Wednesday, December 20, 2006

re -repiphanies

regarding the dual repiphanies.... interestingly, blogger posted the prior post that was refused, when i tried the next one.

so.... ditto, i guess....


i tried this once before, but blogger wouldn't let me post. perhaps just as well... it was a nasty rant. i'm calmer now.

we've just had a biodiesel conference here in our northern prairie town, initiated by a very dear friend, who's the local agriculture extension person. we had brilliant people from all over north america in our midst. i was one of the lucky ones who got to chauffer them around, so i was blessed with many one-on-one conversations with amazing people with whom i'd not normally ever have that chance. it reminded me why i am where i am, what's important to me, and where i want my life to go.

i didn't choose to work for an oil company. it's the only job i was offered when i finished my business course. what i really wanted was something in the administration end of the arts. and i've applied and applied since i started here nearly 3 years ago, but nobody seems to want me. so here i stay. because i have to eat.

but my conscience bothers me. i don't like oil companies. i feel like i'm trying to serve 2 masters. it's a sort of cycle i go through. send out resumes madly, go to job interviews, be disappointed, resign myself to where i'm at... get frustrated, send out resumes..... ad infinitum. part of the problem is that the first assumption of most employers is that oil companies pay far more than they can, so they don't even call me for the interview. and, though the pay is decent, i'm a pretty small cog, so it's not as much as many people seem to think.

it's a trap... that i've built for myself. i love my little renovated church home. i've pretty much built it myself from an empty shell. but i hate the cost of heating it (both financial and environmental) and of commuting from it to my job in another town. and i feel isolated. surrounded by rednecks whose idea of humor is a sexist or racist slur, and people with more money than good sense or compassion.

i have very little in common with my co-workers. they take holidays in the tropics and spend summer weekends pulling shining new 5th wheel trailers behind equally shiny new monster trucks and SUV's. there's often a speedboat or a quad in tow. they buy all the latest gadgets and toys and think global warming is a joke. they'd be very pleased to see our winters less harsh and long. they give no thought to the millions of other travellers on spaceship Earth who'll be broiled alive, starved or drowned when that happens. so we all continue driving our carbon producing toys and complaining about the cost of fuel. but we pay it. because we can. and to hell with the consequences. somehow, they just won't affect us.

the people i spent time with at the aforementioned conference are of another type. i was ashamed at their dismay in the lifestyle i, and my neighbors live, consuming hydrocarbons and imported goods insatiably, with no recognition of the real, global cost.

almost nothing we use is produced here. everything - food, clothing, building materials, even the petroleum products that are the source of our wealth - are tansported across the continent to us. though the oil comes from here, it's transported by pipeline to eastern Canada and the US for refining. in summer, much of our fresh produce comes from California and Mexico. many farm families (and we're a farming community, pretty much... despite the fact that most farmers have to work in the oilpatch to keep up with their lifestyles) don't even grow a garden. they eat their own beef, but buy the rest of their food in a supermarket.

and it's cold here, so it takes a lot of whatever you're using to keep your house warm. and the houses are all so !#&* BIG!!! wouldn't want to actually have to spend any time in the same room with our kids or spouse, now, would we?

and, let's face it, i'm menopausal, and grumpy, so maybe i'm overreacting. i feel like i'm on a treadmill that sits in a quicksand quagmire. no matter how hard i work, i'm going down. alone.

way past the end of lunch break. must make obeisance to mammon.

merry christmas

Monday, December 11, 2006


a little over a week ago, the small northern alberta town where i live hosted a conference on biofuel production. coincidentally, i had just read George Mionbot's HEAT - how to stop the planet from burning

i had the very good fortune to be the chauffer of 3 of our visiting dignitaries, Lyle Estill from Piedmont Biofuels in North Carolina, and Dr. Goran Jovanovic and his wife, Maya, from Oregon. this meant i had them all to myself during the hour and a half journey to and from the nearest large-ish airport, and shared some meals with them during their time here. Lyle produces biofuel from waste fat for a few hundred customers in his area, and Dr. Jovanovic is a chemical engineer who has devised new ways of producing biofuel without the big 'reactors' currently used. both brilliant in their respective fields.

here in Waynorth, energy conservation is the last thing on the minds of most of those who attended the conference. we're in the heart of oil and gas country. most locals laugh at global warming, and scoff at suggestions that they don't have unlimited petroleum resources. there are a few exceptions, but it seems that even those interested in biofuel are so inclined because they think they can make a fortune on it, or they're farmers who want to add to their marketable options. there's just way too much money around here. we're disgustingly decadent with our natural resources, and no thought is given to the consequences of our plundering on other parts of this small, fragile planet we share. we're very calous to the reality that people in other parts of this little world are already suffering those consequences - that things are going to get much worse. we're fiddling while Rome burns around us.

having the chance to spend time with these folks has been a very good reminder to me why i chose the small town where i live, why i renovated an old building instead of starting from scratch, why i bought a lot big enough to produce food on it. working for an oil company i'm forever surrounded by the small minded self-interest of the wealthy who tell the poor, who haven't enough bread to "eat cake". i didn't chose the job. it was the only one offered to me when i finished my business training. i've since applied at any number of others, with no success. i'm an unwilling participant.

but i AM a participant. and i don't like myself for it. financial responsibilities require the regular paycheck, but integrity demands some brutal honesty. it's time to look very hard at my life, set my goals , make some changes, and get moving in the right direction.