This Product May Cause…

It’s no secret that smoking keeps the tobacco industry in business. Throughout most of the 20th Century, the tobacco industry has publicly argued that:

  • Nicotine was not addictive
  • The link between cancer and smoking was not proven
  • The industry had not sought to recruit young people to smoking.

For decades this industry has adamantly denied the truth about their highly deadly, addictive product, and in turn, many have suffered and died horrendously because of it.

That was then, and this is now, they can no longer deny or hide behind the lies and fabrication.

This is industry worldwide is solely responsible for 5.4 million deaths per year. Every 6.5 seconds a current or former smoker dies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

What’s left of this dying archaic industry has been forced to show the graphic end results of their product on its packaging. But will that be enough to deter people from lighting up? Well, it certainly won’t hurt.

What about other industries that are the root cause of things like, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers, Isn’t it time that they owned up to their own horrors?

Last year it was estimated, that worldwide there were 1.5 billion people suffering from obesity, while 925 million were considered undernourished. Isn’t this morally considered a pandemic?

Who ever thought the day would come when excess nutrition would cause more deaths than under nutrition.

We live in the age of overconsumption and overweight, were constantly being told to buy more and eat more. The problem being that the foods we consume are mostly empty calories that are killing us, making us sick and growing our ever expanding waistlines.

Knowing that cheap, low quality, convenient food stuffs are causing us so much hurt, doesn’t it make sense to warn us of their potential dangers?

Well in the perfect world, corporations and those in power would care, but when it comes to push or shove, or dollars and sense, dollars always win.

This is an insane culture, the corporations that feed us are killing us, and in turn the medical system that keeps us alive is thriving. Just think if a cure for cancer was found, thousands of medical personal and researchers would lose their jobs instantly.

People are getting sick, and business is a booming.

Imagine if we did live in a just, morally responsible culture, that didn’t care about profits and growth. Imagine if all products had graphic warnings on them, indicating what could happen if we choose to consume them.

Would we as consumers be better able to make an informed, moral and logical decision?

Just think if you walked into your local McDonalds and were given the option to up size your Big Mac meal, but before you made that decision you see on the menu marquee next to the up size option a graphic image of someone getting liposuction or a triple heart bypass.

Would this make you think twice before saying yes?

As long as we are led to believe that products that can kill us are safe, we will continue to put our blind faith in the corporations and governments to protect us.

Not until, that changes, unfortunately for us, nothing else will.

By: Master Tim Bell

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The Bayers Road Corridor from Hell

Sometimes I wonder if some our elected officials are just stuck in the “Hot Tub Time Machine” you know, that hit movie where the characters go back to the 80’s in a hot tub, or if they are just oblivious to the times that we live in today.

Whomever came up with this archaic, out dated and completely asinine plan to increase the size of a residential street from 4 lanes to eventually 12 is either spending too much time in that “Hot Tub Time Machine” or quite possibly hung up on the 70’s, or both.

Let’s face it, this is one project that has been beat, whipped, euthanized and put out of its misery a few times now, but like the Energizer Bunny it keeps on coming back for more.

When I presented a question to Mr. McCusker, the city manager of strategic transportation planning, at the recent citizen’s  information meeting, on whether any environmental, sustainability or health studies were performed, Mr. McCuster, with what looked like an uncomfortable, sheepish moment, meekly said, no.

Here’s a project that firstly will not only cost taxpayers 290 Million Dollars (2009 estimate) including highway expansion to Fall River, but will also displace residents from their homes, split a longtime neighborhood in half,  and completely destroy the community on the peninsula’s west end, forever.

Now I don’t know how stupid or gullible they think residents are, but even a cave man could see that this is so wrong, on so many different levels.

How in the name of cripes could so much time, resources and money be wasted drawing up a plan of this humongous magnitude, without someone doing due diligence and looking at what this could do to the affected residents, health, happiness & welfare, their community and homes, along with the health of the land base.

Other than the fact that the human element was removed from the equation, the planners seem to think that it’s business as usual, no matter if it’s today or in the year 2030. The reality is that we live on a planet that is much different than the one you and I we’re born on. We’re faced with runaway global warming, thanks mostly to our love affair with fossil fuels, we are pretty well at peak everything, oil, resources and planet, and to put it bluntly we are at the crossroads in our existence, you can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet.

That’s a fact Jack!

So knowing all this, is it really such a grandiose idea to displace an entire community and way of life in order to put a few more fossil fueled cars on the peninsula, at a staggering cost of 290 Million Dollars, knowing full well that the age of oil is coming to an end? Well not unless you’re stuck in the “Hot Tub Time Machine” or hung up on the 70’s, you’ll probably agree, It’s time to put this puppy to rest, once and for all.

To find the answer to our nightmare, all we have to do is gaze across the pond at our European brethren.

Many cities have chosen to become more people friendly than car friendly, with better and more bike lanes, alternative transportation and walkways for pedestrian’s, they have actually made it a focal point to discourage people from driving, by making it an inconvenience and a hassle to use their cars.

I guess they don’t remember the 70’s nor have a Hot Tub Time Machine’s in Europe.

All it would take for a paradigm shift is to elect leaders and representatives that have vision and an imagination, ones that are able to think outside of the box, instead of in.

These are two attributes that seem to be nonexistent in this case.

Wider roads and more cars is not the answer, not even close. We can no longer operate like it was business as usual, because it’s painfully obvious that it’s not.

Halifax has an incredible opportunity here, we are at the precibus of either making the most expensive mistake in our city’s history, or we could be the ones who are the change we want to see, in setting the groundwork for a more sustainable, viable and community oriented future that will outlive us.

If we choose the former, what do we tell our grand kids, when they ask the question, Why did you choose cars over people?

The choice is ours, the future is watching.

By: Master Tim Bell