in conventional oil and gas activities (wellsites), for 2 ½ years. It was a job that essentially consisted of many hours of report writing. In March 2013, I left that position to backpack in Central America for 3 months and upon my return to Canada I accepted a field position as a Soil Specialist in an oil sands mine in northern Canada, where I worked for the next 11 months.

 

Conventional Oil vs. Oil Sands

For those who may not be aware of the difference between conventional oil and oil sands, allow me to give a crude explanation (pun intended).

Conventional oil is sucking a liquid or gas out of the ground. Typically, a 100m x 100m area of land is cleared of vegetation and the soil is pealed back (often windrowed on along the wellsite perimeter), a singular well is drilled in the center and a pump-jack is installed. These are the sites that are visible to the public as they are distributed throughout the province on both private and public land. Being so visible, the remediation (cleaning up contamination) and reclamation (restoring the soil, topography, and vegetation back to natural) requirements of conventional sites are regulated by the government.

Oil sands differ in that the oil exists as part of the earth (surrounding the particles of sand) and not in an easily extractable liquid or gas form. The oil sands are an open pit mining operation. To get the oil, the earth itself must be excavated, and hauled to a processor that heats the earth until the oil becomes less viscous (more liquid) and can be separated from the particles of sand. The sand then needs to be disposed of, along with the majority of the water/chemical emulsion used to extract the oil from the sand. Most of the water taken from the Athabasca River can never be returned. The toxic emulsified liquid is pumped into giant unlined tailings ponds. I have seen those enormous toxic tailings ponds with my own eyes. They will be there longer than their banks are structurally capable of containing them, and long after any oil company will be present to maintain them. Each step of the process is incredibly energy intensive, and we are no longer talking about a 100m x 100m area. At the mine I worked at you could drive for an hour in one direction and not reach the edge of the lease. That isnt to say the entire lease is an open pit mine, but the lease size is significant as once the lease is obtained by the oil company, entry and exit are controlled. Whatever happens within the lease area after the lease is granted is the oil companys business. Essentially, it is their domain to do as they please.  

View of a tailings pond. Note the size of the dozer and power lines in the background for perspective.

View of a tailings pond. Note the size of the dozer and power lines in the background for perspective.

 

First Taste

I was always ethically supported at the first company I worked for. A tone of integrity was reinforced from the top down. However, during this period I began to question the ethical viability of a system where industry (in this case oil companies) provides compensation to environmental consulting companies to produce unbiased reports. The onus is on the environmental professionals of these companies to uphold the scientific and ethical integrity of the work being conducted, while balancing the expectations of the client. Doing so is essentially relying on the ethics of individuals to safeguard the environment. Such a system is irresponsible. Industry is not concerned with environmental protection they are concerned with profit. To argue otherwise is to tow the line. Eventually I came to realize that even environmental regulations do not exist to protect the environment, they exist to provide benchmarks by which to standardize the exploitation of the environment. I chose to study environmental science as I revered the planet, and was dejected to realize that the majority of employment options available involved its exploitation.

 

Camp Life

Wapasu Camp: putting people into boxes

Wapasu Camp: putting people into boxes

Something strange happens when you live where you work. When every single person that you see in a day is working: the bus drivers, your co-workers, the guy serving your mashed potatoes. There is no one strolling on the sidewalk, no children, and no break from the intentionally designed social structure. When essentially the only people available to socialize with are the same people you work with. When your schedule consists of working 12-15 hour days, returning to camp to eat and make one prison phone-call or sneak in a workout (no time for both), and go to bed to repeat the cycle the following day. Life becomes mechanized to a degree that is both unnatural and intentional. Quite simply- work becomes life. When there is no personal life, emotions are naturally channeled into work. The work politics become supercharged as people invest both their professional and personal energies into their jobs, because, quite simply, theres nothing else to do.

 

Working in the Mine

How's my hair?

How's my hair?

A mine is like an isolated planet, where the global ruler is the oil company- responsible for setting the framework of greed and capitalistic values- and all the hundreds of contractor groups are the individual countries who wage war on one another in ways that reflect those values. When environmental issues arose it was the norm to invest solely in directing the blame on one another, not on finding a solution. The mine runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, period. When mistakes are made, the scene is not frozen to investigate the cause or mitigate a solutionthere is just no time for this. Nothing stops production, certainly not an environmental concern. One of my bosses recounted to me his conversation with a certain oil executive at the initial work contract negotiation, where the executive stressed only: If you slow this project down, I will personally ruin you.I felt my position existed solely to save face, to provide some semblance of environmental responsibility and reporting, as I never once saw more than a finger wag handed down when infractions or violations occurred.

