Archive for September 2012

Our Arctic Legacy

The following is a copy of a letter that I received today (September 20, 2012). It speaks for itself.

My question is: What kind of legacy are we leaving for the world to cope with? What makes it OK for this present generation to continue to contribute to climate change?

Dear  Allan,

A very sad record has been broken today. The extent of the Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest point in recorded history. This is terrible news for our planet in many ways – first because the Arctic is the canary in the coal mine, warning us that climate change is happening faster than predicted. Second, because the melting ice is itself accelerating climate change – less ice means the ocean warms faster than ever.

>> The Arctic needs to be protected. Sign now.

polar bear

This is terrible news. Yet, oil companies, Shell first among them, are seeing this not as a call to stop climate change, but as a business opportunity. As the ice melts, they see a possibility to start drilling for oil in places that are opening up. Shell tried- and thankfully failed – to drill in Alaska this year. But they will be back next year, and as the fossil fuels they drill for are burnt, climate change is accelerated…

We will not stand for this. This summer, Greenpeace took action against both Shell and Gazprom, in Alaska, in the Russian Arctic, and also around the world. But we can’t do it without you. The movement to save the Arctic is very active – and will not let oil companies intent on destroying the home of the polar bear off the hook. Join us.

Thank you,


PS: Another sad record: 687 kilometers. That’s the longest a mother polar bear had to swim last year to reach the sea ice and hunt. Her cub did not survive the trip.


Posted September 20, 2012 by allanbaker in Environment

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Remembering the “Occupy Movement”

This morning, September 17, 2012,  the corporate media contain stories of the “Occupy Movement” of 2011. There are also analyses of whether or not anything has changed in our democratic society because of Occupy Wall Street; Occupy Toronto, etc..

John Macfarlane, editor of The Walrus magazine, has devoted his “Editor’s Note” in the October 2012 edition to the topic of income inequality. In his concluding paragraph he writes:

“It’s not as if we lack the tools to reduce income inequality, which are generally thought to include the creation of a culture of restraint, a commitment to effective regulation, and income redistribution.”

So, if we have the tools, why not use them? Do we wish to continue along the road we are presently travelling, with divergent lanes for the rich and the rest of us? Macfarlane says that:

“While it’s the subject of some debate, growing evidence suggests that extreme inequality adversely affects outcomes across a range of issues, including mental health, obesity, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy, life expectancy, literacy, numeracy, and, not surprisingly, social mobility.”

Read the whole editorial at

Unity in diversity

The film, “Change Your Name Ousama” challenges the viewer, and Canadians in particular, to question their perception of Muslims in Canada.

Is there a new ethos in this country?

Is it true that 20 years ago we would have said, “THEY are different from us.”?

Is it true that now we say, “WE are different from each other.”?

Is Canada undergoing an experiment in the integration, NOT assimilation, of immigrants from around God’s world?

The words that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth are applicable to our society as a whole:

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church:

every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t,

the parts we see and the parts we don’t.

If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing.

If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

(1 Corinthians 12 – The Message)

Posted September 16, 2012 by allanbaker in Canadian society

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Possibilities !

Sunset or sunrise ?

“Whether the future presents itself as still more beauty or as still more pain depends upon our choices as we respond to our role as co-creators in an ever unfolding creation.”    Matthew Fox

Posted September 14, 2012 by allanbaker in Christian Faith, Uncategorized

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Change Your Name Ousama !

Change Your Name Ousama !

Last night Shari & I attended a screening of a new film called; “Change Your Name Ousama”. This  was a Toronto premiere of the film about Muslims in Canada, and the after-effects of September 11, 2001. One of the topics that it deals with is racism in Canada: anti-Muslim sentiments parallel anti-Semetic attitudes.

There is also an exploration of the challenges that we all face in our perspectives of “the other”, who we may  not know. Film Maker Faud Chowdhury and CBC Security Correspondent Bill Gilespie show how Muslims in Canada became unintended victims of “9/11”

The film also provides an introduction to the diversity among people of the Muslim faith; cultural, national, ethnic, geographic, etc. For those who value an “either / or” approach to life, the complexities illustrated in this film will be frustrating.

This wonderful, educational screening, with a discussion period afterwards, was provided by Matthew Kellway, M.P. (NDP) for the riding of Beaches- East York in Toronto. I would recommend it, if you have the opportunity to see it, other than at the Montreal Film Festival or the Delhi International Film Festival.

Change Your Name Ousama


Posted September 12, 2012 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

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