Sep 13, 2022
Hi Everyone: I'm not in the ENVR 430 class (sorry to infiltrate that pod of postings ;) but I wanted to share something from African American feminist scholar bell hooks on youth culture and predatory consumer values which were mentioned by Dr. Chan in the recent webinar (Sept. 8). These excerpts are from her book WHERE WE STAND: CLASS MATTERS (Routledge, 2000). Her tone in the chapter is a bit more acidic than these excerpts suggest. Some of my students felt that she doesn't give youth enough credit for non-consumerist pursuits; other felt that the word "radical" has taken on negative connotations when it shouldn't (i.e. radix = root; getting to the root of things, back to one's roots, instead of extremism). Anyhow, just thought I'd share some excerpts for anyone who's interested. - NK 1) "No matter your class, no matter your race, if you have access to credit, to cash, every store is open to you. In the world of spending, desire for the commodity matters, it cuts across all barriers. In this world there is no need for social awareness, for radical protest. And that world is particularly appealing to the generation of youth who are caught up in the fantasy that advertising produces, a world where everyone is one, where there is no pain, and everyone can belong if they can pay the price of the ticket. . . . The downside of fantasies of a classless society, of a consumer-driven dream wherein you are what you possess, is the psychological torment it causes everyone who is unable to fulfill endless material longings" (82). 2) "In part, youth culture's worship of wealth stems from the fact that it is easier to acquire money and goods than it is to find meaningful values and ethics, to know who you are and what you want to become, to make and sustain friends, to know love" (85). 3) "Without education for critical consciousness that begins when children are entering the world of consumer capitalism, there will never be a set of basic values that can ward off the politics of predatory greed. Seeds of hope are planted in the efforts made by youth to shift from focusing of luxury items and designer clothes to a grunge, back-to-nature lifestyle, by the radicalized youth who work for environmental rights, and by the young who are facing the realities of class and working to create a just society" (88).
May 28, 2022
Hi Everyone, In honor of the closing to Asian Heritage Month in Canada, I wanted to share a clip and a short documentary I came across this week showcasing environmental work by Asian/Asian diaspora women as "small planet heroes." The first one I saw on social media and it features Indian eco-feminist, scholar, and food sovereignty advocate Dr. Vanada Shiva. The clip is 3:51 minutes long. She completed her graduate work at the University of Guelph and Western University. One key moment for me is when she comments, "Working with our hands is not a degradation. It's our real humanity." She also connects us as a global food community and encourages young people to act from the ground up. The second is a short CBC doc released in 2021 called "In Love with a Problem" (about 22 min long) featuring two Vancouver high school students, Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, who engaged in microbial plastic pollution research as teenagers. They eventually graduated from university (McGill and U of Toronto respectively) to found a company (Biocellection) that continues that imperative work trans-nationally. It's an inspiring documentary with a youth-empowerment focus. There's a UBC connection, as the students were mentored by Dr. Lindsay Eltis. The documentary is available free on CBC Gem and also Youtube (link below). Enjoy! :)
Apr 20, 2022
Earth Day Event (Free): Climate Grief Resilience (Apr 21); "Magnitude of All Things" Film (Dir. Jennifer Abbott, 2020) until Apr 22
Hi Everyone, Last minute notice but there's an Earth Day event offering free streaming access to Jennifer Abbott's 2020 film "The Magnitude of All Things" for free until midnight on April 22. The film focuses on the psychological impact of climate change as manifested in grief, anxiety, emotional paralysis, and other negative affects. If you wish, you can attend their free live virtual climate grief circle on Thursday, April 21 (1 pm PT). Here's the link to register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/earth-day-guidance-to-climate-grief-resilience-tickets-307093865017. The sponsoring organization (Story Money Impact) sends you the streaming link after registration. You don't have to attend the grief event to access the film. If you are a UBC affiliate and have access to the library resources, you can watch the film via your CWL and go to the National Film Board database to stream it at your leisure. Here's the trailer again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIVYm31gK5A. Happy Earth Day! :)
Mar 22, 2022
Hi Everyone, I saw an ad on the #4 bus today for a city project called the Vancouver Plan. The copy reads, "How can we make Vancouver more liveable and sustainable" and then lays out three target areas: 1) More Equitable Housing and Neighborhoods; 2) An Economy that Works for All; 3) Climate Protection and Restored Ecosystems." The public is then invited to "Sign up to join upcoming public engagements" (incentivized with the rather modest offer to win a $50 gift card "from a local business"). The website is (https://vancouverplan.ca/). Notably, the venture invites partnership involvement (https://vancouverplan.ca/partners/) with the contact info. being (email@example.com). I emailed earlier this month with the suggestion that Cosphere try to get a story on the CBC National News under the segment "Our Changing Planet" (Thanks, Brooke, for the kind response!). In addition to that possibility, I wonder whether the Cosphere team (or just Cosphere forum members here) might also be interested in this Vancouver Plan? The third tenet on "climate protection and restored ecosystems" seems to correlate best with this project's mission and Dr. Chan's CRC project. Perhaps there is room for some direct municipal policy work if Cosphere is involved. I thought I would put this out there in case you are interested. To end on a light (sardonic?) note, here is a comic post from Facebook I noticed this evening. The message puts us humans in our place (rightfully so) but at the same time, makes me a bit sad too. (Source: False Knees, 2018; accessed on Facebook 3/21/22).