Jul 14

May 29, 2013 – Week #25


It was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze. I’m wearing my t-shirt “No warships: Green jobs”. I’m alone.

I have come to my protest straight from my sons’ school. For the past two weeks, I have been busy helping to organize the school’s gardens and grounds project. We have to get the soil in the raised beds ready so that the elementary students can plant their vegetable seeds. We are also planning to build a bog, butterfly gardens and an orchard in our schoolyard this spring so there has been a lot of planning. I love gardening and growing things – I love seeing plants and flowers sprouting up from the earth. I especially love gardening with kids – they love to plant and water.

Gardening is creating life – such a contrast to warships that cause death and destruction. I recall an article in the 2010 edition of Canadian Geographic in which University of Calgary professor Rob Huebert said the navy is designed “to kill people and break things.” 

As I’m thinking about gardening, a navy guy walks by me. “Happy Wednesdays against Warships,” I said to him.

He looked at me angrily and snarled, “What do you want? Do you want us to bend over and get fucked in the ass by the enemy?”

“Who’s the enemy,” I ask.

“The US,” he says and walks away.

A few minutes later, several tall, muscular military men walked toward me. They are wearing naval caps with HMCS Star on them and are an imposing group. I have never heard of that ship before. Out on a busy street in broad daylight, I’m not intimidated by these guys, but I thought that I would feel very uncomfortable surrounded by so many men on a Canadian frigate. The percentage of women in the Canadian navy is less than 15%.

Then, a young navy guy walked up and stands beside me at the crosswalk.

“Hi, how long have you been in the navy?” I ask him.

“Eight years,” he replies.

“How’s it been going?”

“OK. It’s just a job,” he answers.

Later, an older, tall naval officer dressed in a white uniform walks up to the crosswalk.

I haven’t seen him before so I give him my spiel, “Happy Wednesdays against Warships. I protest here every Wednesday because I’m opposed to the federal government spending $25 billion of our tax dollars to build new warships.”

“That’s nice, dear,” he states condescendingly and crosses the street.

With approximately 15 minutes left in my protest, Sharon, a member of the Voice of Women for Peace, joins me. It is nice to have her company. She is always very encouraging about my protest and says things like “You’re doing a good thing.”

A white truck with Lockheed Martin’s logo emblazoned on it drives into the shipyard. I shake my head at driver. I can’t help thinking about how much I despise this corrupt weapons dealer.

Finally, a couple of Irving employees walk by.

I give them my usual greeting, because I don’t recognize them.

“I have seen you here before,” the suited young man says to me smiling.

“Oh,” I didn’t realize I have talked to him before, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”

“I hope you are wearing sunscreen. You could burn,” he said seriously.

“Thank you for your concern,” I replied. That’s nice I thought.

“Have you checked out my web site,” I asked.

“Yes, I already have,” he stated, smiled and carried on to work.

7 honks, 1 wave, 1 peace sign, 1 head shake

Dedication: I’m dedicating my post to gardeners like, Ron Finley, a guerilla gardener in South Central, Los Angeles. Watch his incredible TED talk about his food forest in the inner city. Check out his great beyond gardening web site! That’s what we need to do be doing – gardening, growing food and creating life not “killing people and breaking things.”

Jul 14

May 22, 2013 – Week #24

It was windy and rainy. I was by myself.

A few minutes after standing with my signs, a motorcyclist drove into the shipyard, pulled over and said to me, “Don’t you want me to have a job?”

I walked over to him and pointed to my sign “No Warships: Green Jobs” and replied, “Yes, I do. I want you to have a great job with a good salary and benefits but not building warships.”

A tall young guy walked out and looked a little bewildered at me.

“Hi,” I said to him, “Happy Wednesday against Warships.”

“Hi,” he replied and acted like he was no’t sure what direction to turn. He was wearing a suit and figured that he worked for Irving.

“How long have you worked for Irving?” I asked.

“Two days,” he replied.

I laughed and gave him my spiel, “I’m here protesting because I’m opposed to the federal government spending our taxes to build warships. It should be spent on building a green economy.”

“I see,” he said, smiled and walked away.

Quite a few cars were stopped at the red light in front of me.

I noticed a young woman in the passenger side of a car stopped in the furthest lane looking at me.

Then, she rolled down her window and shyly said to me “I agree with you.”

The light changed and the car drove off.

Her brave act of support made my day.

11 honks, 3 waves, 1 thumbs up, one “I agree with you” and 3 fingers.

Dedication: I am dedicating my protest to everyone involved in climate justice work around the world. There is an exacerbating climate crisis. On May 13, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that for the first time, they have monitored 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. See the graphs here.

Listen to Democracy Now’s coverage here: “Climate Tipping Point? Concentration of Carbon Dioxide Tops 400 ppm for First Time in Human History”

Evening, May 22 NS NDP “Women & Wine” & Warships?

I found out that there was a “Women & Wine” Fundraiser being held at Alexa McDonough’s condominium to raise money for female NDP candidates in the upcoming provincial election. In the past, I worked alongside many of these women, like Tanis Crosby, on early learning & childcare campaigns and feminist causes. I wanted to let them know that warships, which the NDP supports, are not good for women and children, so I decided to go down to protest with my signs outside the political shindig. As the NDP women party-goers walked by, I told them that I was opposed to Dexter giving a $260 million forgivable loan to Irving to upgrade the shipyard and flashed my sign “Women: Rise against Violence; Rise against Warships” – many of them looked irritated or embarrassed as they walked by me. I wondered how they could support Dexter and the Nova Scotia NDP when it has been such a terrible, militaristic, corporatist, anti-environment provincial government. Not one NDP woman has spoken out publicly to challenge Dexter on giving Irving a handout for warship construction. Not one NDP woman said those tax dollars should not go to Irving, but instead go to a publicly funded early learning & child care program, education, or affordable housing – not one NDP woman spoke out – not one.