r gee n THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA’S INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER • March 13, 2014 • VOLUME 66 • ISSUE 26 • MARTLET.CA
Unicycling to combat climate change Page 3
Mark Lynas on GMOs and scientific denialism Page 100
wonders of land-based orca watching Page 120
the campus community garden Page 160
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The one-wheeled activist
Local activist to unicycle across Canada and raise awareness about climate change TARYN BROWNELL Victoria local Joseph Boutilier has decided to embark on a five-month journey to Ottawa in order to raise awareness about climate change. The trip will include stops in small towns to talk to people about climate change issues, as well as an open invitation for anyone who wants to join him to come along. It will come to an end on Parliament Hill where Boutilier will attempt to convince federal politicians to work together to combat climate change. The only catch is, he’s doing the whole trip on a unicycle. “Unicycling, first and foremost, it kind of has an accessibility about it. People see me and they smile. It’s kind of an icebreaker. It gives me a chance to build a rapport with people,” says Boutilier. “I’m talking about pretty heavy issues. There’s a chance to strike
up a casual conversation about something that’s interesting and fun. That’s a good start.” He adds that a unicycle is the perfect speed if people want to join in. Boutilier wants to get people across the country talking about climate change. While his ultimate goal is to get his message across to the federal government, Boutilier believes it is important to get municipal and provincial officials on board with the movement. He says that political parties need to work together if any change is going to happen. “The people that are going to be the hardest hit are the communities that don’t have the resources for adaptation and for health care and things that will really be required to address the pending change—the locked-in global warming that’s going to happen even if we have time to address
the bigger crisis,” says Boutilier. Boutilier’s interest in the climate change crisis started when he was 10 or 11, when he went to a UN children’s conference. Since then, the issue has been sitting in the back of his mind. For a while, he says, he was preoccupied with work, but would go on Facebook and see causes his friends were getting into and think that was something he wanted to do as well. So he quit his job as a game designer and started up his own campaign, called Unity for the Climate. “When An Inconvenient Truth came out and then that wave [of interest in climate change] sort of crashed and nothing came of it, I was distracted with work and typical life stuff. I was out of the loop in terms of activism and non-profit work,” says Boutilier. “As soon as I had kind of made the time to get back into it, I knew that
was going to be my cause.” Boutilier says he was inspired when he heard about Phillip Schleihauf, a man who unicycled across Canada for the Invisible Children fund. So far, Boutilier says he has received a lot of help, including pending support from local businesses for gear. He’s had a mixed reaction from his friends and family, though. “My mom’s a big worry-wart,” he says. “She sends me a number of emails every day and wants to make sure that I’m properly packed and fed and all that stuff.” Boutilier says he doesn’t want to think about the difficulties he may encounter along the way. He says there is a danger of injury or saddle sores, but he’s also concerned about eating well. “I’m for the most part vegetarian, so that might be challenging,” he says.
Boutilier says the hardest part of any campaign like this is providing evidence of the issues and moving beyond partisan politics. He wants to encourage anyone who will listen to join the cause and get everyone talking about climate change. He doesn’t want to unduly pressure people, but he does want to get the attention of anyone who wants to know more. “We’re just seeing, I think, what we’re really capable of as activists and advocates right now,” he says. “The government is absolutely centred on its own objectives, but it’s still vulnerable to the political willpower and the people.” Boutilier will start his journey on April 5, in Sidney, B.C. To find out more about the cause, go to unityfortheclimate.ca.
March 13, 2014
MARTLET • NEWS 3
MP petitions government to save orcas
KLARA WOLDENGA (GRAPHIC)
Government failed to implement action plan ordered by courts in 2009 CAITLIN HANSEN Southern Vancouver Island is home to many—man and beast. Killer whales comprise a small percentage of the island’s residents, but act as a major source of regional pride. However, just like many other native species, they are being displaced by human activity. The federal government has known the orcas to be a threatened species since 2003 and was ordered in 2009 by federal courts to implement an action plan. In 2011, a plan was decided on, designed with recovery strategy goals to meet by March 2013. Not wanting to sit idle, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison tabled the orca situation in October 2013, and when no response came by November, he began a petition. On Feb. 25 this year, Garrison presented the petition to the House of Commons.
In a phone interview, Garrison explained that he has been developing a recovery plan with many of the parties affected by the orca population, including community members. The plan is composed of four parts: securing funds for research and monitoring, reduction of chemical pollution, noise pollution management (of noise caused by commercial ships), and restoration of Chinook stocks—the favourite food of resident orca whales. Garrison said, “[On] Feb. 14, [the] federal court pointed out that the government is in violation of the law, its own law, if it doesn’t bring these [recovery strategies] forward.” Apparently, there is new money in the 2014 Budget, and Garrison says, “It’s a result of the court decision where they were told, ‘You have to do this.’ Now, which species they’re going to allocate that to first, I don’t know, because the
department, the minister, admitted that they’re 163 recovery strategies overdue… I don’t know the others but [the orcas have] got to be one of the high priorities.” The MP says he is trying to remain optimistic because of the federal court decision and the fact that there is funding for recovery strategies for endangered species. Whether the minister will take note and dismiss the plea or designate funds for an orca recovery plan and see to its materialization is not yet known. Garrison says, “They have to give some response. If they say they’re just taking note of it, we [will] say, ‘not good enough,’ [which] gives us a chance to go back at them. However, because of the court decision and the funding, there is a [greater] possibility they will do more than [take note], and the deadline for that is April 11. So
they have to say either, ‘…we’re ignoring you,’… or what they’re going to do, by April 11.” Oak Bay-Gordon Head’s MLA, Andrew Weaver, says, “I totally support [Garrison],” on this matter. Commenting on a feasible recovery strategy for the orcas, Weaver says the government cut funding of marine contaminants research being done by Peter Ross, an orca researcher and long-time observer of the southern population. The data from that research may have been key to understanding the orcas’ future. When asked if there was a possibility of Ross’s program being revived, Garrison said, “It’s obviously something that needs to happen as part of this strategy.” UVic professor and whale researcher Dr. David Duffus describes the southern population as a “major mess with a reduction in potential breeders”
due to past capturing events. He says it may be too late for this particular population, but that the fact that a politician even tabled this issue is “breathtaking.” According to Duffus, the DFO “has priorities, [and] marine mammals aren’t part of it.” Duffus expressed excitement in response to recent legal threats received by the DFO for violations of Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Earlier this month, the federal government released a draft of an action plan. The plan outlines activities to be undertaken by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) , but says that other jurisdictions, organizations, and individuals have a role to play as well. Regional consultation on the plan started on March 3 and will continue until April 16.
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4 NEWS • MARTLET
March 13, 2014
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Deer cull planned for Oak Bay Friends of Animals group encourages coexistence instead JACK CROUCH Oak Bay Municipal Council has approved participation in a Capital Regional District (CRD) pilot project that would result in the trapping and killing of 25 deer in the municipality. The project, at a cost of $12 500 (or $500 per deer), comes after complaints from concerned residents about “damage to residential gardens, car accidents, and habituation.” This is according to an opposition group’s pamphlets titled, “Living With Deer: Your Guide to coexistence with wildlife in Oak Bay.” The group distributed 5 000 of the pamphlets over two separate weekends, aiming to supply every resident in the municipality. The pamphlet contains information under such headings as “What is Happening?” “Why Should You Care?” “About Wildlife Culls,” “Looking Forward,” and “Solutions for Coexisting With Deer.” In an email, Dave Shishkoff (Canadian correspondent for Friends of Animals) writes, “Our goal is to educate Oak Bay residents, and enable them to coexist peacefully with deer.” According to the pamphlet, when people feed the deer it encourages
the deer to keep coming back, and eventually they begin to rely on an unreliable food source. It is against the law to feed deer in Oak Bay, and the pamphlet says to report sightings of people feeding deer. Oak Bay council voted in February to increase deer feeding fines to $300 for first offence and $500 for repeat offenders. One concern about the proposed cull plan is that it may have no significant long-term effect. The pamphlet says that by removing deer from the area, “there’s less competition for food and space, and deer from surrounding territories can move in.” Also in the pamphlet, highlighted and in bold, is the statement, “The truth is no one knows how many deer live in Oak Bay.” Deer may move into adjacent municipalities, and Friends of Animals suggests there’s no baseline to compare numbers before and after a cull. This uncertainty may raise ethical issues and undermine opposition groups’ perception of justification for the proposed plan. Friends of Animals is also among those questioning the method that would be used to kill the deer. The group’s pamphlet says traps would be set up around the municipality,
and once a deer had been caught, a person would use a captive bolt gun (the same tool used in slaughterhouses for pigs and cows) to knock the deer unconscious and then cut the deers’ throats to let them bleed out. The pamphlet reads, “Although a legal method of killing, only experienced wildlife personnel are capable of doing this correctly, and there’s always a chance for error.” A frequently asked questions document on Oak Bay’s participation in the CRD Regional Deer Management Strategy says, “Population reduction is only one component of a deer management strategy. When dealing with an overabundance of deer in an area where there are no natural predators, there needs to be a mechanism to reduce the population to more manageable numbers. Population reduction programs can be ongoing—an initial reduction phase followed by a maintenance phase after localized population densities have been reduced.” As the plan would be publicly funded, Friends of Animals says in its pamphlet, “a better investment of money and time exists, and coupled with an attitude of respect for wildlife, we can all coexist peacefully.”
BRANDON EVERELL (PHOTO)
CARBC researcher calls cannabis “the exit drug” SIMON GRANT Philippe Lucas, who works at UVic and as a researcher at the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC), presented a seminar titled “Cannabis: The Exit Drug” in the David Strong building during this year’s IdeaFest. His speech focused primarily on a research study he conducted, spanning 404 sets of survey responses collected from four cannabis dispensaries in B.C. He deduced from his findings that cannabis served many as a substitute for alcohol, tobacco, hard drugs like cocaine, and prescription medication. When conducting the survey, he wanted to “examine the subjective impact of medicinal Cannabis on the use of licit and illicit substances.”