 

As a Soil Monitor it was my responsibility to report on daily soil salvage and reclamation activities, police soil salvage operations and consistently negotiate with construction contractor foremen when issues inevitably arose, as our occupational priorities were always in conflict. I was not privy to conversations that took place as a result of my reports, which prevented me from understanding the greater picture. This structure of compartmentalization is not news, but it was my firstvery frustratingexposure to its intentional limitation.

One of the countless, enormous soil windrows.

One of the countless, enormous soil windrows.

 

In order to be hired and to even set foot in the mine you need to first pass a drug and alcohol urine test, which is successful mainly at targeting individuals who smoke marijuana, as this is one of the only substances to remain in your system at detectable concentrations beyond the period of discernible intoxication. This is a litmus test for your willingness to be obedient, by allowing even your consciousness and behavior while at home to be regulated by your employer. While being trained as a supervisor I was taught that the one of the first actions to take in the event of a workplace incident was to march the involved individual down to the med center to be given a drug test. I saw this as a clear indication that the priority of the oil company was to offset responsibility onto the individual.

Kilometers in workboots

Kilometers in workboots

 

I experienced a hyper-awareness of being watched. There are a plethora of rules that govern all aspects of both work and camp life that treat people like machines and not humans. There are so many that the adherence to all of them is unrealistic, lest all of an individuals awareness be expended on complying. For example, full PPE must be worn while fueling a vehicle, you cannot wear anything on your head when entering the dinner room, no cell phones at the aerodrome, no photos taken at any time, no headphones while boarding the plane, and your badge is scanned for access privilege multiple times a day. It is truly endless. The number of rules exceeds even the most compliant persons threshold of whats reasonable. This leaves you with a lingering fear that at any given moment, you must be doing something wrong. It is this fear that keeps you silent and distant from those around you.

 

Miscellaneous Observations

I remember one incident that occurred at the start of my employment where I was overseeing dozers as they salvaged soil from an area. As the dozers stripped the soil and the overlying shrubs and grasses, a growing number of small birds began shrieking and circling overhead. It was evident this last little patch of vegetation represented their nesting ground, and their unwillingness to leave gave me the distinct impression there were already babies there. I felt so haunted and helpless, and trapped by the futility of my position.


I endeavored to pay more attention to my surroundings, and to observe whatever I possibly could. I watched how the smoke stacks pumped out so much effluent that they literally created their own weather for kilometers downwind. How in the winter, the presence of a temperature inversion would cause the emissions to funnel downwards onto anyone and anything below. Working in areas underneath the plumes was an eerie and intuitively alarming experienceit was always much colder there. No one is ever informed as to the emission contents. In fact, there is this misguided rumor that it consists of water vapor.

A day in the mine—wolves, smoke stacks and haul trucks

A day in the mine—wolves, smoke stacks and haul trucks

 

In my opinion, the safety cultureis a smokescreen. It is the perception of safety that matters, not the reality. When considering the smoke stack emissions and tailings effluent, how is it acceptable for even the human beings in direct contact with these chemicals to not be made aware of the chemical content or the risks involved? MSDS sheets are compulsory for any and all cleaning solutions but not for the most toxic effluents produced by the mine. The bears emerging from hibernation in the spring are becoming increasingly problematic, as they are consistently drawn by food rewards and becoming less fearful of human interaction. I personally had 3 on-the-ground bear encounters in the span of 2 days. The paperwork, trainings, and procedures involved in safety compliance are constantly changing, and compliance is analyzed subjectively. It seems deliberately complicated and unmanageable- a ploy to keep contractors chasing their tails at opportune moments, as it is an easy way for the oil company to increase the workload or threaten contractors with non-compliance (punishment).

 

There is one mine that has obtained a reclamation certificate from the government for one of its tailings ponds. In preparation for a scheduled visit by an government inspector, my friend (among others) was charged with spray painting straw green, and placing it over top of tailings effluent which had bubbled up to the surface in multiple reclaimed areas, so as not to draw the attention of the inspector when viewed from afar. He took video footage of their activities that day.

