Eat less meat, save the environment and pay less at the grocery store

Flexitarians have decreased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and reduced risk of cancer

Eat less meat, save the environment and pay less at the grocery storeFor a number of years, I talked about becoming a vegetarian. I could see the health and environmental benefits, but completely removing meat seemed a bit extreme for my tastes. I recently discovered flexitarianism, a vegetarian diet where one eats meat occasionally. I limit my intake of meat and seafood, but I can still enjoy…

My father’s legacy: strong opinions and even greater respect

Ours is a culture of dogmatism. And we buy into it when we put others into ideological boxes

My father’s legacy: strong opinions and even greater respectA wise person once wrote, “On their deathbed, no one ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’” There’s nothing wrong with being good in our chosen profession, but there’s certainly much more to a person’s life. My family recently said goodbye to our 89-year-old father. It’s very interesting to listen to…

Why the U.S. continues to drag its feet on gun control

Gun control is one of many issues on which American elected officials are far out of sync with constituents

Why the U.S. continues to drag its feet on gun controlGolden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is one of the most esteemed personalities in the National Basketball Association. After yet another school shooting in the United States, this time at an elementary school in Texas – following a mass shooting at a grocery store and another at a church – Kerr spoke up. His righteous…

How to maximize the meaning in our lives

There’s nothing more significant than living with meaning

How to maximize the meaning in our livesThere’s nothing more significant than living with meaning. This is the concept pondered by the Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl as he struggled to remain alive for three years in Nazi concentration camps. Frankl established the groundwork for his psychological theory on the importance of finding meaning in life before he was sent to Auschwitz. He…

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonize

Language and culture played a big role in helping the Irish survive and fueled their cultural renaissance

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonizeDecolonization is a word we often hear in Canada. In essence, it means to remove the colonial. That can mean different things to different people, and misconceptions often cause fear. Perhaps finding a relatively successful example of decolonization in process can help us understand the concept. Ireland was one of the first countries colonized by…

Trump the better man to negotiate end to Putin’s War?

Proved to be an effective negotiator while president, especially when dealing with dictators

Trump the better man to negotiate end to Putin’s War?Many people in the political mainstream will say, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day” when they discuss the viewpoints of left-leaning public intellectual Noam Chomsky. They will often say the same thing about Donald Trump, who is supported by the far right. Chomsky and Trump agree on issues far less than twice…

Free speech doesn’t necessarily mean informed speech

There is no evidence to support Jordan Peterson’s criticism of the Canadian education system

Free speech doesn’t necessarily mean informed speechPublic intellectuals offer valuable insights into understanding the world around us. They may not always be right but evaluating the validity of their arguments is a valuable exercise for any self-reflective citizen. Two of the most popular public intellectuals today are Noam Chomsky and Jordan Peterson. Chomsky leans to the left and Peterson leans to…

The high price of falling prey to cancel culture

Cancel culture plays right into the wheelhouse of those who are angry, fearful and manipulative

The high price of falling prey to cancel cultureThe Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘cancel culture’ as “the practice or tendency of engaging in mass cancelling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.” This is nothing new; we see numerous examples of what we now call cancel culture in history. Society cancelled people it disapproved of during witch hunts. The aristocracy was…

Western leaders ignore their own genocidal acts

Leaders in NATO countries are guilty of crimes against humanity, yet only Africans are tried

Western leaders ignore their own genocidal actsIn recent months, words like genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have been used extensively in the media. These are important legal terms, and they shouldn’t be used loosely. Using them as political weapons risks making them meaningless. The word ‘genocide’ was coined in 1944 by Polish-Jewish law professor Raphael Lemkin after he studied…

Plenty of blame in a world of strife

How is the Russian invasion of Ukraine different from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq?

Plenty of blame in a world of strifeAmerican writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Fiction reveals the truth that reality obscures.” I admit I’ve never been a great fan of fiction; I prefer writing that spells out the author’s perspective on what’s actually happening in the world. But there are times when nothing speaks the truth more effectively than a great…

Does the Pope’s apology really mean reconciliation is coming?

