Ecology

Seismic Lines

Seismic Lines

Inuvik is always on the verge of booming, even if the big boom that promises to change everything hasn’t shown up.

The sun is shining at the Tsiigetchic ferry crossing, though it is midnight. It’s a week after the summer solstice, just north of the Arctic Circle, and Amar Al-Awad stands by his red pickup taxi puffing on a cigarette. The river glows pink, and the ferry puttering from shore to shore is the only other sign of life, so we follow it with our eyes. Otherwise, our two vehicles are the only ones in sight. I ask Amar if he’s adjusted well to the north. “It’s not easy. But it’s not bad,” he says. “I like the north, but it’s just too far.”

What Happened to Canada?

What Happened to Canada?

The left has long admired Canada as an enclave of social democracy in North America: for its openly socialist electoral parties, its robust welfare state, and its more moderate policy profile. Recent developments, however, have thrown that reputation into question. The country is helmed by a prime minister, Stephen Harper, known for his brazenly right-wing views and executive unilateralism. Both federal and provincial governments have embraced austerity and eroded public services. And Canada’s newly aggressive exploitation of its natural resources has it trampling on civil liberties and reneging on its international obligations like, as Foreign Policy put it, a “rogue, reckless petrostate.”

Crude Investments

Crude Investments

We might consider whether beyond coal and natural gas there lies a third choice.

And all of us know perfectly well that our fossil-fueled civilization isn’t built to last; we also know that we need to effect a deliberate and graceful transition to another energy regime or suffer a chaotic and violent interregnum. The ignorant as well as the informed know this. You could write a Walt Whitman-style poem about this obvious thing that everybody knows.