Occupy Richmond Hill

I have been thinking a lot recently about Occupy Wall Street.

I like the time consecrated to deliberation. It takes time to disentangle want from need.

I have also thought that part of the slogan is about occupying in the sense of keeping busy. That is setting idle hands to work. Labour has intrinsic worth. This a lesson that was taught to me by my mother who passed away recently. And labour is not the same as toiling.

Riding home from her funeral, the point about valuing everyone's contribution was brought home to me. I don't drive. My nephew does. Indeed he earns a living as a mechanic but he is very much the arm-chair philosopher and loves to bounce ideas around. We got to talking about the economics of hybrid, electric and diesel. Especially how the environmental footprint of electric batteries is enormous.

He told me that Henry Ford's cars were originally designed to run on hemp oil. Big oil investors in his company squashed the idea.

I have been thinking about Toronto too and what occupation looks like in this city.

Toronto is very involved in a project of salvaging suburbia. And I wonder if one of the ways that can be accomplished is through resurrecting Henry Ford's hemp oil dream. Legalize pot. (Why should you be sick to partake of its healing properties?) Suburbia represents a vast untapped land resource for growing oil.

Institute a four day work week. Not to create an extended Sabbath but to create a day given over to corve, a day where neighbours can come together to share labour i.e. garden. (only a small percentage need to devote themselves; the others can engage in other activities)

Surely somewhere in the writings of Gandhi are to be found an economic model of how suburban hemp farming can work.

We already have municipal collection of garden waste for composting. The system could be adapted to pick up hemp from small suburban and city producers.

We already have a custom in Toronto of people setting out recyclable bottles for scavengers to pick up. Hemp pick up could function in a similar fashion.

Cheap and clean energy.

The wealth of nations can keep business occupied.  Wealth is created by citizens.

If this sounds like the pigs beneath Bartertown in Beyond the Thunderdome. It does. It is also inspired by a cross between Jane Jacobs and Clay Shirky. And of course McLuhan is in the mix.

What is a global village without its agrarian revolution?

And so for some day in the future


François Lachance said...

One of the readers of the Occupy Richmond Hill entry loved the image of community hemp councils. :) which upon reflection I now see. I think in the back of my mind was the anarchic bureacratism which I believe was the mode of government featured in Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany.

François Lachance said...

Another reader wrote an email with the subject line "Fuel producers in suburbia" and loved "the idea of suburbia becoming the next fuel corridor via pot grow ops." She also rifted on the human megaphone amplification noting that it worked through "chain reaction and unison. I thought that was an interesting McLuhanesque idea too." Me too.

François Lachance said...

I sent an email to a friend pointing to the Occupy Richmond Hill blog entry. She lives in Richmond Hill. In my message I wrote that the entry rifted on "a grassroots effort to salvage suburbia. It's some blue sky thinking."

She kindly wrote back:

I like it. The more grass roots economic activity the better, especially in the burbs. I am soooo tired of commuting - some days .... and some days I love the "liminal" space.

Yeah yeah yeah