Acres of Snow


Voltaire on numerous occasions dismissed Canada as ‘a few acres of snow.‘ While he was a great thinker and writer, Voltaire was trapped, as many thinkers are, by the past and the present. He could not envision a future that extended beyond a simple projection of current trends. He was oblivious to the potential of the thing.

This is something we must struggle with daily — the short-sightedness of political and business leaders who see the future as just like the present but with better gadgets. Don’t even get me started on those so lacking in a sense of how the world works as to yearn to return to the past. The past is gone. Here I disagree with the american writer, Faulkner, who said it is not gone; it is not even the past. But I digress.

Let me instead quote the inimitable Mr. T, with respect to those who think change will not come. “I pity the fool!”

The world not only will change, it must change. We cannot cling to the old ways of doing things. Social relations based on misogyny, racism and the ever-increasing inequality of the economic world will not stand.

The question that remains is how change will occur. Will it be managed in a thoughtful, rational, democratic and scientific manner or will it come tumbling down on us as the environment (climate change, mass extinctions, desertification) crashes around our ears and the oppress rise up (again) to bring us tumbrels and pitchforks?

A few acres of snow can also be thought of as a blank canvas on which to paint a more prosperous and sustainable future for all the people in the world. Prosperity here is not more endlessly disposable material things but the prosperity of needs met and possibilities fulfilled.

We can change the world — each and every one of us. A little at a time. It can be done a lot of ways. Speaking up is a start. Voting is another step. Giving to causes of our time and our money; now you’re talking. Campaigning and protesting. Telling our family and friends and neighbours that we won’t put up with violence or human trafficking or racism or poverty or inequality. Organizing, leading, following, getting on board, never saying it’s not my job.

That’s how change happens.

And that’s ten minutes


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