Water

I don’t even know where to begin with this…

I’m not certain how wide the coverage globally is of the flooding here in Calgary, and Southern Alberta, although I just saw it on Sports Center so I assume you guys have heard. Still, its hitting home and authorities are warning it is not over yet, with more rain to come. Three people are confirmed dead in the High River community, with another still missing. Entire homes have been washed away in Canmore. Calgary has evacuated 25 neighbourhoods, displacing approximately 75,000 people. My former neighbourhood, Mission, (which I wanted to move back to) is underwater. The zoo animals are headed to the jail cells if the Bow River continues to rise. 17th Avenue, and Kensington, my favourite shopping spots are also flooded. Two weeks to Stampede opening day, the Saddeldome is full of water up to the luxury boxes, and the grounds are an ocean. It’s certainly the top story nationally, if you are reading from outside of Canada, check out links for the stories at NATIONAL POST, CTV, and CBC.

Calgary Police Car in flood

All the reports compare this to the flood of 2005, which I also experienced first hand, although in Rosebud, not Calgary. You can see that flood for yourself as well, in the CBC documentary that follows my mother and our family, Burning Water. This is the second time I have experienced a flash flood, and there is nothing like it; and this is NOTHING like the first time. The photos hardly do it justice, the murky water only shows the spread, not the depth. If you aren’t familiar with the landmarks you might not know quite how extensive it is. You might not realize how much has been effected. If you have been watching any news coverage you may have seen helicopter footage, its unbelievable, to view it click HERE.

This video gives a pretty good idea of how severe it really is. The flooding is widespread; shallow in some places but extremely deep and fast moving in others, and full of debris. Calgary at this point, is not nearly as hard-hit as Canmore and High River, where 3 are confirmed to be dead. Hundred’s of soldiers have been deployed as Southern Alberta is in a state of emergency. As much as I go on about my displeasure at living in Calgary, I do love the people here, at a time like this its really clear how strong of a community we have. Watching all these videos, seeing my running trail and an entire community under water is heartbreaking. Its fortunate that in Calgary we have no deaths and minimal injuries.

The overwhelming sentiment seems to be one of complete disbelief; no one imagined anything like this could happen here. My mom and I felt the same in 2005, when our farm in Rosebud flooded. I can’t explain to you the feeling when you are in the middle of the storm like that. I’ve always loved being in the middle of the storm, I love the rain, in 2005 when the flash flood hit our home, I was outside walking in the rain when instead of just pouring rain, suddenly, there was water everywhere. The footage in Burning Water (its only a few minutes in if you click HERE) shows flooding in my yard, was shot by me at the time and cut into the film later. When a flash flood comes, you really don’t realize how quickly it hits, and when it hits a city of a million people, the 4th largest in Canada, it’s devastating.

The footage is unbelievable, nothing like this has ever been seen here, and in times like this my inner environmentalist is begging for people to see the larger picture. More and more in the news all over the world we hear of natural disasters, each seemingly the “worst in history.”

In 1895, Nobel Prize winning Swedish chemist Svante August Arrhenius predicted that the excessive burning of fossil fuels would eventually alter the earth’s climate. In just 118 years, we have burned though an unbelievable amount of those fossil fuels, almost certainly faster than anyone, even Mr. Arrhenius, could have ever predicted.

Downtown Calgary was built on the money of the oil and gas boom, and is set between two rivers- the Bow and Elbow. “The Bow”, Encana’s landmark building- the tallest in Canada West of Toronto, just opened to the public a few weeks ago, and is now completely shutdown due to massive flooding. It almost seems biblical, though I do not consider myself a religious person. If there is one thing I do believe in, as I have posted before, it is the balance of nature.

Like I said, there is nothing like being in the middle of a storm, there is nothing like seeing it for yourself. The massive, awe inspiring power of nature. What forces does man have at his disposal when nature strikes? You realize then how powerless we really are. What does man expect from nature, that it will not strike back? That it will not find a way to create balance?

It is tremendously difficult for me to write this post because I do not want it to be misunderstood. I have compassion for every single individual affected here, for every individual affected in every tragedy around the world right now. I cannot imagine having my entire home swept away, its devastating.

At the same time, nature does not care for the whim’s of man. Man is a vile beast; a greedy creature with the tools to do more damage than any other animal on this planet, but mother nature will not accept mistreatment at the hands of her children.

