Captain Bruce, Interviewed October 1, 2019
Age 60s, Location, Combermere, Ontario. Canada
What is your favorite part of living in Combermere?
The scenery, the hills, trees, lakes and abundance of fresh clear water.
Do you have a favorite place to eat?
The restaurant at The Ash Grove Inn a few kilometeres away in Barry’s Bay.
What is your least favorite part of living in Combermere?
It gets pretty quiet. I like quiet but come November I feel a little too alone.
Do you feel climate change has impacted your area?
Yes, the last 2 out of 3 years we have had floods in the latter part of April. A lot of snow followed by heavy rain. Winter seems to transition immediately into late spring. I’ve lived here for 20 years and never experienced this. The Ottawa river flooded quite badly last year.
Do believe man has contributed to climate change?
The earth has been going through a warming cycle for the last 15,000 years. Something is definitely going on. I’m unsure of the magnitude of humans contribution but it seems that burning of fossil fuels are to blame and speeding up the issue. We won’t change until a better source of energy is developed.
You can see a number of projects around the area where roads and culvert are being washed out and require upgrading. Out west (Banff) you see the glaciers receding at enormous rates. The location of the glaciers has been tracked over time and you can see the rate is increasing by the posts that mark the historic location of the glaciers.
Can we fix it Bruce asked? We gotta try. I see evidence of the next great extinction. I can remember jigging for Cod as a kid in the early 60s near Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Now there are none. The hardest thing to do will be to change if we want to survive. To do that we need to get off fossil fuels and learn that the accumulation of wealth isn’t the end all. I see people working their ass off for the “better” house, the next TV, working towards pension. I do volunteer work in Haiti. There are many truly happy people there who have nothing. Happiness isn’t related to money.
I’ve sat and talked to people in their 20s whose conversations are about working towards a pension. Some of them didn’t make it to their 30s. I tried college but couldn’t stand sitting in a classroom. I’ve always dreamt of sailing the world. What month were you born, he asked? “May, I’m a Taurus, I replied.”
Do you believe in the power of the stars or a higher power?
We were put on the earth for a reason, to be free. Man tries to define the reason, but those ideas are man made. Religion is man made. There is no power on us, we are free to make our own choices. I wouldn’t feel complete without sailing. The ocean gives you a respect for the land and visa versa. When I’m out there for periods of time my thoughts drift to the land and I can’t wait to look at the trees and enjoy the colors of the fall in Combermere. I like a good winter and marvel at the beauty of a cold winter day. When I’m on land I dream of the sea.
“My second attempt to understand how folks in Combermere viewed climate change yielded quite unexpected results. An individual who wished to remain anonymous stated he didn’t want anybody showing up at his door with a gun. I was shocked at this response from a friendly, down to earth Canadian. I thought to myself this was an answer I’d expect in Texas. The assault weapons debate is ongoing during this the 2019 elections in Canada, and once again I am reminded that the peoples of the world are not so different. Do people get all crazy in their denial of a changing climate? Yes, he said, the conversation has been going on for 30 years. As long as there is money to be made off of oil nothing will change. While I was struck at the similarities of people and the politics of oil producing countries, I did learn that Canada limits their election campaigns to 40 days, which is something most Americans would probably appreciate.” – Matt Ryle