This blog will look at environmental and political issues that will affect the quality of life for future generations of all species. Including; sustainability, media labels of "environmental issues," and different kinds of resistance to environmental oppression. I will also post on anything I think someone interested in the aforementioned would be interested in...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Free Knowledge Day

This past thursday was Free Knowledge Day put on in the u of r multipurpose room. It was the first event affiliated with the newly formed RPIRG (Regina Public Interest Research Group)...

The RPIRG started up last year as a handful of students wanting to make a difference in their local and global community... with a little advice from an unorthodox professor and an experienced community activist, RPIRG [then known as SPIRG] ran a campaign in a campus-wide referendum to get funding ($5 a student per semester)... The referendum was a success! Now the RPIRG has a part-time coordinator, a fully furnished office (beside the Lazy Owl), and will be holding elections for an 8-person executive (which I will be running for)... Nominations open on October 18, and run for 2 weeks... election date TBA

"Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Free Knowledge Day was a chance for many social justice, environmental, and community groups to let students know what they were all about. There was also an alternative bookstore and many workshops put on throughout the day... Luckily, I was sitting at the RPIRG and non-nuclear table for most of the event, so I was able to see the workshop on Indy Media (check out the Act-up in Sask page for more info).
I also heard workshops by Jim Harding, Marc Spooner, Mme Labar-Amed's grade 8 class, and GBLUR (centre for gender and sexuality diversity) director Nathan Sekinger...

I will summarize Jim Harding's passionate lecture on "Harnessing Human Energy for a Sustainable Society" and add my own comments in [square] brackets.

-In the last 15 years, corporate multi-nationals have been creating a global system… we continue to have to fight for more human freedom, equality, and co-existence with non-human creatures and ecosystems…
[I think Jim was right to point out that, as these profit-motivated souless corporations gain power, labour/environmental/human rights are being rolled back]
-if the labour movement does not continually recreate itself, it disappears...
-Ralph Nader posed the question at his lecture last (wednesday) night...
"How would our lives be different if we lived in a dictatorship?"
{Answer:} Not much
[Another good point by Ralph and Jim... we get to vote once every four or so years... then we go back to our soma and allow the least-worst candidates to break their campaign promises... Nader pointed out that there are many regional bridge clubs, bowling leagues, and bird watching societies... what about regional democracy-watching societies that hold politicians accountable to the people and their promises... the best democratic accountability site I've seen so far is the one Nader recommended; DEMOCRACY WATCH]
-we must organize, in communities and we shouldn’t take our democratic opportunities for granted
-Jim pointed out a respect for Engaged Buddhism
-We should measure progress in regards to; human spirit, community, and intervening with other creatures on this planet... its not about simply accumulating economic growth!
-We need to settle ourselves, realizing our spiritual community and intervening on this planet...
[I believe when Jim uses the word spiritual... he meens a deeper connection between self, nature (especially local ecosystems), and our community]
-There is an extreme economic cost of climate change. If we continue with reckless economical expansion… living conditions will dwindle...
-Mother nature is something to respect
[mother nature vs. father capitalism?]
-Don’t be overwhelmed, isolated… turning to various forms of denial (addictions)
[Some common addictions: Caffiene, Mindless television {ex. Fox/Entertainment News}, Cigarettes, SUVs and bigger trucks, World of Warcraft...]
-we need to be building community that is moving for sustainable ways of doing things on this planet...
-there are innovators waiting on doorstep with renewable energies…
[but they are kept out by big industry/corporate interest... a classic example is the forces at play in the documentary 'Who Killed the Electric Car']
-there are all kinds of ways to do things that are sustainable, but corporate boards aren’t being challenged enough by consumers...
-"Is the world better today than it would have been if PIRGS and activists hadn’t started in the 70s?"
-"your dam right! (things would be much worse)"
-BUT we are losing ground on oceans, human suffering, cancer, ozone depletion…
[Jim pointed out that climate change is a serious problem, and we don't know when we'll reach the threshold of no coming back... but we're getting frightengly closer! (The arctic ice-caps are melting FAST... global warming predictions are already being overtaken... {ice info})]
-there is a joy in action with a sense of community accomplishing small projects that add up to small things... [and make a BIG difference]
-there are tons of ways we can organize public to watch, learn, document, communicat[e, promote, and change political and economic behaviour…
-there is a PIRG on campus(RPIRG), use it to build community…
[in case you were wondering an easy way YOU could make a difference!]
-resist the commercialisation of body, mind, and spirit
-its about not-knowing, dammit… we don’t know what the future is gonna be like… we don’t know what’ll happen when the arctic ice-shield melts… we have ideas… feedback cycles hypothesized… notions of knowing… drag you down… apathy, despair, pre-depression
-we don’t know where we’re gonna go…
-kids learn best learn in environments of flexibility… then their parents are pissed off that they have learned to think for themselves and don't share their parent's views...

Marc Spooner's down-to-earth discussion on "The Purpose of a University Experience. What are you doing here anyways?" was very nicely reviewed by a classmate of mine, HERE

The Grade 8 class (Massey School) presentation on Fair Trade in our community was also amazing! I learned quite a bit... and they ended their presentation with the following music video... which I think highlights how huge a difference a little can make (like the money from a music video)


Lastly, Nathan Sekinger's talk on Transgenderism taught me a lot about a subject I admittedly was mostly ignorant about. The main lesson I took from it would be that when I have children, I shouldnt assume I'll be having a stereotypical boy/girl... there's many shades in-between...
The lecture was also followed by an intense open discussion on gender identity/stereotyping and philosophical agency or something (at this point my brain was so tired I helped take down the RPIRG non-nuke table, drove home, and had a sweet nap)...

2 comments:

Roseanne said...

You write very well.

Trees for our children... said...

thanks! That`s not a compliment I recieve very often...