Everyone has a story.
Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT an activist.
In fact, I am rarely “fervent” about anything, actually.
But on Jan 21, 2017 my inner civil-protestor rose up!
Here’s the backstory.
I woke up on Saturday 21st ready to “march”.. very unaware of what was happening around the world. I expected – maybe – 5000 in Vancouver. I expected to see “familiar faces”.
The Seabus was packed. The feeling was jovial.
I am lucky enough to know someone who works on the route, so we sat and chatted. Just this year she had written .. a personal vision statement. She read it to me as we crossed the inlet, and as she sat reading, surrounded by strangers, I realized that “something” was happening. She echoed a sentiment, an ache we all feel.. to be connected to be a bigger, better “thing”.
I was already goose-bumpy by the time I disembarked.
A few minutes later I stood in Jack Poole Plaza – surrounded by very very normal, nondescript people.
We listened to music, we heard speeches.. we yelled in agreement to the calls for action, and we agreed that we would pick up the garbage en route.
So with “the” people, some in pink hats, most in comfortable shoes, I realized that American call “we, the people” means something else to all of us. It means that “we” stand up in a dignified way when the need arises; that “we” stand together as one; that “we” is inclusive; that “we” is incredibly powerful when pulling together; that “we”, no matter what the issue, will rise above adversity.
I walked and silently wept.
I am so proud of all the activists and non-activists that walked in Vancouver on Jan 21, 2017.
Apparently there were 10, 000+ of us.
I was on the 240 bus heading across the Lionsgate bridge, January 4th, when the traffic started to slow.. then slow some more.. then s-t-o-p. Dead stop. Nothing moving. It was about 7:50 am – still dark – and we were roughly mid-span across the bridge.
So we sat. In silence.
It’s that most wonderful time of the year! Right? Where you simply want to share some time with your loved ones?
No gifts. Just time. Precious hours just enjoying the company of others.
For many of us, it wasn’t always so simple.
I do not own an umbrella!
I KNOW!! CRAZY, EH?!
Most of you right now are laughing at me, some are shocked, and some are simply dumbfounded..
The question is: How can I live on the WET west coast, on the fringe of a rain forest no less, and not own an umbrella?
Here’s my thinking:
- I have had bad relationships with umbrellas in the past. I had one beautiful, bright flowery brolly – but it would just not close properly. Right there, always on the bus, always surrounded by my cordial commuting cohorts, who all carefully cloistered their brollies lest they drip on seats etc., right then and there this wretched apparatus would spring open. WHOMPF.
- I have owned cheap-ass, poorly constructed umbrellas that simply don’t do the job. They barely cover me, they don’t stay fully open and I look like I’ve got a poorly constructed plastic mini-tent over my head. Not cool!
So – I have yet to find a great umbrella. So I have given up!
Furthermore, umbrella etiquette seems to be missing on the streets of Vancouver.
Please, people – leave the golf umbrella for the golf course.
Also .. I’m “petite” (read: short) so even with a suitably sized umbrella, some maneuvering is going to be necessary on a crowded Georgia Street sidewalk. Taller people (I beg you) please raise your brolly when approaching us littl’ns. As my Granny would say “eyes can be lost with a careless use of knives and brollies”!
Finally – the real reason that I’ve given up on owning a brolly – have you tried texting, or holding a coffee with a brolly in your same hand? It’s impossible!
So I walk the soggy streets of Vancouver in Gortex.
Forgo the brolly.
It’s actually quite liberating!
It’s funny where you find inspiration.
Because I just found it, this past week, in Prince George.
Let me back up.
We all know that for many of us, the past two weeks, since the evening of November 8, 2016, have been a time of much hand-wringing, some self-recrimination, and a lot of “what-went-wrong” discussions. I know because I have taken part in all of that (and more!).
I have felt beaten for over two weeks now. And there has been little in the news to make me feel any better.
I suffer from migraines and yesterday was a bad day for me.
Now, there are many of us out there who suffer from these type of headaches, and if you do, you’re going to recognize the moments in this story. If you don’t – here’s the way it usually goes for me ..
I have got very good at recognizing the day-before-pre-migraine symptoms: usually a slight headache, a feeling of “warmth” gently pulsing behind my eyes, and a very, very slight sensitivity to light.
The other night I found myself watching CNN, and caught the latest Jeanne Moos piece. She’s a great reporter, working the “off-beat” stories with a casual, irreverent usually humorous style. Her last story started with the question – “Have you ever “Googled” yourself?”
Most of us have. Of course I have, but it’s been a while. So of course, I had to have another go..
Here’s the results when I put “Claire Martin” into the search bar:
The first 2 results I know about, the 3rd – WHOA!
It’s a spoof.. but holy cow.. at 10 pm it jolted me out of my bed (safely sans Mr Mansbridge, I might add!). I had no idea.. and of course I had to click and enter the rabbit hole that can often be the internet.
Wide awake now I decided to check out my Twitter name – and did a search of accounts with the name “Claire Martin”.
Of the top 6 results, I personally know 3!
The great jazz singer – Claire Martin – and I have actually chatted about occasionally being mistaken for one another. My father is a huge fan of hers; I have most of her CD’s and quite frankly, she’s much better looking than I, so the mistake is often to my advantage. In fact in the early 2000’s I was put on a BBC List of “top 100 entertainers to watch” – I’m convinced to this day that the radio executive that constructed the list actually had me mistaken for her!
The 4th Claire MARTIN is also a lovely woman! She lives and works in Paris, France – and we were introduced at a function about 10 years ago at car show and have often had to direct misguided requests for each other back to the other!
So – is it really a small world? Is my name really that common? Or is there maybe more going on here?
What really floors me is that the other 3 “Claire Martins” in the top 6 twitter accounts – are all journalists. I’m going to reach out to all three and see if they’ll write a piece for us on #mybackyard.
See, Jeanne Moos – that’s what happens when you Google yourself!
Claire Martin – aka The meteorologist/former broadcaster Claire Martin
For those of you wondering, here’s the Coleman’s notes version on the about-to-be-ratified Paris Agreement:
The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaption and finance starting in the year 2020.
The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries (including Canada – see photo) at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris (aka COP21) and was adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.
In the Paris Agreement, countries agree to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and do their best to keep it below 1.5 degrees C, compared with pre-industrial times.
It was decided at COP21 that the agreement would only come into legal force after 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions sanctioned it, and signed on the dotted line.
So in October, after the European Union ratified the agreement, there were enough countries that had formally recognized it, for the agreement to enter into force.
The agreement will take effect on 4 November 2016.
Believe it or not, agreeing to the rules laid out in the agreement, was the easy part. Achieving the goals will be much harder.
The Paris deal calls for countries to review their individual emissions targets every five years, to see if they can find ways to achieve deeper cuts as renewable energy technologies become better and cheaper.
The first review is set for 2018 – just a scant two years from now.