1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1998, 2007, 2019 in the Chinese calendar are some of more recent Years of the Pig… Every year,…

1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1998, 2007, 2019 in the Chinese calendar are some of more recent Years of the Pig…

Every year, everywhere on Earth, is an auspicious year, some are just more auspicious than others. All the peoples inhabiting the planet have celebrations significant to them, which when examined carefully, reveal how much we all share in common as people on the only home we have.

On February 18, we welcomed the Chinese calendar year 4705, and learned legend has it that in ancient times Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year.

Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. People born in each animal’s year, he said, will have some of that animal’s personality.

Those born in the Year of the Pig, for example, tend to have excellent manners, make and keep friends and work very hard. They are very loving and make loyal partners, appreciate luxury and are chivalrous and gallant.

Mr. Brusbard was perhaps, like that. He took an instant liking to the idea of “raising pigs bureaucratically.”

He wrote to the agricultural minister of the day. His letter, in CBC’s vernacular, is an “encore” presentation. Translated it’s a repeat!

“Dear Mr. Agricultural Minister:

“My friend Mr. Bordeaux received a $1,000 cheque from your government for NOT raising hogs and so I too am going into the NOT Raising Hogs business.

“What I want to know is, what is the best kind of land not to raise hogs on and what is the best kind of hogs not to raise? I would prefer not to raise razorbacks, but if this is not the best kind not to raise, I will just as gladly not raise Duroc’s or Poland Chinas.

“The hardest part of this business is going to be keeping an individual record on each of the hogs I do not raise.

“My friend Mr. Bordeaux has been raising hogs for more than 20 years and the most he ever made was $400 in 1981, until this year when he received $1,000 for not raising hogs. Now if I get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, what will I get for not raising 100 hogs?

“I plan to start off on a small scale, holding myself down to not raising 4,000 hogs for which I’ve calculated I should receive $80,000.

“Now these hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn and I understand you pay farmers for not raising corn. Will you pay me for not raising 100,000 bushels of corn, which I will not feed to the hogs I will not raise?

“I would appreciate a quick reply. I want to get started as soon as possible as this looks like a good time of year for not raising corn and hogs.

“Yours very truly,

“Octover Brusbard.”

The author of this “letter,” whom I wish we could credit, has joined the ranks of anonymous. We’ve apparently entered a “not-emitting-carbon,” phase of national life. If I’ve got it right, our government plans making deals with somebody, somewhere to be paid, with our taxes, for not emitting carbon, hence freeing us, and our conscience, when we emit some. Echoes of Mr. Brusbard’s proposal, eh?

Watch out, Octover’s still out there. He’ll probably go for beef this time, wanting money for not barbecuing T-bones, briskets, roasts, you name it. He’ll support his proposal, quite legitimately, promising he’ll help reduce “bovine flatulence.”

Recent headlines give us a glimpse of the problem: “Methane, from sheep and cattle mostly, accounts for 14 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas total.”

“Environmental scientist Professor Frank Convery claims, cows breaking wind and belching, account for 35 per cent of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Los Angeles Times writes that “cattle in the San Joaquin valley produce more methane than is generated by either cars, or trucks, or pesticides — 20.5 pounds is emitted per cow and California has 2.5 million cows.”

If you think this column sounds eccentric, watch the beef industry spin doctors scramble on this one — cut back on beef, are you nuts?

Agreed, climate change is serious business, and isn’t an overnight job, but if the six billion of us don’t work it out, who will? Working together might do it, but getting along is an even bigger problem than climate change. We seem to forget nature bats last!

A tip of the hat to sunny days.

“Rain is the husband of the Earth.” Good quotation eh? This summer it would be nice if the Earth’s wife could send her husband on a holiday — say a few weeks, till the end of September maybe? A small desert island would be fine — somewhere he’d be more appreciated.

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