A casual premise of this blog has been to take a look, every now and then, at current conditions and to ask ourselves whether any progress has been made in the last quarter century or so. Earth Day 2013 is upon us and so in keeping with the cycling of Days and seasons I‛m recycling a bit of doggerel entitled The Good Ship. Because the ship in the story sinks it is not being recyclyed as much as refloated – temporarily.
I wrote the ditty in honour of Earth Day, 1988, and then posted it here about a year and half ago at the time of the unrewarding UN Durban Conference on Climate Change. It is somewhat odd to say “in honour” of Earth Day. A more accurate dedication would have been “a lament for Earth Day”. And our boreal forest is still being destroyed, lakes polluted, rivers poisoned, while political wars are simmering over whether or not Corporate Creatures will be allowed to continue ravaging nature on behalf of Profit while their minions fly the false flags of “The Economy” and “Jobs”.
But hey, read this again and see if you notice what I see. By now a theme running through this 1988 offering has quite changed – evaporated – gone into limbo.
The Good Ship
She was booming along with her sails full spread,
Her cargo snug and her crew well fed
When a seam up forward opened wide
And was sucking water on the starboard side.
The First Mate answered the Captain’s call
And offered a guess at the cause of it all.
“A keg of acid has sprung a leak
And eaten a hole through the forward peak.”
“Perhaps,” said the Captain, “but let’s be sure.
Go study the cause before the cure.
She might have ripped on a jagged reef
Or rammed a shark with saw edged teeth.”
“Could be,” said the Mate with a little frown,
“But I’d say by her tilt she’s going down.”
The Captain growled, ignoring tact,
“No guessing here! Go gather fact!”
Along came the carpenter, bless his soul,
Said, “Use the mains’l to plug the hole.
We lower it smoothly over the rail.
Sucked in like a cork it cannot fail.”
“That sail,” said the Captain, “makes her go.
Without it we’re drifting to and fro –
The owner goes bust — we lose our pay –
We’re all on pogey by the end of day.”
As news from the bow got worser and worser
A report from the stern came in from the purser.
“I’m happy to say we ride higher and higher,
The air is much clearer the nearer the sky we are.
I really don’t see why all the suspense –
My ledgers are dry and the view is immense.”
“You see?’ said the Captain to quavering Mate,
“The more we learn the safer our fate.
A loss at the bow but a rise at the rear
All averages out, we’ve nothing to fear.
We’ve heard from a man who floats loans and debentures,
And mortgages, bonds and similar ventures.
The least we can do is have faith in his skill.
Your mariner’s instincts are worth less than nil.”
An hour or so later the ship was at rest,
Her keel on the bottom her flag at the crest,
And up where the mast is so skinny it wiggles
The Captain was sending out semaphore signals:
“She’s steady and level, I’m certain at last
She’s no longer leaking, the danger is past.
She’s firm as a rock, remarkably stable,
I’ll bring her on in as soon as I’m able
Because, I assure you, I’m ready to act –
I’ve studied the case and a fact is a fact.” ♠
Now, 25 years later, did you spot the Captain‛s obsolescent lines? “No guessing here! Go gather fact! … The more we learn the safer our fate… I’ve studied the case and a fact is a fact” — those words in the Captain’s mouth were b.s. then and it‛s almost a relief not to hear them any more. However, from the abolition of the Long Form Census to the muzzling of federal scientists to the closing down of the Experimental Lakes research facility to the PM‛s recent statement disparaging “root causes” it is obvious that the The Good Ship Canada, a massive part of the Earthly fleet, is being captained by a skipper no longer interested in even pretending to respect fact.
Yes, times do change.
♠The Good Ship
From: Down Paradox Lane
Lindsay This Week, April 25,1988
[Copyright © Munroe Scott]