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Sustainable peace

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As world leaders in politics and industry begin to consider sustainable concepts for the future, just the word "sustainability" is often enough to unleash a conservative backlash against all things liberal, environmentally sensible, and inherently peaceful.

There are people out there who are doing everything they can to discredit the sustainability movement – they don’t believe in global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, the three Rs, soil erosion, or species at risk, and blithely assume that there can actually be safe levels for chemicals and toxins in the environment.

If you are for a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue, you are branded as a coward, a freedom freeloader, a supporter of terrorism, "old Europe," or a peace-loving hippy.

If you are for better gas mileage, smaller cars, and pushing the shift towards environmentally-friendly and renewable energy sources, you’re branded as anti-business, anti-consumer and anti-Alberta – see "Think Fast Hippy!" bumper stickers.

If you are for socialized health care and education, then you’re against free enterprise, and for big government and high taxes. You’re also a bleeding heart liberal, and socialist. Go back to your commune, hippy!

If you’re for making sane environmental decisions involving our land, air and water, then you’re a lazy, tree-hugging, granola-munching hippy who has no concept of how the economy works.

Well, if being pro-peace, pro-environment and pro-society makes you some kind of a hippy, then everyone I know is a hippy.

Well, practically everyone. There are still a few people I know who will argue for a war in Iraq, big oil, or privatized health care long into the night, but the majority of my peers seem to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world today.

Still, the right-wing has its way. The conservatives are becoming more belligerent every day, shouting down the growing number of moderate voices from their positions of power.

They say they have to shout loudly to be heard over the so-called liberal media, but take a look around the country – what liberal media are they talking about? In 2000, CanWest bought out Hollinger and Southam newspaper holdings. In 2001, CanWest acquired the controlling share of The National Post.

Now the media giant owns 14 large city dailies (including both The Province and The Vancouver Sun), 120 dailies and weeklies, and the Global TV network. Media concentration is at an all-time high in this country, and it’s concentrated in the wrong hands.

In addition to owning all of these media properties, CanWest has shown again and again that they expect their editors and columnists to toe their conservative line, and rewarded the few true journalists in their organization that dared to air a dissenting voice by giving them pink slips.

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