When I was a kid summer meant road trips wandering the backroads and shores of Nova Scotia. Stopping along any pretty stretch to explore, talk to people, and generally take in the place.
Sometime in the coming months I hope to get on the road with Amanda and Dorothy and start our own dirtroad diary, visit rural friends and family, and return to the roots of Nova Scotia's real wealth.
My ultimate lifetime dream is to spend a summer walking around Nova Scotia.
I think in our rabid rush for modernity of the type that can be so easily found in any generic global city or urban centre we've kind of lost sight of what makes Nova Scotia so special from the perspective of the world.
It's easy for me to be maudlin about what is being lost in Nova Scotia. But I'm working on another way.
This week Halifax Magazine ran a great article about how a rural region in Austria approaches its forestry.
And The Star had an interesting insight on how actor Ethan Hawk viewed the story of the Right Whales that are the barometer of our foreshores. I read and posted them both.
Then today I saw a survey reported in the Halifax Examiner of the changing political views of Atlantic Canadians, the majority of whom are very concerned about the climate, strongly support a different approach to environmental regulation, and believe deeply that we could do better by following Indigenous traditional views of the land.
This is new. Things are changing. When this picture was taken we still threw garbage from the car window, believed the ocean would take pollution away, and generally thought the mess we made was just part of life rather than a problem to be solved. We may not be there yet. And there's no quick and easy fix. But, like the 12 step people say, recognizing there is a problem is the first and most important change. We're there. On the environment. On violence. On poverty. On disease. On war. We now live in a world where these things are no longer 'facts of life', they are problems to be solved. And that's a long way to come in 50 years.
But change is coming slow. And we're bombarded by dark and fearmongering media from all sides that really know how to push our buttons. Most of us, grown up in a broken educational system, do not have the tools, the critical method, to work out who to believe and to what degree, and how to think about the changing and challenging times we live in filled with complexity and uncertainty that our brains just don't like to engage with unless they are forced.
We're lucky. Educational opportunities are all around us and it's never too late to figure out all this stuff. Just like in the original Dark Ages the answers can be found in books. There are people out there who know and have the answers. You won't see them on TV or in the moves. The cable news channels and news media don't report them because Education doesn't fit the form of these mediums. But it's all there. And it's cheap and easy to find.
Currently I'm reading Factfulness:Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling.
It's a set of tools, data, facts, and mental models to help modern people think about the world around them. It's a story about the secret silent miracle of human progress and the stress-reducing habit of carrying only opinions for which you personally have strong supporting facts.
So what do we do?
We keep doing what we're doing. We imagine more and better. We keep educating and improving ourselves. We resist the fearmongering. Learn to see through the old arguments and ways of thinking. We look for the facts. We respect numbers and push back against our brain's tendency to avoid math, uncertainty and complexity. We resist the 'jobs jobs jobs' oversimplification and narrow views of politics.
And we talk. To everyone. About our hopes for the future.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.