The survey revealed that of those 404 responses, 88 per cent, or 356 respondents, used medicinal cannabis daily. Two-hundred-sixty-seven of the surveys that indicated use of cannabis daily also indicated its use as a substitute for other substances. One-hundred-forty-six surveys indicated its use as a substitute for alcohol. One-hundred-twenty-eight surveys indicated its use as a substitute for illicit substances like cocaine or methamphetamine. Two-hundredthirty-nine surveys indicated its use as a substitute for prescription medication. Respondents’ reasons for the substitutions included that cannabis has “less adverse side effects” and is more accessible than the other substances through lower cost or easier acquisition. Lucas believes that
cannabis may viably “provide a substitute for opiates to chronic pain.” He concludes that cannabis use effectively reduces the desire and need for more detrimental drugs and provides a viable exit from addictions to such substances. Lucas wishes to see the drug (currently legal in medicinal application) be completely decriminalized for several reasons, asserting that it shouldn’t be regarded as criminal. He does, however, want to see a decrease, not an increase, in cannabis use. He doesn’t want it legalized like coffee, but responsibly government regulated and controlled like tobacco. On a judicial level, legalization can potentially provide many benefits, according to Lucas. By legalizing, or at least regulating cannabis through a
system of fines, many criminals could be pardoned or released from incarceration, which would free the courts to prosecute other crimes. In a medical application, addicts could be given cannabis to get them off more harmful drugs, potentially contributing to a decrease in drug-related crimes. As well, Lucas says that cannabis costs much less than current anti-addiction medication, such as methadone, resulting in decreased drug harmreduction costs. Lucas says what he calls current “scare tactics” are ineffective methods of reducing drug-related costs and should be abandoned. Furthermore, he says the criminalization of cannabis and its users is ultimately more detrimental than beneficial. If it cannot be completely legalized, Lucas would
like to see a system of fines, instead of criminal sentences and criminal records that may limit the futures of illegal cannabis users. Additionally, and simply to decrease use, he wants to adopt “an evidence-based approach [that] can reduce cannabis use in youth.” According to Health Canada, in 2011, the prevalence of past-year cannabis use among Canadians 15 years and older had decreased from 10.7 per cent to 9.1 per cent. Statistics Canada shows that, as of 2007, cannabis-related offenses accounted for the majority of drug crimes. According to Stats Canada figures, out of 100 000 drug-related incidents, 62 per cent were cannabis related and three quarters of that 62 per cent were for possession.
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March 13, 2014
MARTLET • NEWS 5
UVic to renew five-year sustainability plan Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability seeks student input JANINE CROCKETT The Sustainability Action Plan: Campus Operation, UVic’s sustainability project, is wrapping up its first five years, having begun in 2009. The plan consists of a list of various goals; such as ensuring 100 per cent of all university electronic waste is recycled domestically and reducing water consumption by 25 per cent through conservation and innovation by 2015. The main objective of the project is to make operations at UVic more sustainable. Sustainability Co-ordinator at the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability Rita Fromholt says, “There was a trend amongst universities to start having a strategic plan specifically focused on sustainability, as sustainability was gaining a higher profile within post-secondary and advanced education. So we did research on what other universities were doing and held a series of consultation meetings with students, faculty and staff.” The UVic plan takes a multi-faceted approach to creating sustainability on campus, with better cycling infrastructure, expansion of the bus loop and better bus service, and more composting, among other steps. Further, UVic’s campus includes five Canada Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, rated at the Gold level. LEED buildings are rated out of 110 points on attributes that are considered environmentally beneficial; a Gold building is
one that has between 60 and 79 points. UVic also has a sixth building waiting to receive its Gold rating, and any new buildings are now built to LEED standards. UVic is the fifth post-secondary institution in Canada to receive a Gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS). UVic’s action plan has reached many of its goals; however, with such a large group of people using campus resources, it may be difficult to fully realize some of the goals. Fromholt says, “Twenty per cent reduction of electricity use is pretty tough when your campus is growing and everything we do uses more electricity. Flat-screen TVs and people charging when they come to campus: it’s really difficult. No matter how much you try and tell people to turn off lights, there’s only so far you can get. So there are lots of questions to be answered. So, we’re talking to all the departments that we work with, Facilities Management being the main one because they control all the buildings and the grounds, and the energy use and the waste is all handled through Facilities Management, so they’re our main partner.” UVic has also developed a running sustainability fund of $250 000, meant to provide financial assistance to projects that reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emission, and water use. The resulting savings from the reduction must be enough that the money loaned will be repaid within five years or less. Staff of University Systems who work in the Enterprise Data Centre
KLARA WOLDENGA (GRAPHIC) that contains servers have suggested improvements and received money from the fund; they may not have otherwise had the money to implement their ideas. The servers in the building run all the time and, as a result, require air conditioning to run alongside them. The staff used the money to implement technology that manages the power supply, which allowed the system to go up and down rather than stay on all the time. The plan was so efficient that the money was repaid in approximately a year and a half. The greenhouse gas audit that year also showed the
electricity consumption went down and stayed down, despite increased server capacity. The next step for UVic is to decide new goals going forward and adjust expectations. “We’ve been talking to people about the latest data we have on all the energy consumption and all the waste and the transportation data and sort of saying ‘Well, in some cases we got pretty close to our goal, in some cases we exceeded the goal, in some cases we fell short of the goal.’ So we’re at this state right now where we’re evaluating all of those goals and
talking to people about, ‘What should we do for the next five years? Should we keep the same goals? Are there new ones?’ Some are irrelevant now, because we’ve achieved them,” says Fromholt. The Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability website offers a survey for students and others to help further guide the goals and areas of concentration for the plan’s next five years. An official progress report for the project will be released to the public in June 2014.
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IN THEATRES MARCH 14 6 NEWS • MARTLET
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MARCH 21 ENTERTAINMENT ONE
Highland Valley Copper Mine, near Logan Lake, B.C., and its tailings dam
ALVESTRAND VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (PHOTO)
Prosperity Mine project rejected again Wilderness Committee says big win for the environment ADAM HAYMAN A proposed mine 125 kilometres west of Williams Lake, B.C., was recently given the no-go from Canada’s minister of the environment, Leona Aglukkaq. The proposal, called the New Prosperity Mine Project, was for the mine to be built near Fish Lake, but an independent review panel found that “the New Prosperity Mine is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated.” Taseko Mines Ltd., the mining company that proposed New Prosperity, figured that the mineral deposit at the site holds 5.3 billion pounds of copper and 13.3 million ounces of gold. The estimated pre-tax present net value of the deposit was reported as approximately $3 billion. This is not the first time Taseko proposed the Prosperity site. In 2010, the company attempted to get the green light, but its proposal was declined then also. “The federal government is not going to allow a mine that would have that kind of impact on the water and the wildlife…and that’s a really good thing,” said Joe Roy, the national campaign director of activist organization the Wilderness Committee. Roy and his colleagues worked with the First
Nations communities situated in and around the area in protesting the mine’s construction. “We became involved in 2010,” said Roy. “That was during the first proposal.” He added, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a more damned, a more criticized, or a worse mining project than this, based on the two back-to-back reports they got.” The lake, and the plateau on which the mine proposal had set its sights, is the land of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation. The lake is known as Teztan Biny in the Tsilhqot’in language. The review panel’s environmental report underlined ways the New Prosperity Mine may have caused environmental harm. Roy highlighted some of those issues: “A great risk of water from the tailings pond making it into Fish Lake and other water courses. … There is also great concern about the region’s grizzly bear population, which is an at-risk population, and there’s acknowledgement that it would be a massive impact on First Nations people. The Tsilhqot’in people primarily enjoy, hunt and fish and otherwise enjoy, a good life on their territory.” The Globe and Mail’s global energy reporter, Shawn McCarthy, wrote in an article, “Taseko Mines Ltd. could be
forgiven if it is feeling a bit like a pawn in a chess match between the Harper government and British Columbia’s First Nations communities.” He believes that the Tory Government is trying to save face with this rejection in lieu of the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines. However, Roy said, “If you ask the government to do something and they do it, I think you need to say they’ve done a good thing, and in this case they’ve done a good thing.” On the Wilderness Committee’s website, Fish Lake is called one of the 10 best fishing lakes in the province. But, on the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C.’s website, gofishbc. com, Fish Lake isn’t among the over 100 fishing lakes in the Cariboo/ Williams Lake region. In 2012, B.C. mining provided jobs for 10 419 people, and Kerry Cook, the mayor of Williams Lake, told a radio station in Vancouver she was hoping to see some of those jobs come to her city. “People need to understand the connection between resource development and a city like Williams Lake’s dependence on resource development,” said Cook. “I mean these are our jobs—these are our families.” March 13, 2014
MARTLET • NEWS 7
Find more green-themed opinions at Martlet.ca.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE INITIATIVE TO DIVEST UVIC FUNDS FROM FOSSIL FUEL?
KLARA WOLDENGA (GRAPHIC)
Capitalism may save the planet
I agree that it’s a good idea. Even if I’m already invested in it, I think it’s a good idea to move, because it’s a climate change issue.
Throughout UVic and society at large, a powerful and persistent myth has taken hold: capitalist economics and business practices are fundamentally incompatible with the natural environment—environmental destruction is somehow an inevitable outcome of the free market, and overhauling our political, economic, and social systems ensures the preservation of nature. This mentality is well intended, but categorically wrong.
Market-based government policy instruments can, and should, be used; they’re a tool, and right now we have neither the luxury of being choosy nor the wherewithal to enact radical environmental philosophies. Desperation demands creativity and working with what we have available to us—not rejecting it. Perhaps we ought to reconsider the notion that taking care of the natural environment equates to collective governance, and an abrupt shift in social and ethical values. We need to be greener—no question. Despite laudable intentions, we haven’t done enough: concentrations of atmospheric carbon have blown past 400 parts per million, and continue to increase; the ocean is becoming less basic, and marine organisms are suffering as a result; and, in 2010, Arctic Sea ice measured at a historic minimum.
LORELIE LEON Master’s student Business
I think it’s a good idea. I mean, it’s UVic—the learning’s supposed to be progressive and invested more in renewable, sustainable resources, and kind of support that push for sustainable energy. Yeah, that’s definitely a good idea. Fossil fuels—I mean sure, short term, it’s helping the Canadian economy—but it’s getting old. We can’t hang on to it forever.
