2006/12/29

I'm really pleased today to have my small organization honoured by our mayor in Sarnia. Just last night I was meeting with another key member with suggestions on how to re-energize our group. I gave a talk to the local environmental community in August on how to increase its effectiveness.
Every year, the Sarnia mayor's honour list gives special recognition to individuals and groups who don't normally get much, but make a good impact in the community. This is a boost to our efforts and to strengthen the work done in Sarnia to shift it to an environmental stronghold.

"Sarnia Environmental Activists, a group that had pushed for a pesticide control bylaw and against Highway 402 emissions."
http://www.sarniaea.com

Here's the full list of those honoured ~ Congrats to all:
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/CityandRegion/2006/12/29/pf-3058942.html

2006/12/23

Christmas is a perfect opporunity to think about people in need in your community and around the world. What a perfect excuse to purchcase a gift of a charitable donation. Or to buy something fair trade or organic or locally made, or something you make yourself or do as a service. Or give someone you don't know something they need.

I'm inspired by a friend who's decided to gather a couple others and spend his day visiting elderly people who don't have any friends to talk to. Delivering a card and a smile. They don't need material things at this time of year. Just a little time.
I consider acts like these to be community-building; sustainability - seeing a need and filling it. What can I do like this over the holidays?

Merry Christmas.

2006/12/21


so emo!

2006/12/20

The campus climate action movement is really heating up.
It's unfortunate this didn't happen 10 years ago.
But things are moving and we have to pick up the pace and reduce our carbon footprint.

2006/12/17

2006/12/14

There's a lot of drowsy people in Sarnia today.
Maybe tens of thousands heard the explosion, or from my house several kms away, a loud but distant roar.
I went to sleep not knowing if people were safe, or if this might be the big one.
Just knew from radio that there was an explosion at Imperial Oil, and no one was telling us much more than to shelter-in-place (stay put and don't let scary outside air into your house).
But awoke to CTV and CBC news covering the story across the country.
Apparently no health risks due to the hydrocarbon burning.
More importantly though, their operations overall were barely affected.

This is approximately what I would have seen from my house if I could have been a little higher.
http://photos.theobserver.ca/mycapture/enlarge.asp?userphoto=0&image=13704881&thispage=1
Interesting the potentially dangerous situation that police, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs must put themselves in by being placed nearby.

---

I just watched a rare Stephen Harper press conference.
He sounded worse than Bush, like a denier of science when he spoke of climate change in terms of "so-called greenhouse gases" and mentioned Canadian citizens' concerns about toxins as "perceived heath risks".

---

...on an unrelated but equally frightening note :) two people I helped set up in high school are going to get married. Maybe I should get paid to do this?

2006/12/08

Darcy can't wait for Little Mosque on the Prairie on CBC!

2006/12/07

Last night I attended an award dinner for (ten) top student volunteers at UW. The President’s Circle Award for Volunteerism was started in 1997 by the previous UW President after speaking with an extraordinary student about what she did with her time. The thought came up at that time: sounds like a more than 24 hour day. Many are familiar with this lifestyle.

The award is a great way, as David Johnston said, to honour student leaders and volunteers. It is a pleasant occasion to feel recognized for your time and often challenging work that no one is making you do. However, of course, the award is somewhat subjective and can’t possibly recognize every student who deserves such distinction and thanks. Congrats to everyone who was nominated!

It can be tough to balance volunteering, or work with clubs and societies or broader activism, with everyday life. I want to applaud everyone who’s put in the hours, who’s led in different ways on and off campus.

You know who you are …Thanks for your work.

My friend mentioned the other day the busyness of the student lifestyle – the need to take care of oneself before problems arise. Something often tends to give when we get this busy, whether it’s grades, health (fitness level, diet, illness, mental health), a clean living environment, or relationships or social life.

A deep breath (as in a relaxing day) here and there can be great. Actually, I saw a high school friend from Laurier on the train today, and she decided to go home for just a night to get in some R&R.

Good luck on exams!

Take care of yourself and have some fun.

2006/12/03


I'm going to miss Janet Yip who died earlier this week.
It's such a shock to have a friend the same age pass away. Especially someone like Janet, an incredible, active, committed, beautiful young woman.

We had a lot in common - Buddhism, a Green, activism in her faculty and WPIRG; she was a witty, funny person.

