"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau

 

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Wednesday
Sep112019

Why Do We Tax What We Tax?

History. Convention. That’s the simple answer.

Governments have always needed money to function, even democratic governments, but until about 150 years ago, they have not needed a great deal of money – unless a war was being financed. At the time of confederation and beyond, the Canadian government depended almost entirely on tariffs and excise taxes – taxes paid at the border for goods brought in, but also taxes on beaver pelts and other furs exported.

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Wednesday
Sep042019

We are Living Extravagantly

When it comes to energy use, we live extravagantly, or perhaps more accurately, we squander energy.

Suppose our destination is one kilometre away. We could walk there and expend 60 calories. Most likely these are surplus calories, calories that would be burnt whether we took that walk or not. Free calories. Alternatively we could use our 2000 lb. car to take us that kilometre. In this case we expend about 700 calories. These are fossil calories stored in the depths of the earth. Once gone, they’re gone.

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Saturday
Aug312019

Does Human Productivity equal Energy Efficiency?

We are facing two elections, one in Manitoba and one federally. Because we live in a democracy, we get to have some say in who our leaders will be; who will make policy and who will speak for us. We here at the South Eastman Transition Initiative would like for the discussion in the lead-up to these elections to focus on how we humans, the planet’s dominant species, relate to the planet we depend on. We think the crucial question is whether human activity is primarily one of stewardship or one of extraction; whether our focus is on leaving the planet a rich resource for our children or whether our focus is on extracting as much from the planet as we can for our own enjoyment.

To that end we will post a series of articles suggesting ways we look at the relationship we have with energy.

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Sunday
Aug252019

The “Automobile City”?

Steinbach has long put itself forward as “The Automobile City”. It seems the early Steinbach automobile dealers recognized that the future of transportation did not lie with horses. They promoted a switch to the automobile. These early automobile dealers were not only aggressive, but also visionary – that is, they saw that the future would not be like the past.

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Wednesday
Aug142019

BS Jobs

When I was a boy growing up on a farm in the 1950s, a farmer tilling his fields was typically driving at 25 HP tractor. Farmers today typically drive 400 HP tractors. Need I tell you how much more today's farmer gets done in the same time as yesteryear's farmer?

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