JAKE BAERG First year Geography
However, broad engagement with business-minded individuals on their terms will be crucial to creating and maintaining an economy that is receptive to the limits of the natural environment we are situated in. Should we fall back on reframing the issue, on reconstituting the language of the issue, on simply “trying to get them to understand”? Surely creating opportunities for those involved in wealth generation to engage with problems in the ways that they know best would be more effective. Business-minded individuals are as creative and innovative as they are competitive—they respond to opportunities and challenges, probably more so than to abstract ethical imperatives or scientific cautioning. According to Hunter Lovins, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, “WWF [World Wildlife Fund] and CDP [Carbon Disclosure Project] showed that if businesses cut carbon emissions by an average of three per cent annually, they’d save up to $190 billion in 2020 alone, or $780 billion over 10 years. McKinsey [a major American management consulting firm] agrees, but puts the number to be saved eliminating carbon waste at $2.9 trillion annually.” Obviously, examples in which capitalism has destroyed the environment are numerous—look no further than Alberta’s tarsands. However, environmental destruction isn’t an error of any particular economic system; lack of foresight, rejection of scientific information, and stubborn adherence to tradition shouldn’t be ascribed to any one particular economic or political system more than another. The destruction of the Aral Sea, for example, occurred under the supervision of a government predicated on socialism. Abandoning property rights doesn’t necessarily equate to environmental integrity or technologies that reduce pollution.
I think that it’s not good to change it. Because I believe that Canada has a lot of good technology, fossil fuels, and you should invest in it. I do agree that it can be a problem if UVic tries to reverse it, because they tell that they are environmentally friendly, and when you’re arriving, you receive a lot of green informational everything. And if they are still doing this, it can be bad for the reputation of the college; but I don’t agree that they should change.
The environmental movement is important; the inertia it gained over the 20th century is a testament to the enduring importance of its concerns. Moreover, serious environmental changes are coming—the science has been clear on that for quite some time. However, capitalism, and more specifically how we engage with it, can be part of the solution, even if it’s been part of the problem.
I’m for it. I think it’s a very good idea. I’m all ‘go green’ and ‘be responsible for the environment.
Editorial topics are decided on by staff at our editorial meetings, held weekly in the Martlet office (SUB B011). Editorials are written by one or more staff members and are not necessarily the opinion of all staff members. Happy? Sad? Enraged? Tell us: firstname.lastname@example.org The Martlet has an open letter policy and will endeavour to publish letters received from the university and local community. Letters must be submitted by email, include your real name and affiliation to UVic and have “Letter to the editor” in the subject line. Letters must be under 200 words and may be edited.
8 OPINIONS • MARTLET
March 13, 2014
FELIPE GALLIENA Third year Commerce
WIKTORIA SYSKA Third year Financial Accounting
I think I agree . . . I’m sure I signed a petition for this . . . I actually have heard of it. It’s not just about the money. It’s the health of our society and our world.
Yeah, I agree. I think they should invest maybe somewhere else. Healthcare or something.
” ALANA WALTER First year Psychology
KAREN BHELA First year Psychology
DOCUMENTATION BY JP ZACHARIAS
The Lens: Oilsands
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March 13, 2014
MARTLET • OPINIONS 9
Mark Lynas on GMOs, science denialism, evidence-based policy, and saving the planet
Ryan Ziegler & Mark Sanderson January 2013, amid a chorus of controversy, Mark Lynas—high -profile environmental writer, activist, and researcher—publicly renounced and apologized for his previous anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) position, at the Oxford Farming Conference. Though Lynas had been an advocate for biotechnology since 2010, after this 2013 event a small media storm occurred, with Lynas profiles in Slate, the Guardian, and Forbes. Predictably, anti-GMO activists tried to cast his involvement with their movement into doubt; some continue to suggest that Lynas was bought off by the biotechnology industry—a claim that remains unsupported. Lynas cites increased familiarity with scientific discourse as the key driver for changing his mind on the topic of GMOs. Lynas discussed the basic science and politics underpinning GMO application in our telephone interview.
What changes in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at a cellular level? Mark Lynas: Well, it’s actually more complicated than people think, because defining exactly what constitutes a GMO anymore is no longer a simple task. Classically, it means the introduction of foreign DNA through the use of recombinant DNA. Typically a bacterium called Agrobacterium [bacteria with the ability to transfer genes between itself and plants] is used to splice foreign DNA into the genome [organism’s hereditary information] of a target crop. To give one example, the Bt trait is used worldwide now, in corn and cotton and other things, for insect-resistance. That comes from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis [bacterium commonly used as a biological pesticide]. The genes, which are spliced into the target crops, allow the plants to express a particular protein, which is toxic to certain insect pests. This then enables farmers not to have to spray insecticides in such quantities. That’s one example, but of course there are many others. If you use conventional breeding, you have obviously a very limited source of germplasm [basic genetic information found in a seed]. So, depending on the traits you’re looking for, you may not be able to breed them in conventionally, particularly things like disease resistance. Maybe to give a better example, golden rice: there are no genes in any known rice varieties which could enable the rice to express beta-carotene [an organic compound that the body converts to vitamin A] in the seed. It has to be introduced from elsewhere, from a different plant.
Is there an appreciable difference between a transgenic organism and a crop that’s a product of selective breeding? Lynas: At a molecular level, they’re both genetically modified. Modification has come about through conventional breeding or through recombinant DNA techniques used by biologists using mutagenesis [a process whereby genetic information is changed, resulting in a mutation] induced by gamma radiation,
10 OPINIONS • Martlet
March 13, 2014
which through random mutations produces new traits, which are selected for. All of those are genetically modified, and, in fact, there’s not really any good reason why only the recombinant DNA techniques are highlighted for such controversy and, indeed, for such strict regulatory oversight, given that the genes that have been taken across are well understood. Their impacts are extensively studied through toxicology, compositional analysis, and so on and so forth—much of that testing, of course, isn’t done for conventional crop breeding or, indeed, for mutagenesis. I think the scientific community is pretty clear that there’s no cause for concern over and above what they would have for any other type of crop breeding.
Most long-term studies indicate an absence of adverse health outcomes associated with GMOs. So, why should we accept these studies over statements by GMO opponents such as Vandana Shiva [environmentalist and anti-globalization activist] or Judy Carman [adjunct associate professor in Biochemistry at Flinders University in Australia]? Lynas: I think it’s generally a good idea not to accept the rantings of ideologues versus what’s been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. That’s something I’ve learned over the last 20 years looking at some of the discourse on climate change or many other areas. You’ve got ideologues who believe that vaccinations cause autism or any number of other wild theories. I can’t sit here and say that they’re all wrong necessarily. But the only way we have of telling is through a lot of empirical work, which needs to be evaluated through proper scientific methodologies, which is certainly not the case with anything Vandana Shiva has said or done in recent years.
She seems to reject science as an enterprise. Lynas: Exactly. Her whole career has been to reject the enlightenment, essentially, and empiricism, in general, as a form of production of knowledge that is illegitimate and is a kind of a colonial imposition on indigenous ways of knowing and other such vague ideas. It’s just a different worldview. I think her worldview is religious in nature, really. It’s not about objective evidence-gathering.
What about the study Judy Carman conducted on the so-called harms of GMOs on pigs? Is it more problematic, because it appropriates scientific method to advance what is clearly a political agenda? Lynas: It’s important to understand that doing animal experiments actually isn’t a very good way to answer whether there are concerns about novel proteins or anything else in GMOs. Animals are complex beings. The actual chemical differences between a genetically modified plant and a conventional plant are so minute—it might even just be a sequence of DNA with no protein expressed; you’re almost certain to not find anything,
given all the other confounding factors about how animals are fed and kept, and even just random variability. Given the animal welfare implications of these experiments, I think there’s probably no base for carrying them out in the first place. That would go for Séralini’s rats as well as Carman’s pigs. If you look at the data, the pigs were in extremely poor health, and more than 50 per cent of them had pneumonia and stomach inflammations due to poor diet and husbandry standards. My conclusion was that anti-GMO activists should be discouraged from abusing animals in the service of their ideology.
GMO opponents seem to rely on a very rigid interpretation of and adherence to the precautionary principle. Is this behaviour truly consistent with science, or more an expression of environmental dogma? Lynas: In the way that it’s argued now against GMOs, it’s a way of shifting the burden of proof to an impossible level. It’s already understood that you can’t prove a negative, and what antiGMO people are asking us to do is prove a negative decades in advance. They say that the uncertainty aspects, where some unknown impacts might happen at some stage in the future, is sufficiently risky, that we shouldn’t be able to access any of the known benefits of genetically-modified plants or, indeed, animals. This is a very peculiar way to balance scales of risk-andbenefit analysis.
It disproportionately puts all the weight on risk? Lynas: Yes, but they can’t even speculatively suggest any plausible source of risk. If you can’t even think of any mechanism whereby risk is being introduced that is plausible—given what we know about genetics and epigenetics and proteomics [respectively: the study of genes and heredity in living organisms; the study of hereditary traits in genetic activity not caused by changes in DNA sequencing; the study of proteomes, the complete sets of proteins expressed by genes, cells, or tissues], then you really don’t have any business seeking to ban an entire technology in terms of its current usage—usages which are very well studied, for which the benefits are very well-quantified and understood.
To what extent do science denialists rely on emotional imagery to advance their causes? Lynas: Well, the problem is that we’re all human, that we all employ motivated reasoning. We start with conclusions, then work back to try and generate supporting evidence. Emotional impulses are the way that we make decisions on a constant basis. That’s the way we are, that’s the way our brains have evolved, which is fine when it comes to trivial issues in your daily life in terms of making choices. Even non-trivial issues like who to marry. You can’t base these things rationally. But, when it comes to matters of public policy, mass use of emotive imagery is not going to be a way to make an optimal decision for society. There, you do need to look at objective, empirically derived data. That’s what we’ve got from the Enlightenment in the 18th century and thereafter;
CSIS: CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES Mark Lynas speaking at the Center for Strategic & VIA FLICKR (PHOTO) International Studies in Washington, DC on July 17, 2013
the invention of empiricism and science was to confound our evolved emotional impulses. That’s why we stopped burning witches. Many people’s impulses generate a lot of unscientific thinking. Fear, I think, is so easy and quick to generate in people, particularly when it comes to issues like food—to some extent not surprising, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s right.