I will remember her advice and wisdoms - quirky and intelligent.
She was one of those engineering students who didn't mind hanging out with my ES crew. She enjoyed different experiences, and brought people together.

Should make us want to work doubly hard to work for the peaceful, ecological world Janet was trying to build.
Life doesn't make sense sometimes. I guess life and death just happen.

2006/11/27


Well folks, we done good!
Elizabeth received 26% of the vote, beating the Conservatives and NDP easily. The Liberal candidate in London North-Centre pulled in a strong victory.
This is the strongest vote percentage of any Green ever in Canada (as far as I know).
Congratulations Elizabeth, and good work, particularly to all the Young Greens who worked so hard in London and across the country.
You've done me, and the rest of us proud!

2006/11/25

The beavers story has perhaps had more media attention than any other I've yet been involved in.
But it has a good ending.
UW announced a task force do deal with wildlife issues more effectively in the future.

But we turn to the by-election in London North-Centre and Elizabeth May.
There are rides going from Sarnia, K-W and other areas to have a final push for the weekend.
Poll rumours have the Greens and Liberals running neck-and-neck there.
I'm told they've got great momentum in London - London Free Press letters, signs, volunteers...
Help with a final push and donate a day or two to a "Maycation" in London, plus call all your friends there to get out Monday's vote!
http://www.elizabethmay.ca

On a sadder note, Iraq's current fighting is making me sick.
it makes the situation feel helpless. I hope it's not.

2006/11/22


Received a morning call from David Emery at CTV.

He said they'd like to cover the beaver vigil live for their noon newscast. "It's quite a story."

When I said we heard about the story Friday, he said they broke it on Thursday - so that's especially why they want to follow-up.

We have a few speakers lined up, and a quicky mobilized group of students regarding this issue.
Setting up and leaving noon in the SLC near the Bomber.

2006/11/21

CRISIS POINT ...lol

from the UW daily bulletin:

"University officials say the damage done by the beavers reached a crisis point a week ago when one of the trees they gnawed down fell across a pedestrian walkway heading toward Conrad Grebel University College. Attempts to find a different way to deal with the beavers, such as trapping them alive and moving them to a more remote place, had failed, officials also say."

2006/11/17

This week's article:
http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=562&Itemid=59&issuedate=2006-11-17

and I was quoted in:
http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=13&Itemid=55&issuedate=2006-11-17

On a disturbing note,
four beavers were killed recently by someone hired on campus to take care of the supposed problem. It made front page of the Record - even made news in Brantford.
(The Womyn's Centre name change made the front of the National Post - very interesting how newspapers pick up each other's stories.)

To me, it's a moral deficit to do this.

Here's what I wrote as a facebook invitiation - some folks are planning a response:

Beavers memorial
To remember and ask why - deaths of four beavers on campus.
Host: A collective of students cross-faculty

Time and Place
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Time: 12:00pm - 12:30pm
Venue: SLC Great Hall - moving to Laurel Creek


Four beavers have been caught and killed by live underwater traps at Laurel Creek going through UW campus.The beavers (Castor canadensis), which have lately been the subject of interest by students and children on campus, were killed because they provided a "safety hazard", instead of being left alone, trapped and placed elsewhere, being taken by an organization who would have kept them inside for the winter, or the trees protected."See today's Record front page for more information.It reported one being killed, but that is now four, with the trapping complete for now."...traps are especially inhumane for animals that can hold their breath for 10 to 15 minutes." More information on beaver-human conflict resolution:http://www.beaversww.org/We're not radical activists here. It's just a basic question of ethics.
Campaigns won, and more to come

Sometimes I like to take the bus instead of walking home.
I enjoy pretending Waterloo is more of a bustling city, going along in the dimming daylight through the traffic of Westmount.

But seeing the population sign for Waterloo, it instantly changed from 99,000 to 115,000.

Truth is, there is great growth in this region.
And lucky for us, Brenda Halloran was elected mayor.

It was a huge victory/upset - Monday's election night was much too exciting.
The other candidates I supported all put forth strong campaigns and raised the issues.
Brenda's re-iterated her main committments will be towards the environment/youth/students.
We all look forward to working with her.

Elizabeth May yesterday easily won her first debate - based on a poll at Huron College @ Western:
http://www.elizabethmay.ca/node/227
Our job now is to get her elected in London North-Centre, and there's just a little time left.