When EnCana/Cenovus Corporation came to the the Rosebud valley with its experimental drilling techniques circa 2005, our water started lighting on fire out of the taps. The CBC passionate eye documentary, Burning Water, follows my mother’s fight with corporate Alberta, and the Alberta government for her water rights, after Encana used an experimental method of hydraulic fracturing in the Rosebud River Valley. In the midst of this political storm, 3 successive rainstorms flood Southern Alberta. In 2005 it wasn’t even CLOSE to this bad; in just 8 years, it is at least 3 times worse than the last “worst flood in history”. Just a few weeks ago EnCana opened the doors to “The Bow”, its premiere head office- they mention its construction in Burning Water.  Just a few weeks ago I was joking in a post that I would dance on its ruin and explaining that it is symbolic with all that is wrong with our culture.  I had no idea it would be evacuated and shutdown due to flooding, who would have? Who could possibly have ever imagined flooding so widespread, in the middle of the Alberta prairies?  After 118 years of relentlessly burning fossil fuels, and 8 years since our last water disaster, we have still learned nothing.

This isn’t a Calgary problem, its a global cultural problem. Our society is fatally flawed and if we carry on our current path we will destroy ourselves. As individuals we put ourselves first, because no one else will. In this age of luxury and technological advancement we are led down the rabbit hole of capitalistic greed. We get caught up in the nine-to-five, comparing our cars and our clothes and our houses and we forget that nature can take it all away in a heartbeat when it’s time to pay your debt.

It’s why I keep talking about the water issues, even though I know most people are content to justify their apathy. I understand entirely the temptation of pretty things, I battle with my materialistic, consumer side every day. I understand wanting to make some money to put yourself through school, or support your family. Temptation is always there but we must not gorge ourselves, lest our swollen bellies burst. Some of the most expensive real estate in the oil capital of Canada is now underwater.  Regular home insurance won’t cover it, millions of dollars of damage has been done. You might not realize it’s karma coming when she gets you, but it is. Everything will balance in the end.  This disaster has galvanized an already strong community and Calgary will rebuild, rebound and be reinvigorated.  Mayor Nenshi even says we can do it in time for Stampede!

Will Calgary really change? Not anytime soon. Sure it will rebuild and get back to business, but real change?   No.  It’s not just Calgary that needs to change, though certainly we have dug in our heels determinedly pushing for “economic value ” of the oil sands. Environmentalist friends (friend?) lets not delude ourselves. Prime Minister Harper “knows this is not what the rivers are supposed to look like” because he used to live here, and he took a helicopter tour so he could REALLY TELL. Premier Redford said something so dull I couldn’t even quote her, in the meantime her ex-husband represents the Defendants in Jessica Ernst’s million dollar lawsuit [Ernst v. EnCana, Energy Resource Conservation Board, Her Magistey the Queen in Right of Alberta] which has just been delayed again, because back in February Mr. Harper called the Justice hearing the matter up to a higher court. Quite convenient. Jessica goes back to phase ONE of her litigation- an application to rule whether an Albertan citizen even has the right to sue her government for failing to uphold its own regulatory standards when a corporations experimental CBM exploration destroyed the her Aquifer and contaminated drinking water in the vallye. Despite the fact she’s been dealing with this for a decade Encana hasn’t even so much as had to put forward their Statement of Defence, thanks to the legal gymnastics of a team of government lawyers. What did she expect suing the government and the corporation that pays the government’s salaries? I Nothing less, but that’s the point.  It seems an unattainable goal, to change the landscape of our intertwined government and corporate world, which is all the more reason why we must fight so hard.  I love it, Jessica is an absolute champion, she know’s what she’s up against here, the dynasty of conservative Alberta politics and the oil empire. The most important thing at this point is to spread awareness, add your voice on Alberta Voices and check out Jessica Ernst’s website.

For everyone who has suffered at the hands of nature; whether you have lost your home, your family, your friends, your pets or your life, know that the strength of an entire country is behind you.  For everyone standing on the edge of the storm waters, asking yourself, “how could this possibly have happened?”, do not forget that question when the flood waters recede.  This is a warning, a wake-up, a call to arms.  How could this possibly have happened?  In 118 years, just 18 years longer than the world famous Calgary Stampede has run, we have burned though more than half of the world’s oil reserves, the half that was easy to get to.  Now we use techniques more dangerous than ever before to extract oil, or natural gas, and the price we will pay if we continue to do so is honestly unimaginable.  How can we be so arrogant as to think what we do to one part of the earth will not have an effect elsewhere?

Take a rock.

Now smash it with a hammer.

Will the rock ever mend itself?

Will the cracks meld together and reform?

Of course not.

Once broken, the rock breaks down more.

It does not heal.

