After the Salmon Spill

I hope our county commissioners have the courage to simply say “Request Denied” at the September hearing about allowing net pens in the waters off Ediz Hook. Maybe even say “No Way” and cancel the whole deal, after this week’s disastrous accidental release of more than 300,000 Atlantic salmon near the San Juan Islands.

There’s something to be said about not wasting everyone’s time.

Why is Washington the only west coast state that allows net pens in its waters? California, Oregon and Alaska already said NO.

Apparently some political shenanigans, maneuvering and arm-twisting years ago allowed these disease-spreading aquatic feedlots off our shores. But that was then.

Some advocated for net pens because of the half-dozen or so jobs they’d provide. No point in discussing how many such jobs are being turned over to robots.

There’s no place for the bungling, ill-trained and/or incompetent in any positions where they can damage an ecosystem.

There’s no room for error where most salmon runs are at historic lows and our iconic orcas, which depend on salmon, are struggling and dying.

You can’t take back a spill – whether it’s alien penned salmon, oil from a tanker, or oil, gas or bitumen from a pipeline.

There’s no room for error as we’re still struggling to undo mistakes from the past –removing culverts, restoring the flows, meanders and snags of our rivers and streams.

To err is human, but to forgive — not to mention lessen — the damage, may well require divine intervention.


When Men Don Dresses

I’ve long been amused that, when things get serious, men put on dresses. Just think about judges in the courtroom, academics at graduation, monks, most clergy – and of course
the Pope and his colorful retinue. It’s as if men need to dress like women, put on the robes of the Goddess, to feel Her sacred power, to move and act with real authority. Assuming the loving, generous and generative aspects of the feminine requires dressing for the part.

In traditions Continue reading When Men Don Dresses

MythLines 3: This world, the Otherworld, and the anima mundi

Let’s step away from this everyday world for another perspective,

The Art of Enchantment

Continuing on with republishing my series of ‘MythLines’ columns from EarthLines Magazine … here is my offering (slightly expanded for this blog) from Issue 16, in November 2016.

(Featured image by Martin Stranka)

I’ve spent a lot of years studying the psychology of myth. My personal perspectives can be reduced to this, in a slightly oversimplified nutshell: Sigmund Freud’s theories on anything – inevitably, interminably, explaining everything in sexual terms – rarely interest me much at all; Carl Jung is marvelous (an inexhaustible, treasure-filled, deep well) but often a little too human-centred for my tastes; archetypal psychologist James Hillman takes psychology and mythology out of our heads and back into the world again, and so is always to be revered.

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What can we bank on?

Not long ago, banks and banking were yawn-inducing synonyms for grey flannel boring. Then came the orgy of reckless greed that precipitated the global financial meltdown. Now banking is back in the news in surprising ways: Continue reading What can we bank on?

What I’ve Learned about Single Payer Heath Care

We’re probably going to be hearing a lot about Single Payer Health Care, since ours is one of the world’s most expensive system — providing results that rank up there with Slovenia.

I’ll never forget describing our so-called system with a Canadian. “But America likes to think of itself as a caring country. How can it treat its citizens so cruelly?” I’m still stumped for an answer to her question.

But instead of revisiting that terrain, let me share some of my experiences the year I lived in Australia.

One morning while I was staying at my brother’s house, he woke up in pain. When his aching back didn’t respond to his usual routine of stretches, he needed to choose: Did he want to go to the doctor? The hospital? Or see a chiropractor?

He decided on the chiropractor, called his office and made an appointment for later that day and I went along for the ride. He felt better after his treatment, wrote the doctor a check, and got a receipt. On the way back home, he stopped at a small office in a little strip mall, presented his receipt and was instantly reimbursed.

I was in shock.

How simple! He decided on the treatment that felt right to him, chose his provider, made the appointment and kept it, all in a morning’s time. No getting an okay from anyone else – no primary care provider. No insurance company. No paperwork hassle. No rigmarole..

“Do you always get reimbursed that fast?” I asked.

“Sure, if I stop by the office. Or I could wait until the end of the month and send in my receipts.”

All his medical care is covered by the income tax he pays.

“Does national health care pay for everything?” I asked my English friend Ronnie. Like my brother, she had also immigrated to Australia, lived in Denmark, both countries with national healthcare.

“Yes, Most everything is covered, but there are limits. They’ll pay for my glasses, if I’m happy choosing one of the dozen or so frames they offer, but if I wanted fancier frames, I’d have to pay for those.” She smiled and tilted her head for me to admire her glasses.

“Wow, eye care and glasses are covered?”

“But not dentists. Don’t know exactly why, since it seems to me that both your eyes and your teeth  tend to wear out as you age.”

When Ronnie and I went on a trip to the outback together, I had a chance to experience their healthcare system firsthand when I was suddenly hit with a nausea-inducing migraine and couldn’t stop vomiting—a real impediment to a motor trip. I was quickly taken to the emergency room in a small local hospital and instantly swept into a treatment room. After an injection ond an ice pack for my pounding head, I was good to go. I asked about paying.

“Oh, you’re not covered by national health?” said the startled nurse.  “Well, that happens so seldom that I’m not sure what to charge.” I asked if they could send me a bill to where I was staying once they figured it out – and I was on my way.

More than a month later, I received the hospital’s bill along with an apology. They were so sorry, but since I wasn’t covered by national health, they had to charge me the full rate. My Emergency Room visit, treatment and all, cost $50.

No need for national teeth-gnashing or partisan stand-offs about health care. A single payer system works beautifully. Maybe we could adopt one like all the members of Congress enjoyed?