Catholic church doctrine was used to justify colonization, subjugation and exploitation worldwide

Does the Pope’s apology really mean reconciliation is coming?The papal apology to the Indigenous peoples of Canada on April 1 was an extraordinary moment for the individuals whom Pope Francis addressed directly. And it has the potential for much broader implications. In the days leading up to the apology, Francis listened intently and embraced the pain of the residential school survivors who spoke…

Where do we draw the line on pandemic profiteering?

Vaccines can’t only go to the highest bidder. Industry must be made to do what’s best for the public good

Where do we draw the line on pandemic profiteering?Two years ago, Matt Colvin was the most hated man in America. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he had almost 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and was charging up to $70 per bottle, delivered. Colvin had been making a living by following the supply-and-demand principle of economics. He would study market trends, buy…

Change will come if we stay true to our values

Set goals, follow principles, choose our attitudes and actions, and things have a way of turning out

Change will come if we stay true to our valuesThe mantra of American meditation expert Bill Harris is: “Let whatever happens be okay.” Harris was talking about the process of meditation, which can lead to tremendous inner peace. It can also put a person to sleep or even result in temporary discomfort. When meditating, any outcome is fine, though we may need some guidance…

Only by embracing humanity as sacred can we end bloodshed

When we embrace the humanity of one another, borders don't matter and enemies become friends

Only by embracing humanity as sacred can we end bloodshedSince the end of the Cold War, there has been almost endless war and genocide. This century has seen Afghanistan and Iraq torn apart by violence. We’ve watched the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world continue in Yemen year after year, and we’ve yet to see an end to the conflicts in Syria and the…

We can’t hide our heads in the sand over racism

Ignore mistakes of the past or allow racist policies in the present and we embrace our own demise

We can’t hide our heads in the sand over racismThere has been a great deal of discussion in the American media about the teaching of critical race theory. Some states have passed legislation to prevent the discussion of this topic in schools, and others have similar bills before their elected assemblies. Michigan is one of these states, and I recently came across a document…

How each of us can stand up to megalomaniacs like Putin

Manipulative fantasy crises and villains fail to gain traction when met with healthy public skepticism

How each of us can stand up to megalomaniacs like PutinThe world has been shocked by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in neighbouring Ukraine and we all watch in horror as millions of people are made to suffer. What lessons does this situation reveal about our humanity? We’re capable of responding to people in need with empathy. The media coverage of the Ukraine crisis has…

Respect was once a cornerstone of Canadian society

You can disagree with the opinions but you must always show respect to the person who presents them

Respect was once a cornerstone of Canadian societyAs a Canadian, I was deeply saddened by a recent exchange in the House of Commons between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of the Opposition. Trudeau said, “Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas. They can stand with people who wave the Confederate flag.” In fact, interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen…

Protesters don’t understand freedoms, responsibilities of being a Canadian

Time to condemn the actions of neo-fascist protesters

Protesters don’t understand freedoms, responsibilities of being a CanadianThe trucker convoy to Ottawa has placed Canada under the international spotlight. I wonder what the world is thinking. We hear people shouting “freedom,” but I sincerely question whether they know the meaning of the word. I’ve talked to friends and family who’ve lived in countries where people aren’t free, and we’re scratching our heads.…

Patrice Lumumba left a legacy we can’t ignore

Canada, among other Western nations, was culpable for his murder

Patrice Lumumba left a legacy we can’t ignoreMalcolm X called Patrice Lumumba “The greatest black man ever to walk the continent of Africa.” Lumumba was a very principled man – and one who’s still revered 61 years after his murder. Lumumba was the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He brought people together because he embraced the highest…

We risk educational disaster if we don’t treat our teachers better

Canadian taxpayers get a bargain on the backs of teachers

We risk educational disaster if we don’t treat our teachers betterCanada has one of the finest education systems in the world. It provides the backbone of our well-trained workforce and our strong economy. In addition, our schools have been great equalizers, providing the children of immigrants to our country with the opportunity to thrive and thus further enrich Canada. But our education system is struggling…