Imagine giving a company the power to drill hundreds of thousands of wells, to allow them to send seismic explosions though underground rock formations to release gas.  Imagine trucking in thousands of gallons of water to wash down the hole, mixed with trade-protected chemical “frac fluids”, to pump up a minuscule amount of natural gas in comparison.  Though I believe the only way forward is to end reliance on fossil fuels, I recognize that it will be a lengthy endeavor to get there.  It is absolute madness, however, to contaminate thousands of gallons of water and pump it into the ground, for only a minimal return.  The amount of gas wasted on tanker trucks bringing in the water to each CBM sight probably negates the “gain” even further.  Imagine a government that streamlines this process, so that companies never have to release the composition of those frac-fluids, and so the company can never be found guilty based on the lack of evidence.  Imagine a government giving the power to review cases like Jessica Ernst’s, or my family’s, to a SINGLE regulator with absolute power, appointed by whom? Harper? Redford?  Imagine for a moment that this goes too far, that companies like Encana are allowed to continue their assault on the water system.  Safeway was selling flats of water for $60 because of a weekend of flooding.  Imagine what will happen if our water supply is truly compromised?

Calgary pride’s itself on a sense of community and western spirit.  Coming home to the yyc airport compared to Amsterdam, I welcomed the sight of white hats and friendly faces eager to help.. because really, that’s what Calgary is all about, helping one another.  We see that now more than ever as the community bands together in this state of emergency, but we must take care to see the larger picture.  To live contextually and understand that we must actively plan for future generations, rather than blindly barrel forward with dollar signs in our eyes.

Money means nothing when the water comes and goes.

instaUPDATE – real life & Rosebud

back to reality and back in the office – miles of files, this is my lifestyle..

… and back home to my own bed, finally after so many weeks away!

this city, this city is haunted.. by ghosts from broken homes – alexisonfire boiled frogs lyrics

city and color “two coins” lyrics

don’t let anyone dull your sparkle – click image for the full post if you missed it!

pre-shower post-midnight selfie’s.. its how I roll #socool

these are a few of my favourite things; band tees, full skirts, converse, sunnies and the sound of music 🙂

36 crazy fists concert tee, monikee skirt (DK) CO-LAB cross body bag

out for lunch with the boss – found out I get to go on the company trip to Spain in November!!

brunch at The Ladybug and Cafe with my BFF & breakfast guru. She always shows me the best places!

waiting for my nails to dry with tea and snuggles in my favourite hoodie.

these two girls have my heart – misty & lina lookin all majestic like on the hillside.

now y’all know where I got my style, daddy rockin’ the fringe, the original hipster circa 1990

we planted trees for father’s day in my grandpa’s park. i come from a family of tree huggers – click photo for my mom’s blog

thinking over the weekend of another man I learned a lot from – missing this little pony, my BFF’s noble steed

This week was one of coming down.  Coming down and landing back in reality (how unpleasant).   Down from the cloud 9 of a European vacation – relaxing by the beach and stuffing my face with delicious Danish cuisine. while visiting family and shopping.  It was an amazing experience.  I really feel like the Europeans just have their ducks in a row when it comes to social programs and food… OMG the food you guys, go to Europe and just eat!!!  They believe in quality not quantity, that’s why they are famous for being slim and Americans are famous for being fat. I ate so many delicious things there!  Eat like a European – that’s my motto.  Mostly for one reason: seriously do you understand how much better their desserts and chocolates are?? I mean for reals.

 While we were in Denmark my grandfather took me to his childhood home and showed me oak trees he planted as a boy.  They tower up now, it was so beautiful to see how much they had grown – he told me there were three times more trees in Denmark now than there were when he left.  This fathers day we had an amazing family brunch with my dad  (the handsome fellow pictured above sporting the fringe jacket) and with his father who is basically a second father to me. (We call him Farfar, Danish for father’s father.)  He has been working on the land all his life, he was our farm every day of my life, and the changes over the years are unbelievable.  Looking at old photos of our farm, seeing him standing at 89 years old in his childhood home with the trees he planted towering over him- I’ve had a lot of time lately to think about how grateful I am for my family and how simple acts of ordinary people are what make all the difference in the world.

I think the history my family has given me such a strong sense of who I am and what I want.  When I spend time on the farm with my family, with my horses, with the animals and the trees and the wind in my hair; I feel free, I feel happy.  When I look around and see well sites dotting up like pockmarks on the once perfect prairie I am afraid; afraid of what is yet to come and that our collective greed will destroy all the earth has to give.  I apologize for being a bit behind schedule with my posts here, but sometimes I have to focus on the country-smile side of myself, you can find me in the meantime helping my somewhat technologically challenged mother with her blog. Click HERE or, add your voice to the conversation on ALBERTA VOICES.  I urge any Canadian citizens, or any concerned individual from any corner of the world to educate yourselves on the dangers of Hydraulic Fracturing .  We all talk about the weather every day, make jokes about how mundane our lives are.  Well, the weather lately has been so weird… its almost like there is some sort of global climate change happening. Perhaps from the massive amounts of fuel we have burned in the last 100 years?  Perhaps we need to pause more often, leave the concrete jungles where everyone is perfect and we never speak to strangers and go back to country roots, where we aren’t afraid to get dirty, do hard work, create a home and a FUTURE.  In the “now” generation we have very much lost sight of the “and then”.  We are failing to plan for  future, which is looking pretty bleak if we, collectively as humans, don’t turn things around a bit.  Stat.  The latest assault on the Rosebud River valley that I grew up in is some rich person’s idea of fun  “a European style country club with luxury condo’s and a paved race track” smack dab in the middle of  Absolutely No Where, Alberta. Also known as the the most damn important place in the world to me because I happened to be born in the center of it.  Read the Calgary Herald article HERE.

