A Drip At A Time

Written by Beverly Walker

(parishioner at St. John’s)

A Drip at a Time

It is very difficult to take a stance in our present culture that is informed by what the Bible teaches us, without becoming small p political. The headlines are stark with people trying to escape ravaged African countries only to drown by the hundreds in the Mediterranean Sea – within sight of land. Stories of leaders of governments and businesses in North Africa siphoning off billions of dollars into secret foreign bank accounts. Militant groups capturing, killing and enslaving their own people by the hundreds. And we wring our hands and say something must be done about all this. We must take in more refugees – we must give more aid to these countries – we must provide more military assistance – we must …. and on and on and on. And the multi-national companies maintain their devastating grip on these economies and peoples.

And here in our own country we have the oil sands in Alberta, natural gas and oil in the western provinces, oil off Newfoundland. The possibility of fracking for gas in Quebec.   We have a pipeline proposed to carry bitumen from the oil sands to both eastern Canada and the west coast. We have trains carrying crude oil in tanker cars that were not designed for such a load on rail beds that were not designed for the level of traffic that is occurring on them because of insufficient manpower to keep them maintained. And with virtuous fanfare, we are divesting ourselves of shares in oil companies to help inhibit global warming. Then too, it is the same multi-national companies behind the oil and gas industry in Canada.

Small armies of security forces protect the oil and gas fields of North Africa and further enable their exploitation. Small armies of lobbyists protect and promote the oil and gas fields of Canada and promote the future development.

Just out of curiosity, where do we think the oil that is coming to refineries in Eastern Canada is coming from? In the most part from the Middle East, but also from North Africa. So while we shut down production in Canada, where we have a modicum of control and can demand a standard of humane employment, we are helping to ramp up production in countries where to level of human suffering is such that the people are losing their lives trying to get to the shores of Greece, Italy and Spain.

For the most part, when we read the paper or go on the internet for news, we look at sports, entertainment and possibly lifestyle. It’s not that we are uncaring. The baseball scores, the latest celeb gossip or the newest advancement in Mr. Crapper’s invention are a part of our conversations, therefore of great interest. Africa has always been starving.   The Middle East has always been at war amongst themselves. The Far East has always had weather tragedies and earthquakes – so what else is new?

Poverty and hunger are the flesh eating disease of our time. We can ignore them at our peril but eventually they will overwhelm the body. What can we do? Support those leaders among us, in business, politics, church or media, who are proposing realistic, long term solutions – not just cosmetic photo-ops. But most of all, inform ourselves by questioning the information we are given and examining the sources of it. We can bring these concerns to the attention of our friends and colleagues – not to the point of just being a noise – but as and when a few words dropped into the conversation could spark a bit of interest. The verbal equivalent, I suppose, of water torture – a drip at a time – but just so long as you don’t become the ‘drip’.

Beverly Walker