All posts by De Clarke

De Clarke is a sailor, photographer, retired software engineer and intermittent author who since the late 70’s has published both technical writing and essays on various topics ranging from feminism to technology and environmental issues. She has lived on Cortes since late 2011.

Cortes Island Inventor Completes Cargo E-Trike

[Cortes Island E-Bikes series]

For a little more than two years, Cortes Islander Gabriel Dinim worked patiently and steadily on the design and construction of an original, custom electric cargo bike with three wheels. By early summer of 2020, his project was ready for its first test-drive… and has since been frequently sighted on Cortes roads.

Gabriel says this bike effectively replaces his truck, and he uses it daily for travel and cargo hauling. Equipped with regen braking, turn signals, mirrors, brake lights, disc brakes and a substantial drive/motor system, Gabriel’s bike is a serious EV. It enables him to travel to Campbell River and back on a single charge, as well as all around Cortes Island.

As part of the Currents E-Bikes on Cortes Island series, I interviewed Gabriel about his project.

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By Any Other Name: Climate Cancer

[Editorial/Opinion] Simon Sinek is not the kind of pundit I would usually pay much attention to, I hope he’ll forgive my frankness. Ex-adman, “motivational speaker,” adviser to corporations, someone who can use the word “messaging” without embarrassment — I’m already bored and suspicious. But it’s undeniable that there’s something we can learn from just about everybody, and Mr Sinek gave me some chewy food for thought lately.

He was quoted in a recent online article, saying that the language used to name and describe the destabilisation of our climate is not serving us well. We know so many troubling facts, yet it seems so hard to get any traction or action. Why aren’t people more alarmed? Why such resistance to necessary changes?

We have, so Sinek claims, a marketing problem. We’re not “marketing” the gravity or urgency of the situation in a convincing way, and that’s contributing to denial and inaction at every level of our society.

Continue reading By Any Other Name: Climate Cancer

Cortes Island Women’s Centre

Originally posted on Cortes Radio.ca. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

The Covid-19 lockdown has sparked an upsurge in domestic violence both in Canada and worldwide, as well as making it harder for support services to offer counseling and shelter for victims.

On April 15, 2020, I interviewed Tanya Henck, founding member of the first Cortes Island Women’s Centre which opened in January 2019. A combination of diligent sanitization and long microphone cables, plus a newly constructed and never-inhabited space, enabled us to set up for Covid-19-safe recording.  (The room was so bare that you may hear a certain amount of natural reverb in the podcast.)

Tanya has lived on Cortes Island for 14 years, and has long been aware of the persistent and under-addressed problem of domestic violence.  Every community whether rural or urban has to deal with this issue, she says, and Cortes is no exception.  Yet Cortes, she feels, has been for years “behind the times” in coming to grips with this problem.

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Shocked, Shocked?

[An earlier version of this article originally appeared in Medium, an online magazine, under the title “The Price Tag.”]

The influenza epidemic of 1918 — as most of us are remembering or discovering right about now — killed about 50 million people worldwide between 1918 and 1920. At that time, the world population was perhaps about 1.8 billion people (as opposed to today’s approximately 7.8 billion people). So to achieve the same statistical impact, a pandemic today would have to kill about 200 million people (or approximately 2/3 the population of the US). Spread of the disease was greatly aided by military deployment at the end of WWI, and by the poor physical condition and abysmal living conditions of troops in the trenches. So far, Covid-19 is not even remotely in the league and hardly merits comparison. However, that could change. Like the old Carpenters song, it’s only just begun.

My second reaction to Covid-19 was one of puzzlement or frustration (I’ve written about the first reaction elsewhere). All around me, people were not only scared or appalled, but bewildered, outraged, shocked. What a freakish thing to happen, how unfair, how incredible, how surreal! A pandemic? A Plague? How mediaeval! Who woulda thunkit? How could that happen here?

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Anne & Sam: Market Farmers On Cortes Island

Originally Published on Cortes Radio.ca. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

Podcast: Interview with Anne Dzakovic and Sam Gibb about their life as market farmers on Cortes Island.

Congratulations to Anne and Sam on the safe and successful birth of their second child, Graciella!  Just prior to their departure from Cortes Island to await her arrival on the big island, I had the pleasure of  interviewing Sam and Anne at their home on Blue Jay Lake Farm.

Continue reading Anne & Sam: Market Farmers On Cortes Island