 

Voluntary Slavery

For almost all trades, the oil sands represents the highest wages paid in Canada. This is both enticing and dangerous, as many individuals—being the products of a consumer driven society—rush out to load themselves with debt upon the receipt of their first large paychecks. Not realizing that by mortgaging themselves to the capacity that their current income allows, they prevent themselves from ever being able to leave, as nowhere else can those wages be obtained. The honeymoon phase wears off as the true nature of the work environment is realized, and in response to feeling trapped, I witnessed many creative rationalizations as to how people justified staying. Apathy is born of helplessness under the thumb of greed and power, and is the primary means by which people stay psychologically afloat. Even so, there is an abundance of people who show almost physical strain from having, at one moment or another, crossed their own ethical boundaries. They may be able to tell themselves and others a creative story of rationalization, but ultimately theres no fooling your own conscience. Not surprisingly, there is a prevalence of depressive and antisocial personalities, salted with the occasional outright psychopath.

Many of these men (and women), spend 3 weeks per month away from all family and friends in an inhuman, mechanized environment, and only 1 exhausted week in real life. All because weve been told money is happiness. It is no surprise then, that over time, mine conditions become a ‘new normal, and the outside world becomes less relatable in comparison. If you spend 3/4 of your time on the moon, it will start to feel like home. Many cannot afford to slow their pace, even on days off, as it makes ramping back up to speed that much more challenging once on site again. 

Ethical stress

Ethical stress

 

My Exit

I was put in charge of the vegetation management program, which essentially comprised the control of weeds categorized as “noxious” and “prohibited noxious” according to the Alberta Weed Control Act (2010). Two weeks before the program was to kickoff, I was informed that the most prolific weed on site, perennial sow thistle (categorized as “noxious”), was to be omitted from the program. The reasoning given was that none of the competing mines were controlling perennial sow thistle, and the Weed Control Act is not actively enforced by the government. I addressed my concern with my supervisor, his supervisor, and the general manager of my company, and received the same response each time: ultimately we have to do what the client requests. As I would be responsible for all report writing, I felt that by continuing my employment I would knowingly be breaking the law. This represented the ethical boundary that I was not willing to cross.

Ultimately, I didnt want to let my energy and intention be consumed by a career that is based on self-interest and competition, as these characteristics only propagate the problems with our society.

See ya never!

See ya never!

 

But We Need Oil, and We Like Money

Both our hydrocarbon dependence and the economy are systems that we humans made up, while taking our absolute dependence on a healthy environment for granted. We get stuck prioritizing our beliefs in terms of our human lifetime (understandably), but the fact is, we are destroying at an alarming rate what it took the planet centuries to create.

There are many in my region of the world who vehemently defend the oil and gas industry because they work industry related jobs. Fair enough, they are in receipt of the privilege of making more money than many other industries. Yet in my understanding, privilege is at the core of all forms of oppression, and it is not until those with privilege willingly decide to relinquish it for moral reasons that we will evolve as a species. If we are unwilling to make any ecologically-minded changes ourselves, as Canadians, how dare we ask others to? Climate change is a global problem that can only be solved by each person, nation and industry taking responsibility.

What these defenders refuse to acknowledge is the oil industry itself has a short shelf-life. Did we learn nothing as a result of the industry collapse in Eastern Canada? The oil sands will not provide jobs indefinitely. Once exploited or un-economical, the industry will pull-out, leaving the same people unemployed who are pushing for development now. When the oil companies have long since pulled out, the toxicity and environmental destruction will remain. Is it intelligent to spend billions to create infrastructure for a temporary industry that runs the risk of being dismantled for political (climate change) reasons anyway? Seeking short-term economic profit at the expense of long-term ecosystem viability is embarrassingly short sighted. Greed is a powerful driver that is made to seem righteous within a capitalist society, but isnt it true that we all know better?

The world is shifting towards green energy. The world (200 countries) reached an agreement at the COP21 in Paris this Saturday to phase out fossil fuels. Insisting on sucking every last drop of crude out before we Canadians join the shift is like insisting on having those last few shots at the bar when youre wasted at the end of the night even though you know its only going to make tomorrows hangover worse. Shall we choose to focus our ingenuity in the direction we know is inevitable, or do we really need those last shots?

Let the question be where do we want to grow to? and not what are we afraid to let go of?

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