Its Earth Week! What are your book/article/movie suggestions for all the issues surrounding environmentalism

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Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture
Its Earth Week! What are your book/article/movie suggestions for all the issues surrounding environmentalism

It's Earth Week!

We thought a fun way to get the conversation going around the environmental issues and outlying factors presented by Earth Week would be to have babblers list their favourite books/movies/articles/websites that address these issues.

Earth Week, beginning today April 16 and ending with Earth Day on April 22, is supposed to be a time of positive action and results, and what better way to achieve awareness than for babblers to discuss what issues are important to them, and what mediums have affected and enriched their knowledge on those issues.

 

For example, the babble book lounge kicked off the week with a recap of the Babble Book Club's discussion of Straphanger with special guest Eric Doherty. The discussion talks about important environmental issues such as the climate crises, destructive car culture and freeway system and sustainable transit, and also other issues that are correlated with environmental issues such as gentrification, city planning and health issues.

Straphanger was a great read on transit-oriented living and the benefits of public transportation, but also raised a lot of other questions on the issues of what is best for a city.

 

Also, last year we read, watched, and discussed the book and film documentary Food Inc., which discussed the alternative food movement and the problems with factory-produced foods. We got to talking about how and why we eat, and what ideally we would change, and what we just would not budge on!

 

So, with that, we want to hear from you!

What books inspired you to make a change? What articles and writers continue to inform your daily view? What movies do you recommend to friends who want to learn more?

Let us know below!

 

Issues Pages: 
lagatta

Jan Gehl, for example "Cities for People" (Pour des villes à l'échelle humaine, in French. No idea of the Danish title!)

There is a long video related to it: http://vimeo.com/53316566

I'd also advise Michael Löwy: Ecosocialisme - L'alternative radicale à la catastrophe écologique capitaliste, but I don't think it has been translated to English yet. I'll try to find books in English on ecosocialism, as an antidote to "bourgeois" greening and green capitalism.

mmphosis
lagatta

A talk by Michael Löwy on ecosocialism and democratic planning: http://vimeo.com/59703596

I'll try to find some younger women! Sorry for posting only "old guys"!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

For people who want to understand the West Coast not just Metro Vancouver this is an excellent book edited by an old friend. It is an awesome resource and the artwork in it is superb.

Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas by Sheila Harrington and Judi Stevenson

Quote:

Editor Sheila Harrington argues, for example, that the maps in this atlas are quite different from those used to incorporate the Gulf Islands into the British Empire and Canadian nation, as well as from those used by present-day federal and provincial entities to manage resources and people:

"Maps like these express the interior of a place, rather than the exterior boundaries of territoriality, surveillance, and control. They offer an outward portrait of a local intimacy, providing an opportunity to share, to empathize, to know and to care. They are a collective portrait of a community – a face – expressed beautifully and lovingly, with all the lines and marks of experience and age." (19)

It is this narrative of “interiority,” of creating maps as a way to reorient notions of power and place, that makes Islands in the Salish Sea interesting on more than one level. Whether such an atlas truly departs from earlier geographical traditions of “territoriality, surveillance, and control” is not entirely clear; that participants in this project think it does is. So, while this will be a particularly useful book for teaching the whats and wherefores of a particular region, as well as the how-tos of community mapmaking and environmental advocacy, it will also be a particularly useful source for insights into the culture of a particular BC region, into the rhetoric of place, and into popular understandings of social and environmental conflicts over the lands and waters of the “Salish Sea” – a geographical neologism that, in itself, merits discussion and debate.

https://bcstudies.com/reviews.php?id=1011

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

lagatta wrote:

Jan Gehl, for example "Cities for People" (Pour des villes à l'échelle humaine, in French. No idea of the Danish title!)

You were mentioning (or it was mentioned in the book as well?) that a lot of Grescoe's ideas in Straphanger were based on Gehl's, right?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

For people who want to understand the West Coast not just Metro Vancouver this is an excellent book edited by an old friend. It is an awesome resource and the artwork in it is superb.

Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas by Sheila Harrington and Judi Stevenson

Thanks kropotkin1951, I would like to check that out.

We have been a little Vancouver-centric on the book threads lately (apologies to those annoyed/turned off), but there has been an awesome and interesting movement for anti-gentrification and social housing that has been occuring there in the DTES that I think is a great extension of the 'Idle No More' practices and extends to Earth Week aspects as well.

