The recent purchase of Atlantic Gold (an Australian company) by St. Barbara Ltd. (another Australian company) went by with almost not a whisper in the province of Nova Scotia where they hold significant gold rights. This situation raises many questions for an average guy like me.

First off, I get free trade. Never have been against it in general. But there are certainly areas of our economy, culture and environment that should not be sold to, or controlled by foreign corporations or states. For examples of how problematic this can be just look at how China has taken over huge sectors in Mozambique and Zambia. Where are these natural resources benefiting? Right, thousands of miles away while the communities in Africa suffer.

Second, mining royalties in Nova Scotia are so small, makes the developing economies in the Americas and Africa look way smarter than our Liberal governments; trading jobs for pennies per ounce of minerals (gold in this case). If any company is to destroy our environment should it not be a Canadian company operating under all our laws. Canadian companies that can easily be held accountable at home where the executives live and raise their families.

Environmental destruction by the mines is not a concern for anyone in the company or government of Nova Scotia it seems. The focus is on how to reduce the footprint, not stop it.  That is where this totally baffles many of us. Why are we allowing companies to knowingly destroy the environment for a mineral the world has enough of already? Should we not be exploring environmentally friendly or neutral industries instead. After all, just look to the Appalachian mountains in the United States to see what happens to the towns, people and environment when the minerals are gone. Is that what we want to happen in Nova Scotia?

So before disregarding those in Nova Scotia and Canada protesting gold mining think hard about what is going on in the industry and how it will impact our environment. I for one will be watching this unfold and calling out to my politicians to ask questions and remind them about the power of votes.

Atlantic Gold mine decision to be based on science, says federal fisheries minister

RIP Anthony Bourdain; Brother. Our loves entwined though we never met, our passions drove us around the world as did fears. I still have my three knives, know why never to cook with expensive oil or vinegar, and above all else, slice garlic. Your first book is like a bible to me on living or giving up. I will cherish Cooking Confidential forever. So sorry the 3 headed dragon won.

I was give the book at a time in my life where I spent so much time traveling in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. In all these locations I would be exposed to so much wonderful food, cooking styles and people looking to share their secrets. Cooking became a huge connection between me and the people I would meet.

Food, cooking and entertaining is the same all over the world. People cook out of love, love for food, but more important, love for those they cook; family, friends and yes, strangers from afar.

I found food and talking of family was a great way to get people to open up. Anthony made me understand this, made me reflect on my own family coming together for dinner. Food is so powerful.

In his memory join me in watching a scene by the Godfather that he recommends if you want to gain the most from garlic.

The best way to cut garlic:

Goodfellas Paulie Chopping Garlic

Only 2 Days left to lay the ground work for my pending move back to Halifax after 25 years in the US, Africa and Ottawa. Loving all the energy and positivity in Halifax. But I do feel this photo represents this whirlwind of a trip: meetings, meetings and more meetings. So looking forward to this next journey.

In total I met with 30+ individuals to help understand the market space for a community development specialist, leader and communicator with a passion and critical knowledge and skills for stakeholder and partnership relations. I heard and learned so much to spike my optimism about the future and the role I can play both as an employee and volunteer in reducing poverty, building communities and in general increasing the appeal and sustainability of Nova Scotia, my home.

In Travels with Charley John Steinbeck ponders “Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know.” That is the way I feel today, day 2 of my long planned blog. I do not know where to proceed. If I was a real writer I would have mapped out my blog from day one to my final chapter: Obviously that can not be the case.

This morning as I sat in rush hour with my trusty Australian Shepherd, Dobby,  I thought a lot about a  topic for today, and all that struck me was that my journey has been full of not knowing the path I have been on. While this had consequences, the benefits have won outright. Together they have shaped how I see the world. My choices in life have shaped my education and my learning.

Formal education took a common path, culminating in a Masters in International Affairs (MIA) from Ohio University with a few re-directions and pauses along the way. The pace permitted me to understand my interests better by traveling and working; at times in mind numbing jobs or in grease up to my neck.  Above all else I realized that if I wanted something enough I had to do whatever I could to achieve that goal.

With MIA in hand I was off to work in Malawi to  espouse all my acquired expertise from university and a few jobs in community development and change: including a work study in Malawi a year and a half prior. What started was an unplanned journey to become a leader, a study of partnerships, a skeptic of multilateral aid agencies, an expat, and above all the most humble white man in all of Africa at the time. I soon learned why it was important to be teachable: to listen.

Week one was spent navigating the city of Lilongwe to acquire furniture, pots and pans and a car: all in new shoes and with a wife and 3 month old baby at home in the rainy season. We had no screens on the windows in a newly built house surrounded by mud outside and leaky plumbing inside. Stress was high!  Yet my new colleagues and friends reached out to help for no other reason than they understood what I would learn soon enough, to give is to receive.  This generosity of the spirit would forever change the way I look at the world and in particular the onion of partnerships…