Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 12, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, LETHBRIDGE A world perspective: can man survive? As a tribute to the one hundredth birthday of the city of Winnipeg, The Great-West Life Assurance Company will hold a centennial symposium at the Centennial Concert Hall, October 27-30. Entitled the Dilemmas of Modern Man, the symposium has been designed to bring together some of the world's out- standing thinkers to discuss where man has been, where he's at, and where he's going. To stimulate public interest in some of the major areas of concern with which the sym- posium will deal, a seven-part series has been prepared. This is the second in the series. Will world famine reach North America in this cen- tury? Will the first nuclear world war take place soon? Is it avoidable? These are a couple of the frightening but real questions which man must answer, not in this century, but in this decade. For if some of these cataclysmic situations are to be avoided, it is in this decade that planning and solutions must be initiated. Few would question that the world does face very severe problems declining resources, increasing pop- ulation, massive nuclear stockpiles "which of course will never be used." Or will they? "We are on a dangerous says Dr. Aurelio Peccei, a founder of the Club of Rome and one of the speakers at the symposium's session on global problems. "If unchanged, it will lead mankind to a century. "We are at-a turning point in history and the choices which we make in the near future will be decisive. They may affect man's destiny profoundly, even mutate his evolution as a species." Those who brandish placards announcing that the end is nigh probably never had a better century in which to parade their messages of doom. Some would argue that every age is as bad as the last and that this one has no more problems than any previous one. "It's all been ex- aggerated by the media, which bombards us with everything that's bad in the they say. Is the outlook bleak or will man, as ever, triumph over adversity? The global problems session of the Winnipeg Centennial Symposium will try to take as objective a look as possible at the real problems facing the world today and in the future. Do we simply have a popula- tion explosion of Jeremiahs in 1974 or are there genuine grounds for concern? Alvin Toffler, a symposium speaker and author of Future Shock, believes the future will indeed be a time of problems, an age of "shattering stress and but he sounds a positive note that man can adapt and cope, provided he recognizes the problems looming now. Toffler is particularly concerned with the problems of rapid change and the effects this speeding up of society has on man's mind and behavior. As technology becomes more efficient and more people consume more goods, are we any happier? Are we dying spiritually? Stewart Udall, former U.S. secretary of the interior has drily commented that today "gross national product is our Holy Grail." Many would agree, par- ticularly the churches. Toffler sums up this dilemma by noting that: "We have no measures of the 'quality of life'. We have no systematic indices to tell us whether men are more or less alienated from one another; whether education is more effective; whether art, music and literature are flourishing, whether civility, generosity or kindness are increasing we have no environmental index, no census statistics to measure whether the country is more livable from year to year." While the symposium will deal indirectly with man's spiritual dilemma, his craving for things other than bread alone, it will focus particular- ly on concrete issues, which can be accurately measured. Things such as the fact that weather cycles are changing and crops are failing at the time when they are most needed. The fact that half of all the energy consumed by man in the last 2000 years has been consumed in the last cen- tury and that the rate of con- sumption is increasing dramatically. Will solar energy prove to be man's ultimate saviour? Will windmills once again spring up across the land? Will energy be extracted from solar tides? There's enough coal in the world to supply our every need for the next 400 years, but how do we get at it without tearing up the countryside and destroying the very land we need to live on? Experiments to tap all these energy sources are already underway, along with hundreds of others, such as turning mountains of garbage into usable gas. The U.S. ad- ministration has already recommended that billion a year be spent on energy research in the next year, and that this be increased in future. In some cases, the sun may provide the solutions man is seeking. In 214 B.C. Archimedes burned a Roman fleet attack- ing Syracuse by focusing the suns' rays on the wooden ships with mirrorlike plates; a hundred years ago in Paris a steam engine was successful- ly operated by the suns' rays; and for many months a solar furnace made up of hundreds of mirrors has been producing temperatures of degrees for industrial uses at Odeillo in the French Pyrenees. The earth intercepts times as much energy from the sun as all mankind will need in the next 25 years. Will the sun save mankind? We do have some possible solutions to our energy crisis, but what of all the other problems? Dr Peccei believes we face "a tidal wave of global problems." He