Silver Donald Cameron

Welcome to Silver Donald Cameron’s blog! Dr Cameron is the author of 19 books and of many plays, films, magazine articles, radio and TV scripts. He is currently the host and executive producer of and of its feature documentary, Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World. In 2019, he was appointed the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University, where he earlier served as professor, dean and writer-in-residence. He currently teaches an on-campus/online course called Green Rights.

Troubles, Trips and Triumphs

It’s been a daft little period for me — computer troubles, new opportunities and far too much travel. And alas, you can see the evidence here on the Green Interview site. But better things are coming. 

We are winning, you know. There are tens of millions of us around the world, and we are the future. The Occupy movement is the visible green shoot, but the rest of us are the roots, the soil and the rain.

But back to my silicon sorrows and techie troubles: Starting in July, everything electronic went wrong — coincidentally, it seems, but it felt like a conspiracy of the gods. My laptop suddenly began shutting down intermittently, and without warning. It took two trips to the dealer and two to the factory — over a period of four months — before that one got solved. In the meantime, my backup computer couldn’t be made to talk to the printer, and in any case the printer was tired and had developed an ungodly appetite for cartridges. Since the copier was also fading — it was 23 years old — why not get a new wireless printer-copier that would actually talk to the backup laptop? But then, of course, everything else in the office had to be reconfigured to talk to the printer.

Then the signal coming from the cable company started to flicker. Spotty internet connection. Not our fault, said the cable crowd. But it was, and eventually they had to put a booster on the incoming line.

Next, I bought an iPad because I wanted an e-book reader, and we needed a portable teleprompter for the new interviews we wanted to do. Thank God I did buy the iPad, because the back-up computer failed while the original computer was still in some remote repair shop. Of course all my email was stored on the original computer too. It was backed up, yes, but it wasn’t easily accessible. So, to break my reliance on individual computers, our web-whiz Neil Kenny got me onto Gmail. Like the iPad, Gmail was wonderful — but now I had new devices and new software to learn, and I had been abruptly launched into the new world of cloud computing …

You get the idea. And this is not the whole story, not by a long shot.

During all this, having had a very busy September doing speeches in Nova Scotia, I was preparing for a trip to Toronto and the west coast to do other business, collect some new Green Interviews, and deliver a speech in Winnipeg. I left Nova Scotia September 30, clutching the backup computer, which failed in Vancouver. I began writing this update on the plane on the way home, on October 22, on the iPad.

But I’m happy. It’s been a wonderful trip, and I’ve met some great people. Chris Beckett, our director/videographer, flew up to meet me in Toronto, and we then went on to the coast together. We made a tentative deal to distribute The Green Interview more widely, and collected seven new Green Interviews in Seattle, Vancouver and three locations in northern Vancouver Island. We also visited two innovative aquaculture sites for an upcoming special presentation on aquaculture.

And then Chris flew home to start editing the new video, while I stopped for a couple of days in Winnipeg. There I delivered a keynote speech to the annual gathering of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, otherwise known as CCEDNet, a wonderful national alliance of community development organizations — great people doing good work, all across the country. My tribe. It was a joy to be with them.

An ironic juxtaposition: kitty-corner from my hotel was the flagship store of the Hudson’s Bay Company, incorporated in 1670, the grand-daddy of corporations, the oldest commercial corporation in North America. I bought a couple of gifts there, and then I walked a couple of blocks to a park in front of the Legislature which honours not only Canada’s war dead, but also the men and women we have lost during our long tradition of peace-keeping — an unusual memorial, and a very moving one.

And there, just beyond the actual memorials, was a cluster of colourful tents, some tables, a few signs, a bunch of people hanging out together. An aboriginal woman was making hot-dogs, a young guy was walking on tightrope between a couple of trees, a dozen or so assorted folks were sitting around a brazier in the cool evening air. This happy little ad-hoc community was Occupy Winnipeg, the local flowering of the extraordinary movement that was sweeping the world, a movement that on the previous weekend had borne witness against corporate greed in 950 cities in 82 countries.

Alpha and omega, two blocks apart: the Hudson’s Bay Company dating from the very beginning of the corporate era, the Occupy movement hoping to bring that era to an end. I could contribute nothing except, briefly, my presence and my encouragement, and a tiny bit of cash. So I gave what I could, and flew home.

As I said before: We are winning, you know. There are tens of millions of us around the world, and we are the future. The Occupy movement is the visible green shoot, but the rest of us are the roots, the soil and the rain. All together, now — let’s grow!