Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Modern Education

Hi everyone again,

Nice to hear your thoughts on Han han. My personal feeling is that there are many things that are overdue in our society, example 1) the resistance that is now showing up with the Occupy Wall Street movement to the rampant financial and environmental exploitation by corporations and example 2) an educated and internet savvy youth in China that can call out the leaders on hypocrisies that otherwise go unchallenged. Here's the initial article I read that I found very interesting on the limits of the internet in bringing social change (

On Saturday I went to the Occupy Fredericton protest, a small group of about 100 gathered and marched and afterwards a core group of about 20 stayed around to hold a longer protest in the vein of what is happening in New York. There is not leader and no mandate and so we congegrated and talked about what we think we should try to accomplish and how. The decision process is deliberately not majority rule where 49% of the vote can get steamrolled but rather by consensus through general assembly. People would propose things and people could vote "assent" or "block." Consensus minus 10% was necessary to move forward with the motion and if there was more than 10% "blocking" then concerns would be heard and a discussion held and then subsequent modifications made to the proposal and a vote again. It was infuriating slow, the pace at which we made decisions (10 minutes to decide when the next meeting should be), I dread what the decision making process may look like when it comes to "issues." But maybe this is what a real and involved democracy looks like. As a population, we make few decisions about the policies that guide our lives and we frankly don't have the time or patience and getting involved is a laborious process. Corporations on the other hand have budgets the size of a small country's GNP to lobby and sway public opinion. Maybe we all need to be held more responsible for our own lives rather than delegating decisions to politicians and then blaming them for poor outcomes. We'll see where this leads, there is certainly a momentum in the air.

I think my growing interest in politics is indicative of the one part of me that is ready to put down roots and make my surroundings healthy, communal, sustainable. I can see myself starting a farm or at least starting to build something. Yet, another part of me still wants to explore more. The end of farming season always brings me uncertainty as I start to plot out the coming year. I have talked to the professor in charge of Ecological Agriculture at Mcgill and would be able to enter their one year program for Eco Agriculture. The main objective of this would be to gain a formal understanding of farming and engage in academia again should I pursue graduate studies. I feel I am ready to excel at school. Other things I am considering are coming back to Asia to learn about agriculture in a different climate and social setting and also spend time with family. Kadoorie has a Environmental Interpreter course that I would love to take that could bridge a gap for me for Cantonese and environmental/agricultural interpretation and there are farms I know of to work at. Also, I would consider just working in Montreal for the winter again to make some money so that I could travel again with an agricultural focus or also to look for a camp or educational farm where I initiate a project to provide the farming part of an wilderness education summer camp, teaching kids farming while providing food for the camp. I feel I have the farming knowledge and competency and confidence to start doing this.

With most of my decisions today, I feel that it doesn't matter what I decide, that I will find a way to be happy and fulfilled, to learn and grow as a person. There are always considerations (family in Hong Kong, family in Montreal, Noa, Christine, close friends, beautiful landscape, cultural stimulation, hockey, greenhouse gases) but I don't know how to weigh one against the other. It's good to write this all down, crystallize the ideas in my head and communicate them to my family. Again, I ask for some opinions.

Love you all dearly,

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