You mentioned the need for objective empirical analysis at policy level. What led to the European Union’s decisions on regulation of GMOs? Was it predicated more on politics, or the best available data? Lynas: In Europe, there’s no scientific basis at all to the regulatory system. It’s entirely political. The scientific authorities have dozens of times stated their opinion that GMO applications currently within the system are all safe. However, the political system and votes from anti-GMO countries like France and Austria and Italy have stopped any approvals for 15 years or so. The system is entirely non-functional because of cultural prejudice by certain countries in the European Union. It’s a bit different in different countries, but the European model is essentially what’s been imported into Africa. So, there’s no African GMOs either being grown commercially, with the single exception of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso and some corn in South Africa. Entire continents have been locked out of the biotechnology revolution because of unscientific, prejudiced thinking at the policy level, unfortunately.
Is this fear entirely based around GMOs in agricultural biotechnology, or does it have more to do with the associated legal implications of farmers trying to grow their own crops? Lynas: I think both those elements are intertwined. Fear is a good selling mechanism. If you can Photoshop an image of a deformed baby and a GMO together, that’s a way to get moms concerned across America, for example. That’s kind of the tactic employed by the anti-vaccination movement. I think the politics are more deep-seated with GMOs, and essentially rooted in an opposition to modern agriculture in general, and the use of industrialized farming or what’s often called monoculture. The early identification of GMOs with herbicide tolerance—the Roundup Ready phase—I think that’s what really did it for the technology in the early years and caused such a storm of opposition, particularly focused around Monsanto. [Roundup Ready crops are genetically modified to be herbicide tolerant: they have an alternative pathway for producing some amino acids, so that they survive when the native pathway is blocked by a herbicide.] So, for a large number of people,
GMOs were seen as something symbolic, and something the environmental movement in particular was very concerned about. Those concerns are not all unfounded, by any means, but the focus on GMOs certainly was not only a distraction but, actually, it turned out in the long term [to be] counterproductive.
Does “green orthodoxy” ultimately hinder environmental progress? Lynas: I think any kind of orthodoxy hinders progress, because the only sensible way to make decisions is on a case-by-case basis with a minimum of ideological baggage. I think I would apply that in every area, but in particular the environmental field, where science is the way we know environmental problems even exist to start with. That may be contested with something like climate change, but ultimately it really comes [down] to policy. I think climate deniers don’t believe in global warming because they object to the policies put forward to deal with it. You can’t use science as a battering ram to insist on particular policy outcomes. That’s also clear. We need to have a more open and non-ideological debate, I think, in all of these different areas.
Many people seem to have difficulty responding to the science of GMOs; how would you suggest resolving that? Lynas: People have a difficult time relating to science that they feel uncomfortable about. But, actually, in general, I think people do trust science and do trust scientists, when it comes to healthcare for example. Yes, there’s a naturalhealth movement where a small minority of people will take herbal remedies for cancer and die more quickly than the rest, but I think those movements exist really only at the margins. The problem with climate denialism has been to arrest the progress of entire countries like the United States. That’s had an enormous impact at the international level, and is preventing humanity from getting on and dealing with the problem before it’s too late. On the political flipside, with biotechnology, humanity really may be prevented—forcibly prevented by fear, by misinformation—from using a technology which can feed a growing human population and make agriculture much more sustainable, which is essentially what we need to do to arrest the decline in biodiversity and species diversity. All this isn’t just a battle for empiricism on principle; it’s about—for lack of a better phrase—saving the planet.
March 13, 2014
MARTLET • OPINIONS 11
I could hear breathing in the charcoal dark as silent bodies passed the shoreline; huge lungs, in huge animals, blow salty ocean spray into the night.
Blackfish, wild: 100 days with sacred whales stor y & P h oto s M ar k W ort h i n g
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March 13, 2014
It was my first of almost a hundred nights at an observation outcamp in Johnstone Strait, a channel along the North East coast of Vancouver Island, and I was carved of calmness. My eyes squinted, seeking out the black knife-like dorsal fins that occasionally glinted the moonlight as they surfaced. I turned up the volume of the hydrophone monitor to listen for the distinct underwater vocalizations of the northern resident orca ecotype. Hearing nothing, it was safe to presume they might be in a “resting line”—orcas version of “sleeping”—and were not exhibiting their commonly known and highly conversational behaviour amongst their family units. For the next three months, 24 hours a day, I would have my ear cocked toward the monitor that constantly played the underwater sounds from six hydrophones around the Johnstone Strait area. During daylight hours, my eyes were glued to spotting scopes, binoculars and video cameras. For this short period of time, my natural schedule mimicked that of the movements and activities of these aquatic angels from below (a characterization that juxtaposes the oft-stated title of Orcinus, or “demon from below”). I would listen constantly to the electronic static of the hydrophones, hoping for the white noise to be interrupted with sounds of their underwater culture. My job was to conduct the video-monitoring portion of Pacific Orca Society’s 20-year non-invasive—and therefore land-based—behavioural documenting program. My specific field season was based at the Society’s Hanson Island acoustics field station, OrcaLab, and I was stationed at a 20-by-8-foot satellite hut on nearby West Cracroft Island, which was a short boat ride away, advantageously positioned at the epicentre of whale-watching paradise. The waters of the Johnstone Strait are a nexus for the northern resident populations of orcas, whose habitat spans from southern Alaska to Campbell River. Sightings of at least one member of the order Cetacea were almost daily occurrences—I watched orcas breaching and foraging, humpbacks feeding on herring, dolphins travelling by the thousands, and shy harbour porpoises evading contact with the aforementioned. In this unique, highly remote location, I had found paradise. When whales were within video camera shooting range, my feet would be firmly planted behind the camera tripod, framing the shot for the next anticipated patch of water to break open with dorsal fins, breaches, or spy-hops. Throughout the months of July, August, and September, I documented over 45 hours of raw footage, which was followed by the editing, production, and broadcasting of short videos for the Pacific Orca Society. I also facilitated over 150 hours of live-streamed footage of Johnstone Strait above- and below-water marine ecology for the online community called Orca-Live.net, where orca enthusiasts from around the world could tune into Orca-Live. net to watch two underwater cameras embedded in kelp forests, just off our station’s observation hut; the images they saw were filled with rockfish, perch, sea lions, seals, sea anemones, red and green urchins, and salmon, with the odd glimpse of humpbacks, dolphins, and the cherished orca. Behind the scenes, working tirelessly to provide resources for researchers, communities, tourism, and marine mammal conservation, is cetacean acoustic specialist Helena Symonds and Dr. Paul Spong, a long-time orca researcher and advocate. They have been running the Pacific Orca Society and the remote
OrcaLab since Spong founded the land-based lab in 1970 with extensive underwater acoustic-monitoring hydrophones—underwater microphones, essentially—installed throughout critical habitat regions. Each season, as the orcas return, Symonds and Spong work with dedicated international volunteers, pouring their life’s passion into creating a database that I would soon learn contains innumerable hours of underwater recordings.
EVOLUTION’S MASTERPIECE The waters of Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound are a bottleneck to where some of the world’s most plentiful salmon runs enter the Inside Passage of Vancouver Island. The fish make their way to riverbed spawning grounds deep within the forests of British Columbia, including the far-reaching fingertips of the headwaters of the mighty Fraser River. As a consequence of this ecological phenomenon, the resident orcas, who eat predominantly chinook salmon, follow major salmon runs back from the open Pacific Ocean and into the Inside Passage. Salmon and orcas spend much of the summer feeding in the traditional waters of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, off the northeast corner of Vancouver Island. Orcas hunt using an extraordinary organ located in their forehead called a “fatty melon,” which is a unique organ in their brain that allows them to project echolocation pulses and clicks out into the ocean in front of them, seeking sonic silhouettes of their prey. They then receive the return echo in another organ located in their lower jaw, similar to the way bats navigate through the dark night. The orcas’ repertoire of noises and acoustic capacity is beyond detection by the sound-range of humans (at least at this point in time), but nonetheless a large portion of OrcaLab’s work is dedicated to compiling archives of recordings from the hydrophones. Interestingly, each pod uses distinct calls, and some of the most trained ears can even listen in on the hydrophones and identify who is in the area faster than if they were to use visual identification. The kinship system of orcas is matrilineal. Researchers identify the different types of orcas through a categorization system that breaks down from a larger category of the species known as “ecotype.” The three ecotypes are transient (mammal eating), resident (fish eating), and offshore (unknown dietary choice, which is likely to be squid, octopus, and/or shark species). Then within the resident populations there are larger family units called clans, which share linguistic characteristics and other behavioural similarities. Within a clan, there are pods, as well as more focused family units called matrilines, which centre around a mother and her children. Matriarchs carry most of the dialectic distinctions between different pods and clans, and offspring spend much of their early life before sexual maturity as close as possible to their mother. Often, it seems that the mammals even breathe in harmony—young orcas tend to surface at exactly the same intervals as their mother, literally remaining side to side as they swim.
BLACKFISH BELOW WHITE WORLD August mornings on the Johnstone Strait are marked by an impermeable veil of fog. On one such morning, I look out at the veil as I wake from a dreamworld that had been narrated by the late night chattering of Tsitika and her matriline comprising three generations. They have spent the night partying in the nearby
Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. Here, the northern residents have been returning since time immemorial, gathering to share dialects, to mate, to hunt, and to rub their bellies on beaches of smooth rocks and pebbles of a very specific size. As the hydrophone fades to a low buzz of the endless motor vessels in the area, the fog lifts off of the Kaikash River valley opposite me. Something doesn’t make sense in this newfound quiet. Where are the orcas? As soon as I ask this aloud to myself, I hear chattering on the VHF radio that is made up of the varied voices of whale watchers, Robson Bight Park Wardens, local fisherfolk, and kayak guides, all asking the same question: “Where are the whales?” Considering that during the summer months the whales of Johnstone Strait are under an almost military degree of constant 24-hour visual and audio surveillance, they have in this moment all but disappeared. As the largest members of the Delphinidae family of cetaceans, this is no small feat. The deductive communications of all concerned parties have narrowed down two likely locations of the orcas: either they had drifted southeast down Johnstone Strait toward Quadra Island and out of the north island range of surveillance, or they were somewhere near me, at Cracroft Point. I rub my dry eyes before quickly returning to my spotting scope, which is pointed at the distant Sophia Islets. I didn’t want to lose my chance at spotting one of them on the now clear horizon. From this distance, a single blow or dorsal fin could be missed if I wasn’t looking in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. As I strain my eyes for one more scan across the waterline, I hear the familiar “KAA-POOF, wwooooop” right in front of my little platform. A large male orca bursts out of the water as if he has been holding his breath for the last two hours. I stumble backwards, knocking over my coffee as I grasp frantically along the contours of the video camera, searching desperately for the red record button. I miss him, but now I’m poised as the rest of the pod follows behind. The rest of my day will be spent eating salmon caught the previous day in my kayak (a more difficult feat than it sounds), filming the whales foraging in the tidal flood of Blackney Pass, and listening to their echolocation amplified over the hydrophone speakers. “Tick tick tick tick click click . . . click . . . click . . . cli ck...tick tick tick tick tick.” I am positively fascinated by these noises, and I realize that what was initially a foreign noise to me has now become soothing.
