A Love Letter to My Grandson

 Dear Liam

Welcome to the world. Your mother had quite a time bringing you into this world, but we’re all very glad you’re here. I love you even though I haven’t met you yet. I hope to see you for the first time this weekend.

You were born at a most auspicious time (for me mostly, but I’m a male and like most males you’ll soon learn that you are the most important person in your life). You arrived just a few days after a federal election was called in Canada. The election date is October 19, which means that I’ll be extra busy for the next… what… 42 weeks? This lengthy campaign time helps the big established parties. I am a candidate for a smaller one called the Green Party. But that’s okay. No one is forcing me to run.

I hope you read this sometime when you’re here at the farm, surrounded by lush green forests, as I am today. I spent my day in my garden full of wonderful vegetables. I picked beans today for our CSA members. Lots of beans. I picked beans all day while your grandmother worried about your arrival. I worried too, but I still had to pick beans. If the place still looks great when you are old enough to appreciate  it, it will mean I have been successful in my campaigning. It will mean we have put a price on carbon and we are in the process of de-carbonizing our lives and the economy. This is a good thing.  A really, really important thing.

It’s important because as I write this the scientists who study the climate are very worried. They are seeing signs that we have to burn fewer fossil fuels because the climate is starting to behave erratically, like your grandfather often will when you visit.

I’m running for the Green Party because I love you, even though I haven’t held you yet. I want you to enjoy as marvelous a world as I have grown up in and enjoyed my whole life. I’m also running in honor of your great grandfather. Your mom called him “Papa.” Papa worked all day making steel and came home and gardened and spent a great deal of time working for the New Democratic Party (we’ll call them the orange party). He worked very hard for them and yet they never formed a government in Canada. But so many of the wonderful things we enjoy as Canadians … unemployment insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, maternity leave, and universal health care, came about because of them. They just kept hammering at these issues until the other two bigger parties decided to get with the program and implement them. We’ll call them the Red and Blue parties, although if we’ve been assimilated into the United States by the time you read this, it will be the opposite of which party you think is which.

Your long, arduous arrival to this world was aided by midwives and a doula and doctors and nurses in a very expensive hospital. It didn’t cost your parents a penny. This is because Papa and his “orange party” managed to convince everyone else that if we shared the cost of healthcare, if we spread it out over the entire population, healthy and not healthy, rich and poor, we’d all be better off. Your great grandfather was awesome and I loved him very much too.

And so I’m going to be spending my time over the first few months of your life trying to convince people that we need to spread the pain of dealing with climate change out equally over everyone by putting a price on carbon. Our government will take that money and put it aside in its own bank account (like I’d like to set up for you if I had any money) and we’ll give everyone their share of that fee every quarter in a ‘dividend’ cheque. Ask your parents what that is. They can do with it what they like. I think most people will try and figure out ways to burn less carbon and the marketplace will help them, and we’ll all be better off.

Some people will say “But other bigger countries aren’t doing it, why should we?” It’s because ultimately all countries will de-carbonize and it’s way better to lead than to follow. That way we’ll be ready and we’ll create some awesome new jobs and technologies and people will say “I want to be like Canadians!”

My Green party is led by an awesome woman named Elizabeth May. The Green Party in the U.S. is led by an awesome woman named Jill Stein. They are very smart and work very hard and I hope they will lead our two countries soon. The job of the Green Party is very hard, but a great U.S. President, J.F.K., talked about taking the hard road (or one of his speech writers wrote) “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things,‪ not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”

This climate disruption thing is very much like that. We have to win. Maybe you’ll read this some day just after you get back from swimming down at Fifth Depot Lake. How awesome is swimming in a fresh water lake!

Rather than running around during an election, especially at this time of year when the farm is very busy, I’d rather sit and watch Netflix on the TV. It’s awesome. By the time you read this they will probably be beaming content into a microchip in your cerebral cortex to save on bandwidth. But they’ll be no Netflix for me for a while.

When you get older and come to the farm we’ll go on long hikes. And I’ll show you how to use a chainsaw (when your mom says you’re old enough). And we’ll build forts! Oh the forts we will build together. And I hope you come to love the peace and quiet here the way I do. And the birds and the trees. They’ll still be doing their carbon sequestration thing because The Green Party managed to get a price on fossil fuel carbon and the marketplace, and the people who interact in it daily, made better choices. I hope your great grandfather is proud of me, even if I don’t win this election. I hope you’re proud of me too. And I’ll stop trying just about the time you’re old enough to build forts. And then I’ll put all my efforts into helping you build the most awesomest fort ever!

Love,

Grandpa

p.s. Your grandmother will say stuff like “Oh your grandfather just wrote that blog for therapy.” Always believe your grandmother.

ppss. Sorry about not setting up a bank account for you. It’s because I don’t make any money running a CSA or running for the Green Party. But I have a box of hockey cards with your name on it! Just wait until we put them on the spokes of your bike.. they will make your bike sound so cool!

pppsss. When your grandmother bakes you a raspberry or blueberry pie…sure… she deserves hugs and kisses, but don’t forget who planted and weeded and pruned and watered and fertilized the dam plants for years.

ppppssss. Sorry I said ‘dam’. I hope you’re mother isn’t one of those mothers who won’t allow bad words around her kids. If she is, just remember I love you very much, even though I probably won’t talk much when you’re here (for fear of saying too many bad words!)

Baby

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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