Magnificent Documentary: Living in the Time of Dying, meeting the truth of the climate crisis

I bought my home and 50 acres of worn out, raped and pillaged (by agriculture) land at Rosebud in 1998. The pasture and coulee were weed infested, over grazed, covered with a hundred years of abandoned cars, trucks, farm equipment, lots and lots and lots of garbage, 27 full burn barrels full here and there. The outbuildings were falling apart, with leaking roofs and broken windows. The 1970’s house was a mess.

I planned to install a small solar and wind farm but doing my lawsuit that went nowhere but abuse me and my savings killed that dream.

I saw the old farm as the environmental project of my life, never imagining in a few short years I’d be frac’d by Encana/Ovintiv, AER, Alberta gov’t, then betrayed by judges, close friends and even my own lawyers, Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless.

After the Kearl spill and groundwater contamination in NE Alberta’s tarsands became public I read much outrage by many, including lawyers, upset at the company and AER for hiding it. WTF? AER, companies, Alberta Environment, and gov’t have been engaging in fraud covering up oil, gas and frac patch crimes, leaks, spills, health harms and deaths for decades, accompanied by mostly silence and enabling by ordinary Albertans. Greed and selfishness and pollution is the priority in this con rapescape.

I waited years for staff at the regulators to speak out publicly about what Encana had done to our aquifers, and those in other communities in Alberta. Or, at the least, for one or two to publicly state support for my lawsuit. Nothing. I waited for the company to be charged. The authorities know the company broke the law and contaminated our aquifers; they know I was abused by company, politicians, EnvNGOs and regulators alike. Silence.

Back to my land. Friends and colleagues commented how idiotic I was to try to restore, heal, love and protect this tiny patch of prairie.

“Why work so hard?” they’d ask. “Why wear yourself out for nothing?”

“Why plant trees and shrubs and restore grasses when they keep dying?”

Few understand. It’s about love.

“Jessica’s Farm” by Erin Shilliday

I did it, I continue to do it, because I deeply love this earth. Because I believe in beauty and leaving a place cleaner than how I found it. The earth gives humans so much; most give back nothing.

I got frac’d three years after moving here. When I discovered that Encana had intentionally broken the law and frac’d multiple fresh water aquifers that supply my community, my heart and soul broke and all hope in me died. Still I care for, clean up, weed and protect this land.

Most humans don’t notice the loss of other species. This stuns me. Some days I can barely cope as I continue to heal this little piece of land and river, and weed and weed and weed (frac’ing made the weeds much worse) and observe how fast song birds, raptors, owls, insects, and more are vanishing. It terrifies me, how fast their decline, and how heartbreaking the silence and emptiness they create when they’re no longer here. Black henbane has invaded terribly on lands surrounding mine, encroaching more and more every year – no wonder, it’s poisonous, it stinks and is a dreadful job to pull so few do. I pull what I can physically handle to try to keep it from invading the grasses I worked so hard to restore.

There is still more farm waste to clean up but this land is stunningly beautiful again with the old Rosebud River meandering through it. It was peaceful, before Encana frac’d it up with endless wells and compressors and lights, stealing my bliss and the gorgeous night sky.

This is on the east side of my property, post clean up and healing the grasses and shrubs:

This is the east side of the west side, or centre of the property:

Below is a photo of the west side in 2023, complete with Encana oil barrel (now Lynx). I believe Encana never intended to clean up its rape and pillage here, or repair the aquifers the company frac’d and contaminated, so they slickly dumped their frac shite onto a junior I believe will walk when the time comes in Alberta’s Greed Pollution Way. It will make no difference how many tens more billions of dollars Danielle Smith steals from us to give to oil and gas under the guise of clean up (the stolen funds will go into insatiable pockets of the rich, most of whom aren’t Canadian). From the beginning, industry never intended to clean up, that’s obvious):

This is same location on the west side, 2021, another oil barrel of Lynx’s that the company rudely can’t manage to keep on its lease 900 metres to the north:

It seems to me that humans are best at exploitation, raping others and the earth (and space), refusing to learn a thing.

As to the future, I feel only dread.

This is the first honest documentary I’ve seen about the pollution disaster humans have created for all life on earth. If humans just killed themselves off, I’d not give a damn, we’re a despicable cruel species; we proved decades ago we do not deserve this magnificent planet. It’s the other species that are suffering terribly and being wiped out because of our insane greed and ego-driven over-population that I grieve for. And the ever growing toxic mess we’re leaving behind as we wipe ourselves out.

Living in the Time of Dying Full Documentary 53:31 Min., October 1, 2022

The film is now available free of charge or by donation

Living in The Time of Dying is an unflinching look at what it means to be living in the midst of climate catastrophe and finding purpose and meaning within it. Recognising the magnitude of the climate crisis we are facing, independent filmmaker Michael Shaw, sells his house to travel around the world looking for answers. Pretty soon we begin to see how deep the predicament goes along with the systems and ways of thinking that brought us here.

Featured in this documentary are Professor of Sustainability and founder of the Deep Adaptation movement Jem Bendell, award winning journalist and author of “The End of Ice” , Dahr Jamail, Dharma teacher and author of Facing Extinction Catherine Ingram and Stan Rushworth, a Native American Elder, teacher and author who brings an especially enlightening viewpoint to these questions. …

Festivals & Awards
Winner: Outstanding Excellence. Docs without Borders.
Winner: Merit Award. Impact Docs
Winner: Merit Award Nature Without Borders
Finalist: Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Selected: Colorado Environmental Film Festival
Selected: North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival


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