YES, THEY ARE THREATENED Despite my newfound orca obsession, after three months of full-time focus and research I came away from my hut feeling a sadness for these revered giants. Undoubtedly, their intelligence and complexity captures the hearts of people worldwide. But fewer and fewer of the 250–275 whales from the northern resident orca population are returning to the Johnstone Strait area each year. Many of the whales are spending more time farther north in the central coast regions where there is less boating traffic and more potential for an abundance of chinook salmon. Oftentimes when a slow-moving tug boat or a mammoth cruise ship passed where the hydrophones are mounted, I had to turn off the sound monitoring altogether—I could only imagine the effects of the noise pollution on these beings who rely so heavily on their sonic environment. The consistent barrage of motors directly impedes the highly complex social and family
dynamics that are played out in the acoustic environment of the orcas. In a recent study published by the Zoological Society of London in the Journal of Animal Conservation, researchers Erin Ashe and Rob Williams from Oceans Initiative cite that critical orca and humpback habitats on the Pacific coast are some of the loudest locations in terms of marine noise pollution. The busy waterways of the Salish Sea, north of Puget Sound, are home to the endangered populations of the southern resident orcas. The southern resident whales are recognized as an endangered species in the Species at Risk Act (SARA), while the northern resident populations are identified as threatened species under the Act, due to their larger populations and fewer immediate risks within the more remote coastal waters of the central coast. Though not officially endangered, the northern resident orcas are subject to multiple threats beyond noise pollution. For example, the highly carcinogenic compound benzene is shipped through the Inside Passage with increasing frequency, as demand from Kitimat seeks the substance as a constituent in crude oil mixtures and other petrochemical products. The removal of habitat protection from federal conservation measures for endangered species, as well as unprecedented fish-farm expansion in the area paint a bleak future for these sacred animals. Not to mention the orca’s peak-predator position in the bioaccumulation pyramid, resulting in extremely high amounts of toxins occurring in a single fat sample. In my role as an observer, my sense of hope would erode further as I watched the story of humans in the habitat of these beautiful mammals play out. With diminishing chinook salmon runs throughout B.C., northern resident orcas are forced to spend more time travelling in search for their food, which means less time mating, communicating, playing, resting, and, according to some research, expressing their fascinating cultural rituals in the areas they once frequented. They must also now travel longer and farther to seek out chinook, which means they spend less time together as larger family units, ultimately finding new mates in other pods. This results in the matrilines diversifying their genetic variety, ultimately changing their overall resilience to threats such as climate change and ocean acidification. Orcas do not seem to be naturally evolving into new foraging habitats, but rather, they are being driven out of their home at an alarming rate, due to these modern, detrimental factors. Despite the troubling precipice that much of our coastal ecosystems appear to be on the edge of, many dedicated individuals and organizations continue to work tirelessly toward orca conservation. As well, orcas continue to be held in the public consciousness with renewed sentiments, such as the speaking out against the poaching of wild orcas for the Sochi Olympics and the examining of orca captivity in the documentary Blackfish, which suggests that a more hard-line defense of the orcas’ habitat may take priority in the decade to come. The question that remains however, is will it be too little, too late? Will we acknowledge the disrespect we have shown for the most widely dispersed marine mammal on earth and put into place strict protective measures—including restricting our own resource extraction—or will we continue to drive the loss of what many perceive to be the most intelligent creature on the planet?
March 13, 2014
MARTLET • FEATURE 13
Find our regular Music Rags and Pacific Coast Pretty columns at Martlet.ca.
CHORONG KIM (GRAPHIC)
Green isn’t just a colour Clothing and accoutrements made ethically and sustainably KATRINA WONG Were you ever one of those kids who thought having a green thumb literally meant having a green-coloured thumb? I (adorably) was, but I learned later that being green is a lifestyle, and it’s one you can wear. Handmade items are always a favourite in my book, because for some reason they remind me of home-cooked meals—the common ground being that both are made with love. Joanna Ketterer, designer and founder of Luva Huva, uses organic cotton, bamboo, soy fabrics, and the occasional vintage lace in her lingerie and loungewear. It’s all about the material when it comes to comfort, but the feminine frills and simple design make the underwear even more appealing. Since a piece of fabric was what started Luva Huva, it’s no wonder that the ethically sourced materials used are the main focus of the designer. Luva Huva lingerie and
loungewear is handmade in the United Kingdom and can be found on Etsy. com under the title “luvahuva.” You can also browse Etsy for other eco-friendly options. (Just have an escape strategy.) The Reformation truly uses the motto “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” as their guide. The brand is located in New York and Los Angeles, reinventing looks with old vintage and excess material. Their products boast more than 80 per cent reclaimed material, which is quite a feat. My favourites are the Carnation Dresses ($198), available in different floral prints, which seem mighty twirlworthy; the Leilani Tops ($118), double spaghetti strapped cropped camisoles available in Mustard or Blush; and the Sugarcane Top ($68), a thin-striped, long-sleeved cropped top that is a basic must-have. You can find them at thereformation.com. Don’t forget to check out We Are Local at wearelocal.ca, a company
dedicated to supporting local businesses in Victoria and Vancouver. Another genius revamping technique is presented by Drew Ginsburg of the blog Me and Lex (meandlex.blogspot. ca). Ginsburg took antiqued Swarovski crystals and oxidized silver-plated chains and turned them into badass sternum armour. The necklaces, under the brand Dylanlex, are handmade in New York and became available when Ginsburg’s Instagram followers had to have them. They’ve been so popular that only one of the six styles, named Bobbie, is left available on the site, dylanlex.com. But there’s no harm in shooting off an email about the product if you have to have one too. Riz Boardshorts, tailors of sunshine, make their shorts and cagoules (waterproof jackets) with 100 per cent recycled and recyclable material. The brand’s gorgeous patterns are “digitally printed with earth-friendly, water-based inks.” The British brand has shorts for
both surfer dudes and chicks. I’m definitely not the only one looking forward to some summer fun, so get some sunshine at rizboardshorts.com. Babies need to splash around too, but those absorbent diapers must be a concern for the pool. Mer-mothers and fathers need fret no more! The Honest Co. has swim diapers that are stretchy, waterproof, silky, snug, soft, adjustable, toxin-free, mess-free, and (best of all) washable and reusable! They meet the health standards for all public pools and, combined with uber-adorable patterns, these swim diapers are by far the cutest wee things ever. Parents can find them, and other wonderful things for parent and baby, at honest.com. SoYoung also has wonderful things for adults and children, particularly lunch boxes, backpacks, cooler bags, and diaper bags that too-cool-forcute fathers will want to carry. The design of the former three is minimal, with one large coloured graphic (the
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14 CULTURE • MARTLET
March 13, 2014
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most awesome being a T-Rex) printed against a parchment-y, papyrus-y background, (zip)lined with the respective colour. They are, most importantly, made without Bisphenol A (BPA), which isn’t something you want lining the containers of your food and drink. It’s a worry that could possibly lead to more concerns, so it’s probably best to seek out BPA-free products. The canvas, leather-strapped Charlie diaper bags are rugged and pocketed enough to withstand any adventure a baby might take mommy and daddy on. Who knows what could happen in the sandbox. Gear up at soyoung.ca. It’s easy to be wasteful, but in the long run, it might just return us to the ocean. Big problems take big actions, but it’s all right to start small. You can just slowly insert more and more earthfriendly habits into your routine (and your wardrobe), even if green isn’t your colour.
Fuel for school
Perfect pesto for all occasions JENN TAKAOKA Gourmet, green—pesto is my favourite food to experiment with. It all comes down to a pretty basic formula: toasted nuts, parmesan, fresh herbs, olive oil, garlic, and sometimes a veggie or two. Mix in a blender (or for the fancy, authentic folk, with a pestle and mortar). This combination is pretty open to play. There’s always the classic basil pesto combo, some more fancy ones, like roasted red pepper or sundried tomato pesto, but why stop there? There are many options to make your perfect pesto. I like to stick to leafy greens for my veggies and a nut with a richer texture and flavour. Cashews, pine nuts, and pecans are some of my favourites. Almonds are okay, but are a little bland sometimes. Peanuts can add more
of an asian flare if paired with cilantro and some sesame oil and seeds. I tend to go for a bit more substance in my pestos by adding more than just herbs. Spinach and kale are my go-tos for basic pestos. A nice dose of dark green veggies for colour, but also for the sake of having veggies. Basil is the standard herb of pesto, but depending on your taste, you can play with some different flavours. I was craving kale when I made this version. I had some pecans kicking around my pantry and goat cheese was on sale, so I thought I’d make a creamy pesto pasta sauce. You should try it too! But if kale and pecans aren’t your thing, play around with other ingredients and create your own signature pesto recipe. Oh, and tip for St. Patty’s: green food pairs well with green beer.
BRONTË RENWICK-SHIELDS (PHOTO)
Kale Pecan Pesto 1/2 bunch of kale 30–60 ml (⅛–¼ cup) pecans 30–60 ml (2–4 tbsp) grated parmesan (or more, if you love it that much) 1–3 cloves of garlic 60–125 ml (¼–½ cup) olive oil (keep some extra on hand in case it gets too thick, or sub the extra oil with water) 4–5 leaves of fresh basil (or to taste) Plain goat cheese (optional, to taste) Salt and pepper to taste In a frying pan, toast the pecans until they are slightly darker in colour and aromatic. Set aside to cool. In the same pan, blanch the kale (steam it with a little bit of water until wilted and dark green in colour, then drain and squeeze excess water from the leaves). Set aside until cooled. In a blender or food processor, add the pecans, kale, parmesan, garlic, oil, basil, goat cheese, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add extra oil or water to desired consistency. Serve in various forms, like as a pizza sauce, over your favourite pasta, or as a dip for veggies. The possibilities are endless.
