Thank You Chief Atleo

At the book launch a few nights ago I was honoured to be acquainted with Regional Chief Shawn Atleo (Assembly of First Nations).  There was one conversation we had about the tar sands project in Alberta, during which Shawn asked if he could hold me accountable for single-handedly taking down the tar sands.  He hardly allowed me to make any excuses and asked, “Do we have an accord?”  Smiling, we shook hands in a generally amusing and not-so serious agreement.  My first comment was “if only it was this easy in the conference.”  After some time and a few more conversations, I began to reflect on that conversation and what it meant to me.  While I may not be able to single-handedly take down the tar sands, there are things that I and we can do, things that I will pursue.

There is still some reflecting to be done, but I have met enough people to know that the issues are real, urgent, and a matter of survival.  Enough of our world is at the tipping point.  From a systems point of view, the economics, environment, and social justice in many respects of the world are in various stages of conservation and in some cases, release.  It’s time to completely shift our ways of doing things, to renew the cycle in a more mutually beneficial and respectful manner.  The next few years is the only time to do this.  We don’t have a choice.

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