2006/11/06

shhh. a secret.
The new Alternatives is out! It's called thought for food.
Pretty clever, no?
I've got a couple articles in it, and fact-checked basically the whole thing.
http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/

Another councillor in Ward 5 could use help - he's deliverying flyers Friday evening about the moraine, and will drive and feed volunteers.
email me if you can help out - darcyhiggins@gmail.com

Republicans and Bush's neo-conservative international ideology will fall in tomorrow's American elections.

and holy crap... Bill Clinton's gonna be at Bingeman's on Wednesday!

2006/11/05

Elizabeth May is running in London North-Centre and needs your help, wherever you reside, to become Canada's first Green MP. Let Jim Harris and the gang tell you how to help out:
http://blog.greenparty.ca/en/blog/29


Who I'm voting for in K-W (or would)...

Brenda Holloran - has made quite an impression on me, quickly.
Passionate about the Moraine, stong for protection, and strong on student issues and community-building.
Let's get her in. Find her group on facebook or: http://brendaformayor.com

Pauline Richards - Ward 3 Waterloo - A wonderful former Green Party candidate who knows the city well and has long been a champion for sustainability. Check her website, and blog about the candidates meeting at UW:
http://www.paulinerichards.ca
Pauline plans to be out on the street with supporters Tuesday and Wednesday 5-6pm, so email her to help out.

Jason Hammond - Regional Council, Kitchener - Another strong candidate, with a youth voice. Have worked with him on many projects. Will be our voice for stronger reigonal transit and a better environment (and knows his stuff). Blog at: http://jasonhammond.blogspot.com

Sher DiCiccio - Ward 7 Waterloo - A great vision for arts and community, and supportive of actions to stop Moraine development.

Raj Gill - Ward 5 Kitchener - Has done so much for the campus and community.
I know Raj will be great on Council and work to support the social fabric of the City and improve all aspects of the environment.
http://www.rajgill.ca

Jane Mitchell - Regional Council, Waterloo - Saw her speak on behalf of a strong by-law against pesticides. She brough it to the table last winter, and articulately made the case, without support from enough councillors. Please re-elect.
http://www.janemitchell.ca


Waterlooians.ca keeps an ongoing blog and has great history of issues around the Moraine:
http://www.waterlooians.ca/blog/index.html
David Wellhauser needs help the next few evenings to get people to vote for the environment.
See: http://uwenet.blogspot.com

Please vote.
Candidates' websites will tell you how.

My recent articles in Imprint:
Clay flung in election debate...
http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=442&Itemid=74&issuedate=2006-11-03
Man in box
http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=475&Itemid=58&issuedate=2006-11-03
Northern hope
http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/mambo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=410&Itemid=59&issuedate=2006-10-27

And check Science section for all other sustainability-related articles!

2006/10/31

My parents talked to Jack Layton about the environment and me and Elizabeth May on Sunday. now this:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/10/31/layton-harper.html


Also, an interesting little piece of history ending today if you know much about South Africa:
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2006/10/31/botha-death.html
Students at this campus never cease to surprise me.
Whether's it's their efforts, their contrasting viewpoints and beliefs, their ability to or resistance to collaborate. There are so many people with different views, and many tend to stay within their certain groups - instead of open debate on issues and strategies, you often get people complaining to their friends about views and practices that differ from their own, that people think are stupid, or the person is "stupid". At some point we'll further learn to respect others' views and attack the person less. That's the way things will get done.
(I'm not referring to one specific incident.)
We need stronger community - diversity means a higher level of integration. Without losing cultures and opinions, we can reach out to each other to share our beliefs - and this must be done without fear of being discounted. This means stepping into a service or a club or newspaper, or student association or society you don't agree with or don't know what they do.
Make sure to get to know the organization and help out; you can complain later (though you probably won't have any time after you get involved and get change moving).

A UW Environment Network meeting I'm about to attend will highlight just how that can work.

After a heated and very personal class debate on private health care, it's still good to see a variety of well-thought out views, even if some of us have very different key values.
It shows that there is strong diversity within the university community - even though we're all about the same age.

In between meetings with admin at UW, I see we've got lots of great movers at this place.

We've got to get out there and hear each other out and make things happen!

"Communication is to sustainability as localtion is to real estate."