notes that world population is now four billion and growing by two per cent a year. By the year 2000 there will be six billion people on earth, thanks to high birth rates and lower rates of infant mortality in underdeveloped countries. The population grows and the food supply can't keep up. Dr. Raymond Edwell, in a report to the Victor Fund for International Planned Parenthood, has noted that "unless these trends are reversed they will mean massive famines and death by starvation to an extent never previously experienced in world history. Hundreds of millions of people will be affected." In his 1967 State of the Union message, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson observed that "the really great challenge to the human family is the race between food' supply and population increase the time for rhetoric has clearly passed. The time for concerted action is here and we must get on with the job. Every hour about peo- ple are added to the human call. We are adding to the world population a city the size of Toronto every two days. Every year we are adding almost the population of Japan to the world. The problem is enormous. If the world population increases by three billion between now and the year 2000, it has been estimated that three billion acres of land would have to be reclaimed from jungles, swamps and deserts to grow enough food for them. The cost has been estimated at between and billion. If this can't be done, what are the alternatives? Heavy penalties for having children? Enforced sterilization? Or will nature simply restore its own balance by unleashing a new germ or virus to wipe out excess human beings? Dr. Peccei points out that it is not just energy and food that are running short in the face of an expanding world population. "We have ac- quired undreamed of knowledge and he says. But, "we have per- mitted this knowledge and power to be the exclusive do- main of small elites." Half the world's population is unable to read or write and man's increasing storehouse of knowledge is simply not available to them. Culturally, these billion and a half people belong to past centuries. Dr. Peccei maintains that "it is imperative for us to correct this extreme maldistribution of knowledge and power which is probably more ex- plosive than the economic dis- parities already a part of the human system." To ride out the "tidal wave of global man must find solutions and share those solutions effectively with the entire world. Perhaps, we have waited too long to put our global house in order. Perhaps not. One thing is sure we can't afford to wait until 1980 or 1990. Then, it will indeed be too late. U.S. magazines controversial again By Anthony Westell, Toronto Star commentator OTTAWA The news that the government is again con- sidering action against the Canadian editions of two U.S.- owned magazines, Time and Reader's Digest, coincides with the publication of a new book on the subject Cultural Sovereignty, by Isaiah Litvak and Christopher Maule, both professors at Carleton Univer- sity. The book is mainly a review of the work of the Royal Com- mission on Publications in 1961 and of the Senate Com- mittee on the Mass Media which trod the same ground in 1970. Although it contains lit- tle new information, it does make clear that the issue is not as simple as the more fer- vent nationalists pretend. The two professors also offer the idea that if the government is unwilling to close down the Canadian editions of the magazines, it should at least require the U.S. owners to sell 75 per cent of the shares to Canadians, making them Canadian cor- porations. There is a third opinion which I hold that instead of trying to hobble Time and Reader's Digest, the govern- ment should encourage the production of bigger and better Canadian magazines able to compete with them. But before getting into the argument, it is probably necessary to refresh memories. There was concern in the 1950s that U.S. magazines overflowing from their own vast market into Canada were going to put Canadian magazines out of business, or at least prevent them from developing into an effective national press. The royal com- mission decided that the threat was real. It recommended, among other things, that companies choos- ing to advertise in foreign- owned magazines in Canada should not be allowed to deduct the cost for tax pur- poses. The measure was intended to double the cost of advertis- ing in foreign-owned magazines and thus to divert advertising to Canadian publications. The U.S. publishers were naturally annoyed by this idea and mounted a private and public lobby against it. By this time the Pearson government was in power. It wanted to protect Canadian magazines but it also had other objectives. For ex- ample, it wanted U.S. agree- ment on a new deal for the auto industry, and the cabinet decided to compromise. Measures were taken against foreign-owned magazines except for those which had already established Canadian editions. The two magazines thereby excluded were Time and Reader's Digest. It is commonly said that they were given a tax advan- tage or a preferred position, but this is so only in relation to other foreign-o'wned magazines. Time and Reader's Digest have no tax advantage over Canadian periodicals. This arrangement nevertheless outraged nationalists who wanted to see the U.S. companies sent pack- ing in the belief that this would