Could Corporations Sponsor Free Thinking?

By | October 3, 2016

Originally published as a column in the ArmchairNews on Friday September 30th, 2016. 

So much has happened in the last week it’s hard to know where to start in choosing a topic for this piece. The crushing news, in my opinion, was the approval of the Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal by the federal government. Communicated by no other than the Environment Minister Catherine McKenna (oh, and climate change too), the news hit many like a stack of bricks.

Of course, the project might not go ahead after all if the LNG prices are too low, so there’s the saving grace. Unlike our federal government it’d be nice if Canada could actually keep a promise. Yes, I am thinking of the one made in Paris last year regarding the greenhouse gases. We ought to.

The next big thing that crowds made bigger was the visit of Prince William and Princess Kate; still unfolding, still leaving a trail of stardust behind, Facebook photo albums are already flooded with glimpses of the two and their children. It’s nice to have nice people visit our province (they really seem so) but I sure hope that in the whirlwind of criss-crossing this beautiful land they got wind of the most pressing issues.

Not that they would be able to do much to pressure either our premier or Prime Minister to change their ways and opt for keeping promises to First Nations, Canadians in general, and leading our economy towards greener pastures and helping Canadians reap the benefits rather than allow foreign corporations trot in.

Not to be raining on anyone’s parade with the royal visit and all, but there is a big need for money in various sectors in British Columbia – education and health to name but two. Hospitable as we are as a people, there is little if any money to spare for visits when so much is needed and many are told there is no money to help them. Children are always among the needy. Let’s also not forget the black eye of British Columbia: there are still a lot of hungry children among us. That is not acceptable.

Speaking of children and food, there is a new development that seems to create some discord. Senator Nancy Greene Raine brought forth a bill which might become law, proposing that children under 13 be spared the branding by fast-food companies when it comes to the sports they play. It’s complicated, you’re right to think that.

Many teams of young players rely on sponsorships such as the ones bestowed by fast-food companies to make their magic happen. Kind of counterintuitive though. After all, playing sports is a great healthy endeavour. Eating fast-food is not. The two combined? Little more than an early exposure to double standards and principle bending if you will.

Nowadays more than ever children need to learn about real food, the price of growing it right, the need to grow it ethically; they need to understand that eating is not an isolated act but one of the many that keeps humans in a circle where they can influence their own well-being and that of the world they live in. It’s a tall order, it’s true.

Yet when we teach them that and encourage them to ditch the fast-food in favour of some nutritious, clean and local yummy grub, they learn more than the taste of food. They learn about their own community and how sticking together does wonders for everyone.

Sponsorship that keeps kids playing is not easy to find, many said. That may be true yet I do believe that there could be local businesses that are willing to help.

We have way too many overweight children, and way too many overweight people in general. We have become quite comfortable with letting it be and telling children they should be confident and happy no matter what the scale says. Yet it’s not the scale that counts really but their health. And good health is most important. It’s a shame to teach our children anything else and not allow them the space to think freely of their food choices.

There was a time when kids and everyone else for that matter played for the love of it, no corporate involvement whatsoever. If one is to help, perhaps local businesses can step up and help in a most good old way that sees that kids in the community have their chance to play free of corporate marketing that could care less who is who and which team plays what.

With learning to eat healthy and understand community involvement comes the drive to stand up for the very land the said community lives on, for the water they drink and the air they breathe. By equipping our children with the courage to think independently and make their own educated choices we can at least say we did everything we could for them to learn to stand up for what’s worth saving: life in all shapes and sizes. We are truly giving them the world.

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