The Mainlander  (who blogs for rabble.ca as well), APTN, and the twitter accounts of DTES hunger strike and homeless dave, have been doing a great job with coverage of the ongoing picketing on gentrifying establishments, homeless dave's hunger strike for social housing, and the politics of the government in Vancouver.

lagatta

I'm not in the slightest turned off by discussion of the ongoing struggle in Vancouver and surrounding cities and towns; if I don't always respond, it is because I have little first-hand knowledge of it. I have spent altogether less than three full days in Vancouver, being flied in and out to work at a conference, and my only "tourist" activity was a Chinese seafood meal after a long working day.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

lagatta wrote:

I'm not in the slightest turned off by discussion of the ongoing struggle in Vancouver and surrounding cities and towns; if I don't always respond, it is because I have little first-hand knowledge of it. I have spent altogether less than three full days in Vancouver, being flied in and out to work at a conference, and my only "tourist" activity was a Chinese seafood meal after a long working day.

well that's good to know. I actually forgot you were Montreal based given all your knowledge on Vancouver :)

I find Canadian news and things can get Toronto-Vancouver centric, but for the conversation on Straphanger specifically, I think it is because lots of us have lived there at one point, and as well, the transit system there is especially unique, and at times, ridiculous.

lagatta

I just read (and write) a lot about utilitarian cycling, carfree (or "car-lite") and otherwise sustainable development in general, as well as tenants' rights and social housing issues. I was a member of Le Monde à bicyclette (radical urban cycling association) starting in the 1970s, and am a long-time member of L'Association des locataires de Villeray, which defends tenants' rights here as well as taking action for more and better social housing and for better urbanism (accessible to all).

Obviously, alas, I'm no longer a twenty-year-old...

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

lagatta wrote:

I just read (and write) a lot about utilitarian cycling, carfree (or "car-lite") and otherwise sustainable development in general, as well as tenants' rights and social housing issues.

That's cool. And, I'm really into that... do you have a specific sources you would recommend?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Also, for those who looove urban gardening, here's a throw back post to last years book list on urban agriculture!

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Also, does anyone have anymore transit related reads?

Eric provided some links on the Straphanger thread, but wondering about some more?

bound but not gagged bound but not gagged's picture

The Straight (local paper in Vancouver) just released this artcle "10 most important climate actions for the next B.C. government".

Here's a taste:

4.     SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION

Launch a Great Zero Carbon Transportation Challenge. Invite every community to form a team to show how it could reduce its carbon emissions from transportation to zero by 2030, with a framework, website and webinars for collaboration, and to share the best ideas. In the interim:

a)     Fund a comprehensive cycling strategy at $75 million a year, as recommended by the BC Cycling Coalition. Restore the PST exemption that used to exist on electric bicycles.

b)     Continue to fund the expansion and growth of transit and LRT, putting it ahead of road-building.

c)     Continue to fund the LiveSmart BC incentives for electric vehicles and charging stations, and to support the California tailpipe standards for new vehicles.

Thoughts? Agree/disagree?

 

lagatta
quizzical

there needs to be a documentary done on Alberta and their outta control environmental destruction. i've been travelling around AB lots lately and am blown away by the incredible environmental destruction going on.

the air pollution is unbelievable to anyone whose not been there imv. how can a province have province wide air pollution? see AB to find out. they have freaking signs stating "sevre smoke warning next 80km" for example. and once you get passed the 1st one's distance messure there comes another. there is NO good air quality anywhere in north and central westernAB

gasping for a breath of fresh air while moving through a landscape that is ripped apart and full of tailing ponds really makes ya realize just how stupid many Albertans are to allow this to happen. and there ain't any signs of "prosperity" for the many. the towns look old and broken down while billions worth of oil drilling equipment sits in fenced compounds on the outskirts of any given town. the way i view it is they're way past any point of environmental comeback.

lagatta

A video online at the Toronto Star site: bring back the trains: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/04/21/bring_back_the_trains_st_m...

If you google carfree you'll find carfree cities and carfree times, with a lot of info on existing carfree (or car-lite) neighbourhoods and towns, and urban planning ideas.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Rather than toss your old computer(s) into landfille sites put them back to work with a GNU/Linux operating system.   There are many versions of GNU/Linux that are specifically designed to work on old computer hardware.

I have a 14 year old Pentium III class machine at work that I use to power an electronic sign.   It's run 24/7 for two years and the only time it's been out of commission is a a couple of times when someone has kicked the power cord out by mistake.

Here are some GNU/Linux versions (distros) designed for old machines.

Antix

Slitaz

Puppy Linux

Tiny Core Linux

Crunch Bang

Lubuntu

Bodhi Linux

Watt OS

Vector Linux Light Edition

 

And this is just for starters!

 

lagatta

Not enough aid for public and active transport in Nova Scotia: http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1124757-critics-call-6-million-i...

lagatta

Driving down among young US-Americans:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/22/why-arent-you...

http://www.frontiergroup.org/sites/default/files/reports/Transportation%...

Car sales down, bike sales up in Europe: Two bicycles sold for every car:

http://www.ecf.com/news/car-sales-down-bike-sales-up-two-new-bikes-are-s...

Obviously economic recession and rising petroleum prices are factors in these changes, but not the only ones.