somehow purify the flow of information in Canada and make it easier for patriotic Canadian magazines to get more advertising. The Senate committee, reporting in 1970, shared this view. It urged the government to place Time and Reader's Digest in the same category as other foreign periodicals that is, at a tax disadvantage when compared with Cana- dian magazines. Moving with its accustomed speed, the government is now, four years later, considering this proposal, apparently as part of a general review of policies designed to aid publishers. Canadian nationalists are again urging the government to get tough with the two U.S. magazines particularly with Time for which they har- bor a special dislike. They seem not to have noticed that Book review. Time has been transformed in recent years from a right- wing, ranting and often slanted spokesman for American causes into a first- rate magazine with an incom- parable world news service. Professors Litvak and Maule also would like to see the tax exemption lifted so that the two magazines would probably be forced to close their Canadian editions. But because they don't think the government will have the gumption to do this, they suggest the alternative of Canadianization. Under their plan, the magazines would become Canadian-owned, with a ma- jority of Canadian directors and subject to some form of regulation similar to that im- posed on TV to guarantee a high proportion of Canadian content. They are all mistaken in my view. Events seem to be prov- ing that the 1961 royal com- mission was wrong to fear that U.S. magazines led by Time and Reader's Digest were a deadly threat to Cana- dian periodicals. The number of Canadian periodicals is increasing, and the leaders among them are selling more advertising than ever. The Canadian publishers of Impressive first novel and this is a portrait of the founding father of our little record "The Case Worker" by George Konnd, translated by Astoa (Hart Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 173 pages, distributed by LoBginu Cuadi Only a very few first novels gain wide international atten- tion. The Case Worker, by a Hungarian author, is one of these few. The novel's subject matter, social work, is rather unusual, being practically the only profession not already extensively covered by fic- tion. The book's success is on the fact that its interesting subject matter is handled weii. Konrad is perceptive, compassionate, and always particular be never lapses into soft spined generalizations. The author has carried off a most difficult feat, combining hard nosed observation with eloquence and with sentimentality. (Too many modem writers have reacted to Victorian excesses by trying to exclude sentimen- tality altogether from their works, so that sometimes it creeps back on their pages in corrupt, misplaced, forms.) The story centres on. but is not confined to. the efforts of a social worker, specializing in child welfare, trying to find a place for the retarded son of a couple of suicides. The lives, and deaths, of the social worker's various clients are presented graphically, often in long, harrowing lists which skillfully define patterns ol degradation that would be much the same in Toronto, San Francisco, or Paris as they are under the Hungarian Communist regime. After a very long and com- plex fantasy (which requires careful in which he rejects his work, the social worker resigns himself to his job. The book ends positively, bat not hopefully JOHN BELL the major magazines, in fact, no longer want to see Time and Reader's Digest banished. They say that the U.S. magazines help to create a national vehicle for major advertisers, and that if they disappeared advertising would shift not to Canadian magazines, but to TV, radio and newspapers. So little is left of the argu- ment that Canadian magazines need to be protected. What of the argument that U.S.-owned magazines weaken Canadian culture and sense of identity? Canadians buy Time and Reader's Digest because they are good magazines. Any attempt to ban their circula- tion in Canada would not only be censorship, but would cer- tainly produce a cry of out- rage from hundreds of thousands of subscribers. So the question is really whether the magazines should be printed in Canada with a bit of Canadian content and cir- culated through the Canadian post office, or printed in the U.S. and mailed into Canada through the U.S. postal ser- vice, with little or no Cana- dian content. As Canadians are going to buy and read them anyway, there is a marginal advantage in having Canadian editions. Does that mean Canada can- not now have its own national news magazine? Not at all. Time after all pays only slight attention to Canadian news; it is primarily a U.S. and inter- national magazine and is bought in Canada by those interested in that arena. If no Canadian publisher is willing to invest capital and effort in developing a national weekly, the government should take on the task. The idea that government money must necessarily cor- rupt the press is nonsense; many ways could be found to insulate editorial decision from political control. Nor should we think only in terms of a magazine about Canadian affairs. Magazines, like books, films. TV, even some newspapers, are becom- ing international in scope, cir- culated in many countries. Why should Canada not be home base for a multinational magazine able to compete in world capitals with Time. The Economist of London and European periodicals? 