The most unforgivable lie we humans tell ourselves is that we, alone, will make no difference.

Alone, we can make all the difference in the world.  A single act can be everything to someone.   It takes ONE person with passion, one catalyst for change to happen.   Why are so many afraid to use their voice?  Afraid to be passionately involved in their convictions for fear of offending someone, somewhere.  As Eleanor Roosevelt put it – “Do what you know in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized for it anyways.”   Its why things like the Steubenville Rape make me so sick to the core – because if ONE person at that party had pro-actively intervened, had stepped in and said, ” THIS IS WRONG AND YOU NEED TO STOP BECAUSE I WILL MAKE YOU STOP.”  If just one person had had the courage to use that inner voice that must have been screaming at them, then that girl’s life could have been so different.  And those “poor boys” would never have had their “bright futures ruined” by this “misunderstanding” had someone acted (perhaps by knocking some sense into them). I’m so tired of victim blaming.  In other words, EVERYONE WINS WHEN SOMEONE ACTS FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.  Do we see where I am going with this?  You have a voice, use it for the truth, use it to ask critical questions, use it to stand up for what you know in your heart to be right.  Do not be silent.  Do not sell yourself short to think you make no difference, the only difference is between the choices you make every single day.

” there will come a time when you must choose between what is right and what is easy “

-j.k.rowling

It will not be easy, but it is our generation that must be the change.  I like to complain that I am back to reality because in some ways, I am terrified of the reality we live in.  Other days I think to myself, how lucky am I to have a steady job to complain about coming back to? Then I remember that luck had nothing to do with it, I worked my ass off to get it.  I am ecstatic to go to Amsterdam and then Barcelona in November, to see Europe again and have to come crashing back to reality in Calgary.  You make your own luck, you get what you give.  You plant a seed and one day it will grow into a forest but first you have to get your hands dirty and dig a hole for it, cover it in water and hope it grows to something beautiful.   Find your passion and let it grow.  Thanks for reading! xo, aiyana

follow on instagram @aiyanajanee

Europe >>>>> Canada

danish style

DK style

leather jacket, sandals, blouse by LeCHATEAU  || printed leggings THRIFTED  || bag by CO-LAB

Simple look today for shopping in Vejle – printed leggings, a tunic and sandals. Stole these sunnies from little bro, and he already called me out on it!    This is my absolute favourite leather jacket, another super good deal from my time working in le shithole. Shop similar here and here.

travel the world

 

 The best part about traveling is seeing how different everything is from home. Well… best and worst, because though I live in Calgary, I spare the place little affection, and am planning on leaving at the earliest possible juncture.  Being in Europe with my grandparents, who immigrated here shortly after they were married, really makes me question their decision making skills.  Possibly because Calgary is one of the ugliest cities with its disgusting urban sprawl of suburban cookie-cutter homes and at the center of it, the oil giants monolithic structures looming over the “landmark” Calgary tower.  The biggest one of all (boasting to be the largest Canadian structure West of Toronto) The Bow, is home of Encana Corp and perfectly representative of every single thing in Calgary that I absolutely LOATHE- particularly the company that resides within. If it crumbled to the ground I would do a happy-dance on the ruin, no word of a lie. Compared to home everything in Denmark just seems infinitely more charming, with their cobblestone streets, beautiful boutiques and stunning architecture. (Oh, and no well-sites dotting every inch of the countryside… sorry guys, but I just read the latest from Harper on the Keystone Pipeline and have been extremely angry ever since… OH, AND… just after typing that, I read confirmation that his election was rigged.  I hate you Harper, I hate you Canadian Politics!) Okay, back to the point.. 

   I find it funny – whenever I go anywhere, or tell anyone where I am from – the comment I ALWAYS get is “you don’t look like your from here” (even when I’m walking around Calgary!) interestingly enough people often guess Toronto, so apparently I look like I’m from Toronto …which I am not.