How to reconcile the great Covid vaccination divide

The biggest threat to reconciliation is an us-versus-them mentality

How to reconcile the great Covid vaccination divideMy siblings, a professor of medical sciences and a veterinarian, often get a chuckle from my lack of scientific knowledge. I always found the social sciences much more interesting, so I’ve chosen to focus on understanding human behaviour with the goal of building a kinder, more co-operative and functional world community. One obvious truth is…

What Elvis Costello got right in Oliver’s Army

Neocolonialism and huge military budgets are prevalent. So is the myth that militarism means order

What Elvis Costello got right in Oliver’s ArmyIn our age of cancel culture, it seems odd to see an artist cancelling himself. New-wave icon Elvis Costello recently asked radio stations not to play one of the most popular original hits of his storied career, Oliver’s Army. He added that he will no longer perform the song publicly. The song contains the n-word,…

In defence of Bishop Desmond Tutu

Was Tutu an anti-Semite and bigot, as some claim?

In defence of Bishop Desmond TutuOn Dec. 26, the world said goodbye to Bishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner and tireless advocate for human rights. He’s best known for his non-violent struggle against and triumph over apartheid, the white-only, racist system of government in South Africa that oppressed Tutu and his countrymen for decades. Lifelong activist Ralph…

No one in the world is safe until everyone is safe

COVID doesn’t care if you’re a capitalist or a socialist

No one in the world is safe until everyone is safeAs I sat recovering from the side effects of my third COVID-19 vaccine, certain things didn’t add up. First of all, I know a number of good, intelligent people who are choosing not to get vaccinated. Of course, there are some very unkind individuals among them who harass our health-care workers and people in the…

Building the root system for personal success

Live with integrity and gratitude, work hard, be kind to others and focus on your potential

Building the root system for personal successThe Chinese bamboo tree shows little or no apparent signs of growth for four years. Then suddenly, it can grow as much as 25 metres in weeks. That’s a powerful metaphor for the growth of successful people. Over those apparently-dormant four years, the tree actually is growing; we just can’t see it. It’s developing an…

How ordinary people can survive the worst of capitalism

We’re the 99 per cent and the one per cent is powerless without our co-operation

How ordinary people can survive the worst of capitalismAs we move into a new year, we see many problems in the world and much that needs to change. We often forget, however, that the most significant force for good looks back at us each time we gaze into the mirror. We live in a capitalist society, and capitalism has brought us many good…

In search of the perfect Christmas? Good luck

How to avoid a Clark Griswold meltdown and having a SWAT team invade our home

In search of the perfect Christmas? Good luckNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has become a holiday season staple in many homes. The film, released in 1989, portrays the misadventures of the Griswold family as the main character Clark tries to create the perfect family Christmas. While the film is genuinely funny, there’s something more profound that appeals to us. Perhaps it’s the fact…

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faith

If we share peace and goodwill with others, we find them growing within us

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faithThough it’s technically the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for Christians, many traditions merge to form what we call Christmas. Some traditions are indeed Christian but others aren’t. Some date from eras before Jesus was born and some are more recent. One of the most endearing today is that of Santa Claus, the…

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of Christmas

The Christmas tree is a universal symbol that delivers a message of endurance and light during the dark winter months

The traditional German song O Tannenbaum is often translated as O Christmas Tree. This translation is only partly accurate, however. The English version is quite different from the German: the essence of the German song is far more universal. One of the beauties of learning languages is discovering what words and poetry mean to those…

Exploiting workers is a dark and lonely path to wealth

Many powerful people have become rich by exploiting workers

Exploiting workers is a dark and lonely path to wealthMany people seem to have forgotten a basic principle of life. Broadcaster and writer Earl Nightingale called it “the law of mutual exchange.” He explained further: “We’ve got to be of service before we can expect money.” Many powerful people over the last several centuries have acted as though this principle didn’t apply to them.…
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