Monthly Archives: December 2011

Another year older and deeper in debt


While brainstorming for a new Footprint in Mouth cartoon, I looked over one I did four years ago when the Bali accord failed. Since then, Canada’s Great Fail has continued with Copenhagen in 2009 and Durban just this month. It brings to mind the old Violent Femmes song: Another year older and deeper in carbon debt – and as the effects of climate change worsen, our efforts to speed up its rate only intensify.

This cartoon was literally Swiftian. And burning babies is still Harper’s implicit policy, as he incinerates thier future, giving the world they’ll inherit an infinitesimally small priority compared to, say, putting more children in jail, in larger and ever-more Kafkaesque prisons, or filling the deep pockets of oil company shareholders. (True confession: I hold pension funds in the tar sands. Almost anyone who has a pension in Canada does – even those with so-called “ethical” mutual funds.)

This 2007 cartoon was timed for the holidays, right after the Bali conference. We face an even grimmer future after the fiasco of Durban.

Happy holidays.

(Below, the cartoon that led up to the one above.)




This cartoon was inspired by the green-washing of the Melancthon Quarry site, which makes the whole thing seem less disruptive than farming (chemical-free processing! no more nitrogen residue or water use than farming!).

I just had fun with the locavoracious idea – gravel instead of food.

That gravel pile took about an hour to ink. I’ll sue Highland for a repetitive stress injury!

There was one comment that stood out somewhere in Highland’s marketing – that aggregate is one of the bases of civilization. It almost made me spew my coffee (oh, when our civilization goes down, that will be what humankind will miss), but I couldn’t find a home for it in the cartoon.

In a way, I’m just repeating a lot of Highland’s claims (“chemicals aren’t used in the processing of the gravel”), but they seem so absurd it’s funny.

Additional sources:

$18 million per acre:

If you’re looking for in-depth information about why this would a create sort of mini-tarsands in Ontario, check out  North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce. There’s a lot of good information here. The site for the No Mega Quarry movement is here.

I was going to caricaturize the Highland rep, John Lowndes, who met with farmers to buy their land, but he is a bit of a shadowy character without good photos on the web. The money behind him is Baupost Group (their site is locked – also very shadowy) which is a hedge fund led by Seth Klarman. There are plenty of photos of him. See this article for more about him.