TORONTO style

Visiting Toronto in 2010 with my Mom – we were there for the film fest,  presenting the CBC documentary, Burning Water,  if you would like to understand source of my political rage please check out the link at the top of the page for more info, or go to  Rosebud’s Burning Water.

My home is actually a little farm, but I don’t look very farm-girly either.  I sometimes think that maybe I don’t look like I’m from “here” (where ever that may be) because I don’t feel like I’m from “here”.  My grandparents are Danish and  my mother emigrated from Scotland, so I was raised by Europeans living in Canada.  If the above rant didn’t tip you off, I have approximately zero pride in being Canadian… it’s not that I hate our country, in fact I love the land more than anything.  I hate what we are doing to our land in the name of energy progress, what we have done and continue to do to the natives of this land, our justification of our actions, our cultural apathy, our government, and our winters.  Being proud of your nationality is like being proud of your race or skin color –  I didn’t choose to be born here, I have done nothing to contribute to Canada, and thus, feel no nationalistic feelings of pride.  When I look at the people who do represent Canada, like Harper, or Redford, or the many examples of ignorant racists among my acquaintances I feel less than hopeful.  At my brothers graduation I laughed a little to myself at the very few people who joined in mumbling the words to the national anthem, while mentally comparing it to the Americans belting out the Star Spangled Banner with such vigor.  It seemed to me that I am not the only one with so little pride in our home and native land. (More like our home and stolen-from-the-natives-but-we-don’t-like-admitting-it land.)

North Americans often express the sentiment that Europeans “think they’re better than everyone” sorry to break it to you, but that’s because they probably are.  See in Europe, they’ve kinda run out of space, they’ve been around a little longer, and they understand what it means to have to actually PLAN for future generations.  Canada (and America) were taken way back in the day by the Europeans who wanted MORE.. and thus the foundation of our nations is the desire for MORE than is rightfully ours. Greed can easily go un-checked when you have the one of the largest, most sparsely populated countries in the world combined with massive energy source deposits of oil and natural gas, right next door to the biggest military power in the world.

The moral of this story is I have been reading the news (which never works out well for me) and I may not ever be coming home.  

xo, aiyanajane

Responsibility for the Land

I posted back in November about how busy I was working with my mom, well this is  what we were up to! I would love it if you would take the time to check it out and learn a thing or two. My mother was invited as a speaker for a Conversation on Fracking at Augustana University in Camrose, Alberta.

“With an assembly of experts, landowners and industry representatives, our aim is to foster constructive dialogue that will enable Albertans to manage our resources wisely.”

Full list of Presenters and other presentations from November 2-3, 2012

The youtube video of Fiona’s presentation goes with a PowerPoint, available for download here. Alternately  for your convenience, I have included the slides in the correct order below the embeded video- important slides have noted the time they are referenced. You don’t get to see the fancy animation I put in, but it is a little simpler to click through while watching the presentation.

Be sure to check out Dr. Karlis Muehlenbachs who also spoke over the weekend and  is referenced in Fiona Lauridsen’s presentation. His expertise was crucial in helping unravel the questionable science of Dr. Alec Bylth from the Alberta Research Council, who’s report was the basis for Alberta Environment’s decision to absolve Encana of any responsibility for the contamination in our water well, as there was NO EVIDENCE OF GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION.

My mom also references Jessica Ernst in her presentation, its really because of Jessica that we were able to find out so much information about Hydraulic Fracturing and the dangers; she and my mother worked side by side for years to figure out what happened to the aquifer in Rosebud. Another affected neighbour, Mrs. Signer, who’s well is referenced in the presentation, reports and slides; moved away from the area, selling her B&B because she no longer had safe water.

Jessica Ernst is taking legal action a multi-million dollar lawsuit accuses EnCana, Alberta Environment and Energy Resources Conservation Board of negligence and unlawful activities. For her stand against fracking, Jessica was honored by the UN with the International Women of Courage Award in October of last year.

UNANIMA International Woman of Courage Award

NEW YORK, NY (October 1, 2011) UNANIMA International, UN Economic and Social Council accredited NGO working for international justice at the United Nations celebrates 10th Anniversary Saturday icts by presenting icts WOMAN OF COURAGE annual award to Jessica Ernst of Rosebud, Alberta , Internationally known for her efforts to hold companies accountable for environmental harm done by “fracking”.

Ernst, a 54 year old scientist with 30 years petroleum industry experience, is Suing the Alberta government, Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and EnCana for negligence and unlawful activities.

Nearly a decade ago EnCana, one of the world’s largest natural gas producteurs, Began a risky and experimental drilling program hydraulic fracturing That Applied intense coalbed methane for shallow THROUGHOUT central Alberta. Ms. Ernst’s statement of claim EnCana broke multiple lighters That provincial laws and règlements and contaminated shallow aquifer That a Supplied drinking water to the community with natural gas Rosebud and toxic industry-related chemicals. The claim methodically reports how Alberta’s two key groundwater regulators, Alberta Environment and the ERCB, “failed to follow the investigation and enforcement processes That They HAD, established and publicized.” Have The allegations yet to be proven in court.