March 13, 2014
MARTLET • CULTURE 15
Campus Community Garden plots food security ADAM HAYMAN Between the grey and rain of this time of year, we are treated to an odd day of sun. It is this kind of rare sun that turns puddles into little glittering ponds, and the fresh buds and leaves of spring into shimmering beacons of new life. No place on campus showcases that new life better than the Campus Community Garden. Amongst the odds and ends, a cob bench, 90 or so garden plots, and a greenhouse, Campus Community Garden co-ordinator Matthew Morrison shared the ins and outs of the garden. “You can grow year-round here,” said Morrison. A variety of hardy vegetables are currently calling the soil home. Kale, carrots, chard, and parsnips, to name a few, and there is lettuce and mustard greens in the greenhouse. “We just harvested brussels sprouts,” Morrison adds. Of the 90 plots at the garden, four or so are used as “giving gardens.” These plots are communally cared for. “Those are designed for volunteers,” said Morrison, “to come and get involved with the garden so they can actually get
their hands in the dirt.” These giving gardens do more than just give green growers a shot at the soil. “We plan our crop to produce the most over winter and in the fall and spring, when students are around,” said Morrison, “so we can donate a good portion of the crop to the food bank.” The remaining crop goes to the hard-working volunteers. So how does someone get the opportunity to get a little dirt under his or her nails? “We meet once a week,” said Morrison. “Right now, it’s Fridays at around noon. We do all kinds of stuff.” Whether it’s building a gazebo, pruning, constructing some raised beds, or harvesting the produce. “It’s just whatever needs doing.” He shrugged. “I started farming when my sister started farming,” said Morrison, “she got into it in Metchosin, sort of subsistence farming with her community out there. I’d go and visit and get my hands in the dirt and get a sense of what food from soil really tasted like and the potential of it. I just became infatuated with the process, and basically just started volunteering with the community garden in my
first year, coming out to work parties.” From there, Morrison eventually applied for the job of co-ordinator. “I applied after Andrea, the first co-ordinator left,” said Morrison, “I applied and got the job, and so I had the job in 2012-2013 and then I was re-hired.” Although the garden has only been in its current location since 2011, campus food production gardens have been around UVic since 1998. Originally by the TEF (Technology Enterprise Facility) building, the old plot is now being paved into a parking lot. Morrison described it as “basically just a patch of grass that some Environmental Studies students went out and claimed.” And from there, “It kind of built up and established itself.” By 2004 the Campus Community Garden grew into a recognized club with 35 plots. In 2010, there was concern for the future of the self-claimed land, and the possibility of gardening on the current plot was still in negotiation. Small patches of guerilla gardening appeared around campus, most notably in front of the library. “The community garden didn’t initiate,” said Morrison, “but I think
there was a threat to food production on campus and I think students responded.” Later, the club got its new stretch of land. Although the new patch has double the plots of the last garden, the club isn’t out of the weeds yet. “The garden isn’t permanent, so we’re under this agreement that at any given moment, the university reserves the right to relocate us,” said Morrison. “So that’s a challenge ‘cause it takes a lot of time and energy and money and building up our soil over years to create a functional garden…. It’s an interesting reality that, while the university supports a community garden on campus, the garden isn’t permanent. So I guess if folks want a permanent site, then the more people that advocate for that the better.” If you think the garden should be a permanent site, Morrison suggested “people lend their voice to the importance of space for food production on campus, either by participating in it or communicating that to the administration.” Back in the community garden’s office, the staff were abuzz with the news of bringing a hive of honeybees to the
THURSDAY MARCH 27
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16 CULTURE • MARTLET
March 13, 2014
gardens. It certainly seems like a logical step; what are plants without pollination? Morrison concluded with talking about the many workshops offered by the club. Since 72 cents from each full-time student’s fees go toward the Campus Community Garden, Morrison said that they try and offer workshops for free or by donations. “Because students are already paying into it,” said Morrison. “We’re given these resources, so we want to give back as much as we can with education and food and skills.” They’ve hosted canning, seed starting, and fresh apple pie making workshops in the past. They also throw a harvest party at the end of summer. Morrison said the harvest party is “to celebrate the end of the harvest, celebrate being back in school, and the end of summer.” The Campus Community Garden hosts a band, a big meal, a dance, and even some crafts. “It’s a really good time,” said Morrison. For more information on the club’s upcoming workshops, or how to get involved, visit web.uvic.ca/~ccgarden.
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VI C T ORI A
THURSDAY MARCH 20
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Real Estate (with Pill Wonder and Rainbow Bridge) live at Holocene, Portland, Ore., on Nov.19, 2009.
PARTTIMEMUSIC VIA FLICKR (PHOTO)
Real Estate grows up
CHORONG KIM (GRAPHIC)
New album Atlas brings the same sound with deeper meaning JENNIFER LEBBERT Real Estate returns with their third album Atlas in a way that feels much like visiting home after a long, lifealtering absence. Going to college, getting married, having kids. Growing up. The New Jersey band, known for a sound that is cheerily nostalgic of the breezy feel of the Beach Boys, comes back with a similar tone, but an entirely different message. It still feels like the music that plays softly in the background of afternoons lying in warm grass, gazing up at blue, cloudstudded skies. On the surface, it’s easy to shrug it off as just that, with guitarist Matt Mondanile’s dreamy guitar riffs and lead singer Martin Courtney’s easygoing vocals. When you lean in to Atlas, giving it the attention it deserves, you hear a band that has emerged from the carefree daze of summer vacations. The songs evoke the perils of getting older. The uncertainty of the future is no longer an intentional blissful avoidance, but rather, a looming discomfort. In Atlas, Real Estate doesn’t seek to illustrate the feeling of teenage freedom. Instead, the wistful, beachy sound is a vehicle through which the band explores themes of loneliness, distance, and the bitter sweetness of adulthood. Unlike the two albums that preceded it, 2011’s Days and 2009’s self-titled Real Estate, Atlas was recorded through live studio jam sessions, band members performing full tracks all the way through together. This allows Real Estate to showcase the tightness and precision of their musical ability, but also speaks volumes about their confidence as a band. That confidence is well deserved, demonstrated in simple guitar melodies that strum and swirl around each other in a menagerie of serene, but striking, instrumentals. The album opens with “Had to
Hear,” a song that evokes longing. Mondanile and bassist Alex Bleeker pluck away on their guitars in a telepathic unison, each picking up where the other leaves off. Alongside them, Courtney’s vocals come through like a lonesome message spoken through tin cans: “I had to hear you / Just to feel near you.” “Talking Backwards,” the album’s first-released single, is a highlight. It’s one of the most cheerful sounding songs on Atlas, but contradicts itself when Courtney’s lyrics imitate a convoluted argument between distanced lovers. The frustration breaks through the confines of the playful melody, as Courtney sings, “I might as well be talking backwards / Am I making any sense to you / And the one thing that really matters / Is the one thing I can’t seem to do.” “Crime” is the most paradoxical song on the album. Underneath a mellow, upbeat tune, driven by the close-knit, mingling guitars of Courtney and Mondanile, is a crippling, anxiety-riddled love letter. “I don’t wanna die / lonely and uptight / Stay with me.” Courtney sings convincingly, as though it’s his imminent fate. As Real Estate has developed as a band, they’ve become masterful at making music that strikes a chord of “meaningful minimalism.” Atlas is not a flashy album, because it doesn’t need to be. It requires a thoughtful audience, one that is willing to unpack the album and release the real-life anxieties muddled beneath the pretty, easy-listening sound. Atlas finishes with “Navigator,” a melodic masterpiece so easy to relate to that it hurts. Still pondering the ticking away of time, still befuddled by the meaning of it all, it concludes with a sense of hopefulness, not despair. “The endless life’s just shining in / And I have no idea where the days went.”
MARCH 13 – 20 ARTS Tuesday, March 18
LOST RIVERS FILM AND PANEL DISCUSSION
In celebration of Canada’s Water Week, several local environmental groups will present the film Lost Rivers, which focuses on the loss of urban rivers around the world. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the current water situation in Victoria. The event will take place at UVic, in the Hickman Building, Room 105, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. For more information, contact email@example.com. Wednesday, March 19
LANGHAM COURT THEATRE’S THE GRADUATE
The classic tale of coming into adulthood and the infamous Mrs. Robinson will be portrayed on stage at Langham Court Theatre, located at 805 Langham Crt. The play is recommended for viewers aged 15 and older. The show begins at 8 p.m. and costs $21 for adults and $19 for students. Thursday, March 20
FIREWALL AT THE SPARK FESTIVAL
Catch the Firewall opening, a unique new piece from Victoria’s Target Theatre, at the Belfry’s SPARK festival. Firewall is described as a lyrical fusion of technology and nostalgia. The tickets are $20, 25 per cent off for post-secondary students. The show poses questions about technology, isolation, and communication across different generations. It will take place 8 p.m. at the Belfry Theatre, located at 1291 Gladstone Ave.
COMMUNITY Monday, March 17
ZIPLINE AT UPTOWN
Unleash your inner daredevil at Victoria’s Uptown. If you can’t make it this week, the 90-metre zipline will hang above Uptown Centre until March 23, so you have plenty of time to rack up the courage. The zipline is open from 1–7 p.m. and costs $10. Half of the proceeds will be donated to charity, so the nerve-racking fun will be for a good cause. Zipliners must be five years of age or older, and weigh between 60 and 275 lbs. Tuesday, March 18
FOR THE ADVENTURER AT HEART
Thinking about going on a personal or spiritual journey? Find out more about the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage in Spain that many people from all over the world bike or walk. The folks at Russell Books, located at 734 Fort St., will give you information on how to plan this trip, plus a Q&A will follow the session, which starts at 7:30 p.m. More info at russellbooks. com.
