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January 07, 2011

The Decade in Perspective

The world has moved at a remarkable pace in the first decade of the new millenium.Today,in this smallspace, I look at some of the positives & negatives  I see here in late December 2010 that will help in making my New Year’s resolutions. A few categories, not necessarily in order of importance, follow. 


With the internet, digitization and satellites this has been the most advanced communications period in history.  Our children are different people with all of their access and facility with the new media.  How we learn has changed not always to the better. Newspapers, books, banking, photography, our cars, etc. have changed.  I talk regularly to my daughter in South America and my brother in Vancouver on Skype free and with the camera, face to face. There is great potential for fraud and the crash of our financial system for example was facilitated by the availability of the digital world. 


In principle, like democracy, capitalism is a powerful creation but from what we have seen very vulnerable to manipulation and abuse. With greedy people wanting to become inordinately rich by manipulating the markets they caused what some believe, was the biggest crisis of the decade. Incredible salaries, ponzi schemes, sub-prime mortgages, etc. caused great suffering and pushed countries and individuals into crisis. 

Climate Change 

Capitalism and accelerated communication and lack of political will is putting our future world at risk. The evidence is overwhelming but our politicians including some of our current governments are slow to act. 


While still a powerful force there is evidence that religion is diminishing in its acceptance especially in the young.  Some see negative influences in religion at various levels of society. A more secular morality is growing especially in the young. 


One of the positive trends is the developing interaction among people throughout the world. With prejudices diminishing as a result of intermingling, better communication, mobility & personal experience, some of the ethnic & religious and geographical restrictions of the past have changed. In China ,for example 450 million people have computers and 300 million are learning english.Globalization of many aspects of our lives has created a functioning global village even though some countries are hesitant to join. 


Our cultural life of music, dance, theatre, art, sports etc– at the grassroots level has millions having a fulfilling life by their participation. While there is perhaps too much elitism and too much spectatorship versus grassroots participation there is much satisfaction in the cultural life around us. 


In our  world  there are haves and have-nots, there are prejudices and hurts  as there always have been. The trend toward incarceration instead of rehabilitation is disconcerting. There are conflicting points of view as to what should be done. The G20 for example was seen by some as an event where troublemakers tried to disrupt world leaders doing their job.  Others see the location of the summit in downtown Toronto, with barricades,abuse of bystanders  and a billion dollar police force as an insult. 

Locavore. A new book providing grassroots direction for people who want to garden or eat local food. Harper Collier Publisher 2010.


One of the carrots leading us to a more progressive world is the move toward more home grown food. The 100 mile diet & people raising their own food is better for the biosphere & healthier for the individual. I am impressed by the way the Amish in Chisholm Township have large gardens and I feel they must have a lot of satisfaction in gardening and a lot of pleasure eating the food.  I spoke to Nanditta Colbear who writes her Northern Vegetables column in Community Voices about the trend and about an excellent new book Locavore that I picked up at the library.  The word Locavore was coined in 2005 to describe someone who subsists on food grown personally or nearby.  Nanditta and her husband Ric get a lot of satisfaction growing a variety of items, selling some and talking to people about all aspects of their lifestyle. Something to think about. 

Community Voices  

Congratulations to Community Voices for its first decade of publication. 


There has been incredible progress but deep deep concern about the future of the world in the last decade.  It will be interesting to see and be a part of the next decade. 

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