Hydraulic fracturing uses “brute force” to blast open oil, gas and coal formations with highly pressurized chemical fluids or gases. It is the subject of serious government investigations THROUGHOUT North America. In 2002, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment HELD Linking Water Science to Policy Workshop. The workshop report Concluded That unconventional natural gas drilling Posed a real threat to groundwater quality and quantity, and que la nation needs “baseline hydrogeological investigations … to be ble to Recognize and track groundwater contaminants.” Not Until nine years later on September 21, 2011 the Canadian government did announce That It Would initiate two studies hydraulic fracturing to determined Whether is harming the environment.

International UNANIMA thing Ms. Ernst was emperor awardee this year as a share of international icts “Water = Life” campaign. “Access to life-giving water is an essential right for all life forms,” ​​stated the UNANIMA coordinator, Catherine Ferguson. “Our members have year Have Experienced fracking safe to Their enormous fresh water supply Wherever it is Carried out. We applaud Ms. Ernst’s bravery in standing up for her rights. “

The award and a lecture by Ms. Ernst will be Given at the 10th Anniversary reception for UNANIMA International in New York at the Church Center of the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza, just across from the United Nations building on East 44th Street. The event begins at 11:00 am.

UNANIMA International 
211 East 43rd Street, Room 1207 
New York, NY 10017 
Tel :/ Fax 212-370-0075 (Office) 
http://www.unanima-international.org

As for my mom?

she pursued the matter by allowing documentary film makers to follow her on journey to uncover the truth, as told in Burning Water, featured on CBC’s The Passionate Eye. She has spoken in communities, Colleges and Universities in Southern Alberta and British Columbia. The farm featured in Burning Water was sold, but the Lauridsen family still live in the Rosebud valley, farming land just 9 miles East of the previous property. The complaint that Encana contaminated ground water was dismissed outright by the government and the community and has not been revisited. The matter for us, is closed.

The matter however is only just beginning to open up, and the truth of the matter is MORE people need to speak up when government refuses to reign in industry because of their own capitalistic motivations. At the end of the presentation my mom mentions that they are streamlining regulations to allow industry even LESS ACCOUNTABILITY. This is happening in Alberta right now!

Rachel Notley, the MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona and a long-standing labour and environment advocate, spoke at the conference and urged Albertan’s to stand up and vote against the conservative government who continue to allow the Oil and Gas companies to drill unchecked and self-regulated.

The damage from fracking has ALREADY been done, there is no longer a question about it. The question remains, how are we going to fix the damage we have done, and how can we prevent such harm in the future?

The answer is simple, and yet, we are told economically impossible; end reliance on fossil fuels.

your interest in this matter is of the utmost importance, and i thank you. xo, aiyana.

WIN IT HERE- Signed Burning Water DVD

For those who see no problem with the Oil and Gas development, I thought maybe you’d like to take a second look. These are the wells I see every day on my 5 minute drive to work, these photos represent a TINY percentage of the development in the area and this is only the beginning of what they have planned.

The warning signs are everywhere, and yet we continue to ignore them.

I’m painfully aware that the vast majority of my readers care little for my “save the environment” posts and would much rather I just make with the pretty pictures. I say painfully because it truly saddens me that anyone could care more about an outfit than about the future of the planet.

It’s easy to delude yourself into believing that in this big wide world your little voice will make no difference, but I assure you the only way you can be certain of that is if you never bother to speak up. Perhaps it’s because the problems in this world are so immense it feels insurmountable; or perhaps its simply ignorance, or unwillingness to accept things as they are. Whatever the reason for it, its nothing more than an excuse to do nothing, and that is absolutely unacceptable to me.

My stake in the situation is personal. My family moved from our home and sold our farm after our well water was contaminated by fracking. We got chemical burns in the shower, our animals got sick, and suddenly our water lit on fire; none of this could never be conclusively proved to have been caused by fracking. There were lab errors, there is naturally occurring methane, and obviously, we’re just crazy farmers who neglected our well. I could go posting all the proof of corruption that we’ve dug up over the years, but what would be the point? The idea that Oil and Gas companies are an economic savior is so deeply ingrained in the mentality of Albertan’s that trying to dispute this “fact” leaves one cast as a leper. Even among my closest friends if I bring up the topic it’s generally met with eye-rolls and I’m informed by them of how “safe” all the development is, and that it’s a ridiculous concern to even have. The beliefs of their parents have been passed down for generations, and that residual ignorance and unwillingness to consider an alternative stymies any potential progress.