'Canadian nationalists think too small. Hidden meanings Some people gain wisdom, maturity and understanding through passing years, while others just grow old. Photo and text by David Ely, Herald Staff Writer Communicating the gospel By Noel Buchanan, Herald staff writer The happy Galilean enjoyed five days in Lethbridge last week, celebrating practical wisdom and self sacrifice in a theatrical package entitled Godspell. The performers and musicians, touring members of Gazebo Theatre One, Santa Bar- bara, Calif., clearly enjoyed every minute on stage. Some clergy who attended have ex- pressed appreciation; others say the pop musical left them confused. This man in the pew Row E at the Yates who at other times tests the faithful on The Herald religion page saw the production as a celebration of life and God, a joyous romp through the gospel of St. Matthew and a hilarious put on to waken sinners who might have hardened their shell against messages of doom and despair. There was so muck happening on stage in parts of Godspell that you almost needed angel wings to keep up with the pace. There was something very human about the perfor- mance, and on Saturday evening during the second half a notable quiet during serious dialogue. Rarely does one hear so much scripture in the space of three hours. Most preachers would be hard pressed to communicate so much gospel wisdom in the same time space. If Godspell gets a little uncomfortable in places, it could be because of humanity and because the theological meanings have been translated so ably into the language of the playground. Songs like Day By Day would be great in a modern hymn book: more performances of Godspell such as Southern Alberta has just witnessed and possibly a lot more folks will be in church. ANDY RUSSELL A matter of direction WATERTON LAKES PARK As a professional writer with -a keen and active interest in the environment and conservation, there is hardly a day goes by that I don't wish that many well-meaning and hard-working people sincerely interested in doing something for wildlife could take a well- planned and meaningful short course in en- vironmental management. Too many are motivated by sentiment and emotion alone. To be just convinced of purpose and dedicated is not enough. To be truly useful and able to achieve something worthwhile takes a con- siderable depth of understanding. To love wild things is admirable, but if this love follows a blind course ignoring the facts of life in the natural world, it can be destructive and even dangerous to the very things we wish to help. What too many people fail to realize is that conservation is not always preservation, for the two have a very different meaning. Just to preserve, without an in-depth knowledge of natural law. can sometimes be very contradictory. For instance, let us take a look at the for seal controversy in the Gulf of St Lawrence. This seal harvest is undoubtedly a cruel and bloody business enough to turn the stomachs of animal lovers and sufficient to cause a furor that has echoed around the world. Seals are beautiful creatures and in the water they are undoubtedly the ballet masters of the aquatic world where they spend a great deal of time feeding and playing. But are we going far enough just to stop it? Not if we sincerely want to do something constructive for wildlife, and most certainly not if we are interested in seeing the seal herds protected from what could be very dangerous trouble over the years ahead, in reality, if we pursue the direction of mere preservation, we may speed up their decimation. There is a movement afoot to set up a park in the Gulf of St. Lawrence a marine park for the protection of seals, whales and other warm blooded aquatic animals: a most interesting and admirable idea if it goes far enough. But the people promoting it are dis- playing a curious blind spot in overlooking the fact that all these animals depend on various forms of cold-blooded life within their habitat for vital food requirements and by no means is this unlimited. Seals are fish eaters and so is man. and consequently they are in com- petition. Man is the greatest threat to the seals, not so much in consideration of the fur harvest but in use of highly technical commercial fishing pressure. So if the seal herds are fully- protected and allowed to increase beyond the limitations of available feed, a resulting pop- ulation crash could be catastrophic. Setting up a park to just protect the seals and other mammals without consideration of fish and other cold-blooded aquatic life is not prac- tical and the whole idea will be abortive. At this poinJ. the annual seal harvest for furs may be an excellent conservation factor until we are ready to recognize and put into practice a working program of habitat protection. The SI Lawrence is a dirty raver and just how much destruction of the contain- ed food chain occurs from pollution is a ques- tion not completely answered, although it is suspected Jo be considerable Just how much habitat damage is caused by modern fishing methods, we do not know. We don't even know what tonnage of fish can be harvested without endangering that life chain I'nJiI we find oul Ihe answers Jo some vital- ly important questions, we may be only com- pounding the habitat problem by" folly projecting seals.