FOOD & DRINK Friday, March 14
COOKEILIDH: AN IRISH CELEBRATION
Join this festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration that welcomes all ages. Lively Celtic music and dance by band Cookeilidh and the O’Connor O’Brien Irish Dancers will have you upbeat and on your feet. The event will take place at the Fairfield United Church, 1303 Fairfield Rd., beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Royal and McPherson Box offices or online at rmts.bc.ca for $17.50. Saturday, March 15
ST. PATTY’S CLUB CRAWL
Time to don some green and party. These club crawls happen across Canada, providing fun nights out for students. The St. Patrick’s Day crawl starts at V Lounge, 3366 Douglas St., and will hit up four different clubs throughout the night. Tickets are $25, which includes drink specials. For more information and tickets, visit stpatricksdayclubcrawl.com
MUSIC Thursday, March 13
WAKE OWL, LIVE
Experience the sounds of the West Coast, with Wake Owl at Lucky Bar, for a chilled out Thursday night. Lucky Bar is located at 517 Yates St., and doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets for this show cost $15 per person. Sunday, March 16
REENIE ALBUM RELEASE
Toronto-based indie Soul-Pop artist and UVic alumni Reenie (Irena Perkovic) will release her most recent album, Parallel Place, at the Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas St., this Sunday. The show will begin at 8 p.m. and Victoria artist Sam Weber will open. Tickets are $10, or $20 with a CD included. Please note that this is a 19+ event.
BRONTË RENWICK-SHIELDS & BETH PARKER
March 13, 2014
MARTLET • CULTURE 17
Sports | Lifestyle Vikes overpowered by top-seeded Ottawa at CIS Final Eight Carleton University continues to build its dynasty with record 10th National title ALEX KURIAL Fresh off an impressive showing in the Canada West playoffs, the Vikes headed to Ottawa last weekend looking to end UVic’s men’s basketball title drought. The school’s last national championship came in 1997. The tournament got off to a great start for the fourth-seeded Vikes, as they were able to put their nationwide top-ranked defense on display in a 63-54 win over the McGill Redmen on March 7. Defense certainly didn’t look to be the name of the game in the opening quarter, however, as a flurry of sunk shots saw McGill lead 20-15 after 10 minutes. The Vikes turned to textbook defense in the second and third quarters, allowing an impressive nine and four points in the respective frames. A push by the Redmen in the fourth came too late to overcome the suffocating defense of the middle frames. Playing in his final games with UVic, senior forward Terrell Evans had a double-double performance with 19 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs. He also had a game-high four steals. Evans’ strong play, along with that of his teammates, echoed pre-tournament statements by the Canada West First Team All-Star that UVic deserved to be seen as a contender. “It isn’t a fluke,” said Evans of the Vikes’ success heading into the championship. “It’s the ability for everyone to step up and do their part.” Now off to the CIS Final Four, the Vikes were scheduled to face the top-seeded Ottawa Gee-Gees, who had cruised past the Saskatchewan
Huskies 94-73 in their quarterfinal game. This would be a monumental task, in no way aided by the momentum Ottawa was riding after knocking off perennial powerhouse Carleton Ravens in the Ontario University Athletics final just a week earlier. The Vikes once again struggled with their first-quarter defense, digging themselves an 11-23 hole after one quarter. Quickly realizing even their defense would not be able to shut down the explosive Gee-Gees, UVic was forced to pick up their offensive game to have a chance of battling back. They were able to do just that, cutting the lead to three in the third quarter and two in the fourth, both times courtesy of the deep ball from third-year point guard Marcus Tibbs. Yet, each time Victoria got close, the host side was able to go on a run of their own to stop the bleeding. Forced to take fouls in the final minute, Ottawa knocked down the Vikes’ free throws to clinch the 78-70 win. It was a bitter loss to swallow for the Vikes, especially for seniors Evans and forward Ryan Erikson, who see their collegiate careers draw to a close. The Vikes will be forced to replay the first quarter in their minds, a frame that on this rare occasion was indeed the deciding factor. UVic would get another game on Sunday, the third-place game against their Canada West rivals from the University of Alberta, who had topped UVic in the Canada West finals. The Vikes almost found themselves run out of the building after 10 minutes, trailing 25-4 after one. While they
won the last three quarters, the disastrous first frame was far too much to overcome en route to a 61-53 loss. With Alberta getting the best of UVic for a second time in a week, the Vikes settled for a year-end finish of fourth in the nation. Despite ending on a losing note, it was no doubt an impressive finish for the Victoria squad, and a significant improvement on last year’s first-round exit from the tournament. The Vikes may not have left Ottawa with any team hardware, but fourthyear centre Chris McLaughlin took home an individual win in the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award. This adds to an impressive Canada West trophy haul for the Vikes, which saw thirdyear guard Reiner Theil win Defensive Player of the Year. Head coach Craig Beaucamp won Coach of the Year, while McLaughlin also received Second Team All-Star honours. The hotly contested final between capital sides Ottawa and Carleton was close throughout, but ultimately saw the Ravens pull away in the final frame for the 79-67 win. This is the 10th CIS championship for Carleton, all of which have come in the past 12 seasons as the school asserts itself as a Canadian basketball dynasty. Senior forward Tyson Hinz, who had a game-high 30 points in the final, was awarded tournament MVP and named to the tournament All-Star team along with teammate and fellow forward Thomas Scrubb. The Vikes will hit the reset button and look to climb to the top of the rankings next season.
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Miracle berry: life of the (mouth) party CAITLIN HANSEN When I first heard about the “miracle berry” I immediately became apprehensive of its miracle claim. Despite having a vague term in its name, the sensation one experiences from consuming this berry is marked by wonder. Scientifically known as Synsepalum dulcificum, the miracle berry changes your perception of taste through proteins that bind to the tongue, making you perceive that something sour-tasting is really a substance of heavenly sweetness. Consumers have reported biting into a lip-puckering lemon and experiencing a citrusy sweetness that could only be worthy of the gods. Others have reported low-grade dark beer transforming into velvety nectar, rightfully prompting a Google search of a company merge between Häagen-Dazs and Guinness. Surprisingly, the fruit does not contain any psychedelic properties, nor does it have any known long-term harms, but it has not had a successful market history. The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contentiously labelled it a food additive in the ’70s and claimed years of rigorous testing would be required before it could be approved for the market. However, it is available for purchase online and is known to be the guest of honour at “tasting parties”. In the book The Fruit Hunters, Adam Gollner chronicles his quest to understand the West’s selective interest in the world’s most exotic fruits. He explains that many who have ingested the miracle berry perceive the taste of sweetness to be so divine that it surpasses any sweetness produced by sugar and artificial sweeteners. You can imagine this proclamation caused panic in the two multi–billiondollar industries. The FDA halted the isolated protein “miraculin” from entering market and claimed further testing was required, despite the evidence for general recognition of safety presented by Bob Harvey’s Miralin Corporation. Harvey says FDA documents he obtained through a
March 13, 2014
freedom-of-information request were heavily blacked out. Given that the berry’s effects do not change the subsequently ingested food’s properties, but only change the consumer’s perception of taste, the benefit of eating the miracle berry is strictly flavour enhancement and the side effects of eating acidic foods still apply. I began to really wonder which industry felt threatened by such a fruit, given the limited reach of its abilities. Miralin had investigated the potential of miraculin to compete with sugar and existing sugar substitutes. Rick Goodman, co-owner of the sweet shop Oh Sugar, located on the west end of Johnson Street in Victoria, describes his company’s candies as “weird and wonderful”—he is a modern-day Willy Wonka—and he and his wife are always on the lookout for novelty items to titillate the taste buds. He revealed that he had experienced the effects of the miracle berry at a food show he attended in Chicago. He said it did exactly what others have reported, but he was surprised and disappointed when its effects ruined the remainder of his day at the exhibition. Importing goods from 45 countries, Goodman says he considered carrying the berry but its high cost and short shelf-life deterred him. He takes pride in the reputation of his products containing fresh ingredients and, because he would only be able to import a freeze-dried form of the miracle berry, he opted not to experiment with it. When asked if the candy industry would be threatened by the miracle berry, Goodman firmly replied, “No.” Goodman says the miracle berry’s effects stay with you for too long. He feels that if customers are looking to eat something sweet, they will buy something sweet—they won’t buy something sour with the intention of consuming it with the berry. Humans are “creatures of habit,” he says, and are looking for “instant gratification.” Goodman says once is enough to experience the miracle berry mouth party.
MARTLET • Sports | Lifestyle 19
Let’s talk about sex
First times, alcohol-free Sober sex may change your life
EVAN READ ARMSTRONG
MARY ROBERTSON (GRAPHIC)
There are some things in life you can't do twice. You can't go back to high school and tell yourself not to wear that all-denim outfit on the first day of class because (as much as we all secretly want them to) overalls are never coming back. You can't return to your driving test and remember to make sure the parking break is off. There's no way to go back and eat your words that time you assumed out loud that your new boss was expecting (just a heads up: she's not). Some fuck ups you just can't take back. So maybe it’s this fear that accounts for the pressure we put on firsts, especially with relationships. First kisses, first dates, first place together, first marriage, first divorce—if it happens for the first time, you can bet someone's going to ask you about it later. There's always a story with a first. Your friends want to know what your partner’s like in bed (something which you'll probably lie about if you want to keep dating them), your parents want to know how you met your partner (something you'll definitely lie about
if you met on Tinder)—for whatever reason, the focus is always on the first time. Even as these events are happening, most of us are trying to figure out how we will retell them later. How this first kiss was either the best or the worst, whether or not it would make your personal version of a sexy Buzzfeed list. Somehow the first always seems to matter the most. But in reality, that's not necessarily true. Sometimes the 40th kiss is the really good one. Sometimes it's on the second date that you realize this person is worth your time. First impressions matter, but they're not absolute. The other interesting phenomenon with firsts is how often we depend on the presence of alcohol. Seriously, take a minute to think about this: have you or people you know had sex with someone for the first time without a single drink before hand? Something about the presence of alcohol is comforting when you're about to see somebody's junk, if only because it provides the perfect we-shouldn't-have-done-thatbut-we-were-drunk excuse that we all know is bullshit.
Seriously? After one beer? You're not fooling anyone. In a rough straw poll of 10 people, not one could remember the last time they got freaky for the first time without alcohol involved. It's not like I polled an AA meeting—these were a bunch of university kids in their early 20s. So look—if you think you need the wine coolers in the corner as a failsafe just in case this person is rocking Brillo in their underpants, be honest with yourself about it. I am offering a challenge to those of you reading this: just try it once. Maybe stone-cold sober sex is the freakiest sex you'll ever have. It will likely be at least a little awkward. But why don't you just pony up and admit that you genuinely want to bone this person? Sober sex doesn't have to come with an engagement ring, and I refuse to accept that you're worse at sex with improved hand-eye coordination. Like a PSA commercial in reverse, I'm begging you to try sober first-time sex once. Don't get nervous—your Palm Bay security blanket will still be there in the morning.