This is because the companies have gone to great lengths to buy our compliance. And do not be mistaken, because we have all been bought and paid for. Farmers are paid land rent for each well-site, sometimes its the only reliable income in such a fickle profession. Local communities and business’ receive grants and generous donations to improve playgrounds or schools or theaters, and countless individuals are employed in the sector. In our capitalist based society the economy is the number one concern. In the upcoming US Presidential Election economic policies are central to the candidates chances of being elected. What matters is the bottom line, what matters is money. And while a strong economy is indeed crucial to a strong country, will it matter when we have nothing left to drink?

Fresh water, like oil and gas is a finite resource, and we are wasting all 3 at a phenomenal rate. We have the technology (and have for years) needed to make the change to green energy sources, and yet we continue to rely on oil and gas despite ever-increasing prices, emissions and environmental effects. Why? For one, the billions of dollars in revenues would disappear, giving anyone who financially benefits from the oil industry the incentive to continue to be set in their ways. Billions of dollars at stake and yet no one questions it when those billionaires tell us “everything is fine” all while continuing to rape the planet and get rich off their plundering.

Consider what is at stake here; on the one hand, billions and billions of dollars in revenues and, on the other, our fresh water. They will tell you it’s not that simple, but I promise you that it is. And while we can always find other ways to make more money, and already have alternatives to gas power, we cannot un-pollute the water after the companies frack it full of carcinogens.

 

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proceed with caution, our apathy today will effect the children of tomorrow.

Also please check out http://citystylecountrysmile.com/burning-water/ and like or share the page!

Want more? Win a DVD of Burning Water! Signed by myself and my amazing mother; Fiona Lauridsen. Like and leave a comment below!

And get involved! We will be in Camrose, AB November 2-3 2012 for the Alberta Surface RightsConversations on Fracking conference.  Our presentation is on Saturday afternoon, please come check it out if you have the chance! 

I’d absolutely love to meet you! XO, a

prepare to get political

A fashion and DIY blog becomes utterly pointless when one is trapped in bed, with no energy to create and no where to go but from the hammock, to bed and back again. Now, I could post “What I’m Wearing” but I imagine me in my tanktop and underwear would attract a much different audience than is my target, potentially including some internet stalkers who decide that I took those pictures for THEM and now the voices say they have to kill me…. I really don’t want that. So instead of messing around trying to make crutches look fashionable (impossible, FYI ) I’m going to just write. For me writing has always been a part of the healing process as nothing is more soothing than the feeling of pencil on paper- words flowing from my hand and heart into pages. Making feelings and dreams real and allowing me freedom from the weight of my thoughts. Writing is a purge of emotion and nothing else offers the same release. Little else offers the same freedom I feel when I write.. except for perhaps the feeling I get on a perfect ride. I think the hardest thing about this injury has been having to sit and do nothing while the world goes on, I feel left behind (although I KNOW I haven’t been) but not being able to ride my horses, or do so many other things that I love has been depressing to say the least. There is nothing I value more highly than my freedom, and now I feel trapped by my own body, and my own choice. Its a bitter pill to swallow.

I’ve had a lot of time to sit and contemplate lately, and I have the tendency to dwell and spiral down into thoughts of doom and gloom when I think about the world too much. See I lie there feeling sorry for myself cause I fractured my pelvis, and then I remember all the soldiers of the many wars in this world who don’t have legs, or even life. I remind myself that I have an amazing family who have all been more helpful and supportive than I could have imagined, and amazing friends who do things like bring me a bunny as a “glad your out of the hospital, happy early birthday present” and I know I don’t have it that bad. I am so fortunate for what I have when there are so many torn families, so much crime and separation of the classes, so much pain. Suddenly the pain of a broken bone becomes the purest form of agony and I find clarity in the many hours of stillness.

I think one of the main problems in this modern world is that no one ever really stops to just sit and truly think. So much is done with only the thought of a profit, and not a moment is spared to consider that nothing can profit without a cost.  I haven’t been sleeping much at night,  so I’ve been lying out on the hammock watching the stars and imagining what it must have been like to live in a different time, back before they named the constellations, when all you had to use to survive was what the earth gave you. It would be a time before everything had become polluted, a time of perfect silence, with no ambient light to distract from the moon and dim the stars, and you could look forward to a world of seemingly endless possibilities. When your family and their lives were your main concern and you didn’t have to worry about a world degenerating around you. It would be a time filled with seemingly endless possibility and wonder (or so my inner romantic likes to believe). I think about all this while trying to drown out the incessant HRUUUMMMMMMMMM from the deep-earth gas well they put in just down the road, which is a constant drone in the background and a terrible eyesore. Once I get on this train of thought its quite a dreary ride all the way down to environmental doom and destruction and by then I’m thoroughly dejected with the thought of the human race. We are so proud of our ‘progress’ and yet I fail to see the gain.  All of our supposed “advancements” have ruined what was once a perfect land, corrupted men with the lure of too much money and too much power, wasted minds with reality television and wasted lives with wars over oil and land and profit.

