Tag Archives: activism

Broken City Lab on NIMBY

picture-41In what will likely be one of many posts about Broken City Lab, I will simply leave you with the content I have collected.

What is Broken City Lab? Well…

A collection of artists/activists who see a broken city in front of them, and use their creativity to interact with the people, groups, bureaucracy, items, places, and mediums necessary to make things less broken. It’s art-through-action. When speaking to Justin Langlois, the guy who decided to get this group together, I was astounded, amazed, proud, and appreciative of the concept and eventual action this group represents. Langlois said something like, “I began to realize that my art could be this…this action…this sharing of concepts to make things better instead of making paintings…” I’m paraphrasing. But if you watch the videos below and listen to his interview on this week’s installment of Not In My Backyard (Tuesdays at noon on CJAM 91.5FM in Windsor/Detroit), you will hear him communicate this clearer.

Here’s the CJAM interview on Not In My Backyard (NIMBY)!

And as usual, there is a TON of extra content on the videos where Justin is able to talk about some of the other projects Broken City Lab is looking at starting.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1565756&dest=-1]

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1566332&dest=-1]

To find out more, go to brokencitylab.org where there is a regularly updated blog with awesome info.

As a further added bonus, check out the blog post that Justin made after taking part in the Big Walk.

The news. I like.

I am dumbfounded. I’ll tell you why in a paragraph or two.

Listen, I will not pretend to know what is going on in Canadian politics. It is one of the priorities on my list.

Why? You may ask that for good reason. Well, I just like to know when someone is lying to me. I like being able to call “bullshit” when someone in the political spectrum , or someone speaking for one of those boobs, says something completely outrageous. I don’t like hearing things, and gobbling them up like a nice little consumer. I like to know the details.

For starters, our robotic, yet intelligent, Prime Minister of horse-puckey has made a move that I am FINALLY impressed with. He stated today that under the current definitions and rules around saying food in Canada is “Made in Canada” there are problems… As of right now, if 51% of the work being done to prepare food, and make it consumer-ready is done in Canada, companies are legally allowed to say Made in Canada. Which is a stretch, to say the least…I think we’ll all agree.

“Hey gringo, these bananas were grown in Canada…well, that’s not entirely true. You see, we grew them in South America and then they were juggled and handled and banged around vociferously in some shit-hole cannery plant in Ontario, so technically, they’re Canadian…right?”

No. I want to know where my food is grown, prepared, and “managed”.

Stephen Harper has made a promise, of sorts, to adjust this rule, so the definition is less clandestine and malleable to make sense to only those who work in the industry. Food must be grown and prepared fully in Canada to have the label Made in Canada. If it isn’t, it must say where the other “components” (a fruit salad mix, I guess?) are from.

I just love how Harper said something along the lines of, “It’s what Canadians want, so we have to provide it,” as if this dude gives one ounce of care what “Canadians want”. I digress. I must tip my cap to the man who I know to be intelligent and otherwise incompetent. He made good with me on this story.

And in other “news” The Globe and Mail has FINALLY decided to write about The North Pacific Garbage Patch! Holy geez! Someone at Phog told me that I would be happy that it was finally being covered. While reading the piece, I was floored, yet not surprised (we have a Conservative government) to read this admission from Diane Lake, a spokeswoman with the Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans. She “said that while the ministry is aware of the North Pacific Gyre, it is conducting no real research on the extent or effects of the plastic pollution.” Perfect. Nice work Diane. Nice to see you give a shit. You know, Canada has a border that kinda touches the Pacific Ocean. Hey wait! That’s one of the words in the North Pacific Garbage Patch! Come to think of it, we’re North too…but, we don’t really need to be studying this. You know, it’ll all go away, like climate change, and racism, and mental illness, and corporatocracy raping us from dusk till dawn…yeah, someone else is taking care of it, I’m sure.

