Monday, July 8, 2013

Seniors Scene

An Air About Her

A World Sustained: Nepal, India, Africa "greener" than Canada

Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack/Voice file photo

'm planning a trip to Edmonton for University of Alberta Alumni Weekend Sept 25 to 29. I graduated from the diploma nursing program spring 1944 and the BSc in nursing 1945.


That means it is 69 years since I became an RN, and 68 that I have had a BSc. I thought of waiting to go to Edmonton for my 70th anniversary, but I have decided to go now and, if feasible, again in two years' time.


Keep me healthy Chilliwack residents, all of you. Please clean up the smog. Twelve months of the year my eyes and nose itch and run and my sinuses and left ear are often blocked. I cough a lot from my scratchy throat.

Go on keep pretending that air pollution has improved. The particulates have just become smaller. Who is doing anything about replacing the use of fossil fuels with solar, wind, waves and geothermal energy? Why are we slow in Canada? in Chilliwack? There is no need to wait for government to install large equipment.

The basic knowledge of alternate fuels already exists and has been applied with little expense in small applications. In 1979 when I visited an Edmonton doctor in a mission hospital near Mt Anapurnama in Nepal, I saw that she used a modern surgery lamp during operations, and had electric lights every evening, from solar panels on the roof.

When I worked in Lesotho, southern Africa in 1991, the majority of homes in Maseru the capital, had solar panels on their roofs. By helicopter, I visited a nurse in a remote mountainous area. Her solar panel provided her with some light bulbs and lots of hot water.

I live on Cheam Avenue, but every year my name sake mountain is shrouded more and more days with smog. The scenery has been ruined. How can we conscientiously invite friends and tourists to see our no longer scenic valley?

Why waste money on prolonging the use of fossil fuel with pipe lines and fracking? The smog in China is already extremely serious and it drifts over here too. It is penny wise and pound foolish to export raw materials to China.

So I am going by either bus or VIA rail to celebrate in Edmonton. I guess it will have to be bus because I don't have the where-with-all to go to Agassiz to catch the train. I am not going by plane because I lack transportation to the airport. Besides why add car exhaust to the air unnecessarily?

I'll have a short stopover in Jasper to see a nursing classmate, the only one of 14 of us I have been able to locate. It seems we have outlived the rest. But in Edmonton I still have an aunt, some cousins and a friend from my home town Vegreville, who invited me to stay with her. Poor me; I am rich. One of the cousins told me she is going to get together a family reunion from other parts of Alberta, to meet while I am there.

As a reminder, I'll tell you again that my maternal great grandfather who was born in Poland on a swampy dairy farm and who, as a newly wed in 1863 moved to Volhynia, Russia to marshy forest land. He already had skills needed to drain and improve land.


In the Edmonton area in 1894, his sons were not old enough to get homesteads, so at last in 1902 he found wet land at Haylakes near Camrose, asked for it to be surveyed and then claimed it for homesteads for the young men. They soon were selling hay as far away as Saskatchewan, running a dairy, selling milk and cheese in Edmonton and thriving. The point is that this was hard labour-intensive work.

In Canada, farmers now have huge farms and use expensive machinery, instead of employing sons, daughters and hired men and women, as we did when I was a child. Why do we Canadians now put up with excesses of homelessness, unemployment and underemployment?


Let's rediscover the value of manpower in labour intensive employ. Use of horses again would also be wise, and a joy for youth. Why not? It is nonsense to waste money and time on a mud racing car for youth. Was it progress to buy expensive tractors and combines to fill the air with smog? The profit goes to owners of machinery factories, where the top brass get the lions' share of the profits.

The farmers are paid a pittance for the vast amount of grain they grow. It is nonsense to buy expensive bakers' bread and dry cereals, over-processed and stripped of nutrients. The economic gain goes to the middle men as dad used to say, but now we know that it is the multinational administrators not the workers who get the profit. This wide discrepancy in earnings must be corrected. Christy Clark, cut back at the top, not at the service end.

In India my senior single lady missionary was from a Manitoba farm. She grew up in a family of three daughters and no sons. Her parents chose her as the farmer and repair person for vehicles. The second sister became a professor in home economics and nutrition. The third married a minister. I've forgotten who did gardening.


My friend in India drove and maintained her jeep in the Eastern Ghat Mountains where we worked, and she was a remarkable evangelist. Before my second year language exam I spent two weeks on tour with her. She had remarkable skill in teaching, singing and story telling. People of all ages listened eagerly. She changed the topic and style every 10 or 15 minutes.

Let's teach our youth to practice pioneer initiatives and work ethic. In this overpopulated world, where floods and war are overwhelming, there are even more serious problems to overcome now, than 100 years ago. Let's not drift and wait for others to start. It is up to us as individuals to set an example and get friends and neighbours to join us in local endeavours. Waiting for officials to take the lead is discouraging.

There are many ways we can cut down on air pollution. We can use less paper and plastics and recycle all we use. We can make compost to fertilize our gardens and fields and stop overuse of chemicals and exotic cleaning supplies. Old fashioned ways are more effective and less polluting.


Grandparents should be allowed to help out and their methods respected. We can make chores fun and an inspiration for children. They are more convinced than adults are about the wastefulness of modern living.


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