We act like we’ve become so advanced as a people, but all I see is a society destroying itself in a world drowning in unchecked greed. People never take me seriously when I tell them I want to build a hobbit house and live there, but I mean it. Take a look around you, an honest look for once. Has man made progress? Our skyscrapers rise, as does the death toll, and the temperature rises as well, bringing the ocean up with it, and everything is effected by every choice that everyone makes. See so many people forget that there is always a choice. You don’t need to have the latest iPhone or the fastest car or the biggest mansion- all you need is land to live on, a roof over your head, and love in your heart. So many people forget that you don’t NEED to have the most, and it seems everyone is constantly trying to prove that they have the best, the newest, the latest. Morally and spiritually bankrupt minds spending immoral gains on pointless items that a child somewhere was exploited into making. And we are all guilty, we are all liars, cheaters and hypocrites, and so few are able to admit it. So few are willing to speak up despite ever mounting evidence of corporate and governmental corruption and abuse of power.  As I lie there listening to the HRMM of this supposed progress all I want to do is burn it all down to ashes and embers. All I want in my life is my land, fresh air and clean water and when I think about the government and the oil companies having carte blanche to take that all away from me I feel so horribly depressed.  Mega corporations make it seem like its impossible to ever make a difference, but we always have the choice to speak, its just that so few choose to raise their voice. If more people thought about the true consequences of their silence, perhaps that would change but I think the reason for our silence is fear. Fear of ourselves, our flaws, our nature, our potential and our failures. We are not our failures. But if we remain silent, our world will pay the price for our shortcomings.

This voiceless apathy is the curse of our generation and no one said it better than the brilliant American author Chuck Palaniuk

“Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.”

Now our war must be waged against our own apathy; we must fight against our greed, our ignorance, our blindness. We must fight for our souls, our land, water, air and most importantly, for our freedom. And we might need to fight against our reflection, staring at us with doubtful eyes and sealed lips. But do not look in the mirror and tell yourself that the choices you make don’t matter, that you are a grain of sand in the ocean and that your voice is silenced by the crashing of the waves. You are silenced only by yourself; your fear and your apathy. Why are we afraid to stand up to our government and demand better regulations? Why are we shamed and cast as the conspiracy theorists for questioning the oil giants? But most importantly, why do so few care about the total destruction of our world? And do not fool yourself- its not hyperbole, its not an exaggeration, the truth is that every single day we destroy more and more of the eartch and the day is rapidly approaching where we will go too far. We are so advanced and yet rely almost entirely on a non-renewable resource. The day will come when there is nothing left to take, and then we shall face our reckoning. Unless today, you decide to actually make a change.

Start by educating yourself, and please, if you have even the slightest interest in the subject (which, if you live on this planet I sincerely hope that you do, as this concerns all of us) then you must read “It’s the crude, Dude” by Linda McQuaig. She takes on the topic of oil, gas and government with absolutely brilliant style. She doesn’t so much dissect the topic, but rather eviscerates the oil companies with her extensive research and fact checking, set to a sarcastic and amusing tone. She takes a topic that in the wrong hands could be deadly dull and turns the industry into a farce, leaving me laughing at the audacity of it all and yet simultaneously forcing me to address questions many would prefer to leave unanswered. If one day I could write as well as Linda McQuaig I would feel as though my life was complete, she is my hero. And I truly believe that if it was mandatory for everyone in the world to read this book, that it might be taking the first step towards progress.

http://www.amazon.ca/Its-Crude-Dude-Fight-Planet/dp/0385660103

As well, if you are further interested in the topic, or wondering why I seem to have such personal venom towards the industry, check out the Burning Water page by clicking the link at the top of the page or on the photo below, and if you have the opportunity to watch the film I highly recommend that you do. I should have said that Linda McQuaig is one of my heros, because the other is my mother. She was the one who taught me to always speak out for my believes, and to have a global world view.  Her example, her courage to allow a film crew to follow her journey- in the hopes that perhaps someone might see it and really understand what we went though, and more importantly what is already happening all around us. Well, there is nothing on this earth that has inspired me more than that. She taught me that doing nothing can be the greatest crime.


We went to Toronto’s Eco Film festival together when Burning Water came out.

 http://planetinfocus.org/

Proudest moment of my life watching my Mum on stage speaking so passionately.

I always view her though heart shaped glasses. xox, aiyana.