Here’s a shortlist, from The Globe and Mail, of what Captain Moore has been finding: A trail of Taco Bell wrappers, Dolls and action figures, Umbrellas, Tarps, Bottles, Tofu containers(for those of you who think you’re saving the earth with tofu. Maybe we need to be writing letters to tofu companies asking them to consider new packaging?), Lego, Grocery bags, Foam coffee cups, Checkers, Furniture, Toothbrushes, Cigarette lighters, Syringes, Rubber ducks, Basketball shoes

See, this is exactly the kind of thing that should make backbones stiffen. It should make you, reading this, totally annoyed with the laissez faire attitude of people who are paid by us to work for us. These are the issues that will be affecting your family’s family’s family. But what can we do besides thinking globally and acting locally? I’m actually shocked that the fishing industry in the west hasn’t pulled a page from the Argentinian farmers’ handbook.

Get angry at this lack of interest in your job, your industry, and your culturally significant knowledge. Stop fishing until the Department of Fisheries and Oceans decides to look into stemming this abuse in the oceans, and possibly even going so far as to suggesting that maybe we are drowning in our own plastic…and that we should step back from it…sloooowly…with biiiiig steps.

I must also place this in here…as I was listening to Q on CBC with Jian Ghomeshi, I heard the guest talking about food, and mentioning our good friend Michael Pollan. It was “Montreal writer Taras Grescoe on the search for ethical seafood” talking about his new book, Bottomfeeder. I kind of want to read this now. The “Q on CBC” in the first sentence of this paragraph is a direct link to the podcast of this show. It was a GREAT interview, worth listening to…

I bit off more than I could chew. Now I want to get into the whole argument we had at Phog last night…about bananas, how we won’t be eating yellow ones in 5 years, and about the plague/waste of sandwich (Ziploc) bags.

Another time.

Stand up

Reading lately about more and more people taking a stand.

And in the same neurological impulse, I am realizing how absent this idea is from Canadian way-of-life and modern U.S. way-of-life also.

With exception to that last comment, I see that the Sean Bell injustice is not going away. There was a demonstration that got squashed in a hurry, but it was a broad and powerful display of supporters who shut down several arteries in Manhattan for times between 30 and 90 minutes.

When I saw this had happened, with the organization of Al Sharpton, I was proud to see that it had. As of late, I’ve been reading Democracy Matters by Dr. Cornel West. The book is clear in stating the general apathy of American citizens is something that needs to change. According to West, who is such an amiable character (and whom I think everyone should have the joy of watching speak) democracy is dependant upon outspoken debate, Socratic questioning of self, tragicomic approach to the future, and a love of truth. But the questioning is slowing from the sources it needs to come from. Everyday people. We need to question more, care more, wonder more, and give into the soma of TV and “celebritizing” and consumerism LESS.

That said, I have been seeing the contrary of this apathy in other places in the world who have relatively newer democratic experiments on the go. Yes, the American and Canadian democratic situation is also an EXPERIMENT, which I think a lot of people are unaware of…we/they think that the lawmakers take care of everything, and that all injustices are stopped before they get far, but understanding truly what’s going on in democracies means that there has to be CONSTANT (even in the best times) questioning and auditing of the day’s goings-on. We need to care and be aware at all times, because government answers to and FOLLOWS the people. It is NOT the other way around (thanks to my brother Todd for that insight).

Argentina farmers have been losing thier shit over this tax increase on their crops to the extent that they are closing down roads for three WEEKS! Hello!? Three weeks! The protests in New York were shut down in 90 minutes. It is uplifting to see people who are aware of their rights and their impact on the electorate stand up and say, “BULLSHIT!”

Here in Canada, where I live in Windsor, politicians push things through at will, with very little outrage or commitment from citizens, to looking out for each other like they do in countries where this democratic ideal is fresh, and in dire need of protecting. In provincial and federal politics, similar to state and federal in the U.S., people make their 6-figure salary opposing, partisanly, anyone on the other side of the floor. They’re not, for the most part, looking out for a solution, but just toting the party line and arguing in the best interest of their job, being re-elected (Duh).

Knowing this, we should be more involved in our view of this freedom we appreciate. We should be more like the monks in China. We should be more like the farmers in Argentina. We should be more like the voters in Zimbabwe. They realize the importance of the experiment of democracy, and they don’t want that dream to die in a tsunami of corruption and disinterest.