My lifestyle philosophy of minimalism LEAT AHRONY What is your purpose for living every day? Take a step back, take a deep breath, and think about your passions, hobbies, habits, weaknesses, and experiences. So many of us are bombarded with constant notifications and email alerts the second we wake up. I am guilty for checking my email before drinking my first glass of water in the morning. Take a step back and try to find yourself again. When I first arrived in Canada, people warned me it would differ from my hometown in Taiwan. In class, we compared collectivist societies such as Japan, and individualistic societies such as North America. Why is North American society infamous for being consumerist? Is it always better to have more, and more, and even more? When your six-month-old iPhone works flawlessly, do you need to purchase a newer version? Probably not, yet so many of us are guilty of committing
this act. As a student who is conscious of her spending habits, I live a simple life, partly because I cannot afford a luxurious one, but mainly because it is in my nature. I buy what I need, share gifts and food, and contribute to community projects. My parents always told me that life is short, and money is not everything. You can always make more money, but don’t waste your time and life. Those words stick with me today, even though they are thousands of miles away. Everyone is born with a life, but if you want to achieve greater satisfaction, you need to have an effective approach to life. Anyone is capable of living with minimal resources. In reality, we do not always get the full pie, we get pieces of it, crumbs even, and it is our challenge to work with the information, insights, and environment we are surrounded by. If I received a bonus today, or won the lottery, the first thing that comes to my mind is not a new car, Hunter boots, or
a larger apartment. I think about adding to my savings, helping a friend with her startup, or buying food and clothes for people in need. Too many individuals forget how little humans really need to live a fulfilled life. I purchased one item on Boxing Day: laundry detergent, because I used up my last drop the day before. Just because I don’t own property or have many possessions does not mean I don’t find joy in life. My favourite social activity is watching a movie with friends and cooking a light meal. This is quality time for me. We share the cooking and cleanup in the kitchen, and look forward to the conversations after the movie. This is my ideal and favourite way to spend an evening. Home in Taiwan, I valued time spent with my family. What living intentionally means to me is getting the most enjoyment and rewards with as minimal resources as possible. Many people are lost in our fast-paced, frenzied, distracted, and confusing world.
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Our culture encourages over-consumption and excess waste, beguiling us that more goods will make us happier, but reality shows it drowns us into the same vicious cycle. When you walk into an aisle and you are offered to choose from 20 different types of peanut butter, where do you even begin? Do you stick to the same brand? Organic, or whatever is cheapest, or on sale? With or without sugar and salt? Sometimes I just crave simplicity. I like variety, but have we gone too far? Start fresh now. Tidy up the clutter in your life. Make a pile of nonessential belongings. Before you send them off to landfill, ask yourself if someone else might have use for it. Something you may not need or have too much of will most likely fit someone else’s need. Only purchase essential and necessary items, and stick to just what is on the list. Life is not solely about making choices; it is about making the right choices for
you. Pick the paths that are most suitable for you, but be mindful of your environment and the impacts you have. The challenge is finding the right path and ignoring being pushed in hundreds of different directions every day. Be consistent and persistent; stay focused. A tree starts with something as tiny and simple as a seed. Think of yourself as a growing seed. It doesn’t need more than water, air, and nutrients in the soil. Think quality, not quantity. You can find contentment and peace with fewer possessions, and more projects, events, and accomplishments to be proud of, as well as including more people you care about in your life. Be a minimalist and not a consumerist, and you will begin to realize who you are, and how little you really need to pursue a lifetime of meaningfulness while journeying down a unique path of lifetime opportunities and randomness.
Martlet Publishing Society Semi-Annual General Meeting 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 27, 2014 SUB B011
Attend the Martlet Semi-Annual General Meeting! 20 Sports | Lifestyle • MARTLET
March 13, 2014
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Call to order Board reports Budget options CUP membership vote Review full-time staff performance evaluation process and policy 6. Other business 7. Motion to adjourn
Business | Tech
LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Members of the Urban Development Club talk with LEED Accredited Professional Jim Aalders.
A toast to the Urban Dirty
Libations and lively discussion with UVic’s Urban Development Club CHELSEA WILSON Urban Dirty: A glass of Hoyne’s Dark Matter with a drop shot of bourbon (because it rhymes with urban). In the UVic Urban Development Club, it’s said that if you overdo it on Urban Dirties, you’ll end up doing the “urban sprawl.” It is this sense of humour, along with the fact that they meet at the UVic Grad House on a weekly basis, that won the club its own official drink on The Grad House Restaurant menu. The idea for the new beer cocktail came out of one of the most important aspects of the club: the relaxed, intimate atmosphere that attracts a group of committed students and urban planning professionals. Urban development is a profession and area of research that emerged in
the early 20th century as a reaction to the myriad of interrelated issues, such as pedestrian-versus-traffic street planning, building allowances, and environmental impact management, that arise during the industrialization and growth of cities. This area of work and study attracts a diverse group of professionals, spanning from architects and civil engineers to public health specialists, economists, geographers, and politicians. As described by the School of Urban Planning at McGill, urban development is a “technical and political process concerned with the welfare of people, control of the use of land, design of the urban environment including transportation and communication networks, and protection and enhancement of the natural environment.” Urban planners and urban designers do more
than build cities—they help build communities. The Urban Development Club was born out of a group of students with an interest in this deep and broad topic. They are also seeking an answer to that age-old question, “What do I do with my degree?” Members say that the club’s greatest success so far comes from its ability to bridge the divide between students and the professional urban development community. Nearly every Wednesday evening since the club’s inception in September, students have had the opportunity to have informal chats with industry veterans over drinks at the Grad House. They have also been able to explore the field of urban development by touring various public and private spaces. The club has gained incredible
momentum, with many enthusiastic students showing up at the weekly meetings despite the fact that they do not normally advertise. The club has also become a resource for the professional urban development world. Members are often called upon to volunteer or assist with research, quickly becoming a part of the social and professional networks that their careers will be founded on. The reason for the lack of advertising has a lot to do with the atmosphere that club directors are trying to create. The goal is to keep meetings informal and wieldy, with the ideal number of participants between 15 and 20. Although interested individuals are never discouraged, there is concern that with too large a group, the quality of the meetings could be diluted. The smaller the group, the easier it is
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to foster honest connections between students and pros, creating a comfortable environment in which to learn and ask questions. Above all, the club is looking for the most motivated individuals. Club president Oliver Tennant says, “We like having [students] that are keen, who find us and are real go-getters . . . There are some real, tangible opportunities to be given to [them].” These opportunities may be in the form of internships and work experience, two things that are very important in the transition from campus to professional life.
Find the Urban Development Club on Twitter (@UVicUDC), for photos of their meetings and tours, as well as links to current research and news.
MARTLET • BUSINESS | TECH 21
Restaurant & Lounge
Exibiting local artwork / live DJs / menu available all night / gluten free & vegan dining options / comedy & open mic nights / free wi-fi / original house cocktails / unique urban underground in downtown Victoria cenoteloungevictoria.ca facebook.com/cenoterestaurantandlounge
768 Yates Participants in the Cyber-Seniors video project
Bringing the Internet to an offline generation KATLYN GOEUJON-MACKNESS “Cyber-Seniors” is an inventive initiative for social change, making a strong impact through a deceptively simple idea. The documentary film of the same name, which played during this year’s Victoria Film Festival, showcases how generation gaps may be bridged with the help of information technology. It all started with one family. When 19-year-old Kascha Cassaday and her 16-year-old sister, Macaulee, saw how their grandparents benefited as a result of learning a few basic Internet skills, they decided to launch a project that would help other seniors in their community. Older sister Saffron Cassaday is CyberSeniors’ director. “It really changed my grandparents’ lives and our relationship with them,” she told Shaw TV Victoria. “So my sisters decided to go into
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Rm A102 SUB, University of Victoria 250.405.5888 | email@example.com ON–4499356/4499372 | BC–34799 | QC–7002238 | Canadian owned
22 BUSINESS | TECH • MARTLET
March 13, 2014
retirement residences and teach others how to get online.” With the original intent of creating a promotional video for the project, Saffron went to retirement residences with her sisters and soon found that there was much more to it than she had originally thought. Through learning how to use the Internet, the seniors were able to connect with their busy or distant families far more easily and thoroughly than would be possible using occasional letters or phone conversations. The film centres around a group of youth mentors who visit the seniors’ residences to teach them various skills, including posting and browsing pictures on Facebook, searching videos on YouTube, and even playing games like Minecraft and Angry Birds. The most important skill they wanted to learn, however, was how to use email.
Not long into the project, 88-year-old Shura Eadie was inspired to create her own YouTube video, in which she showed the world how to make grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron and corn on the cob in a kettle. The video sparked a lively competition in her retirement residence. More and more residents created their own videos, vying for hits by sharing their wisdom, hidden talents, and life lessons. Upping the ante, a 93-year-old woman referred to as Marion K. even made a video rapping about how she still had all her O.G. (Original Grandma) teeth. You can find these and other awesome videos on the project’s YouTube channel, cyberseniorscorner. To get involved in the Cyber-Seniors—Connecting Generations campaign and learn how to become a mentor to your local seniors, visit cyberseniorsdocumentary.com.
UVic’s EcoCAR 2 and the future of engineering NICHOLAS BURTON-VULOVIC Just outside Ring Road, in one of the old army huts, a group of enterprising young engineers toil, making their bid in a competition to help design the automobile of tomorrow. The contest, called EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, is a three-year collegiate engineering competition. As the only one of its kind, its mission is to “offer an unparalleled, hands-on, realworld experience to educate the next generation of automotive engineers.” Across North America, 15 different universities compete to reduce the environmental impact of a standard Chevrolet car, while maintaining its driving performance and safety standards. UVic’s team, led by John Jancowski-Walsh, is one of only three Canadian university teams to have secured a place in the contest. Team UVic’s hut is a blur of activity. Engineers bustle back and forth and tools are spread over most surfaces. At the heart of the small building is the partially dismantled competition piece: a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO, a hybrid car delivered off the line. The idea is to do everything possible to improve the car’s fuel efficiency. To help meet this goal, teams are given seed money at the beginning of the competition, as well as useful products, hardware, and software. Most of the money and equipment comes from General Motors, the Canadian Government, and the U.S. Department of Energy. While these resources help get the teams on their
way, they are responsible for balancing their books, which requires a keen attention to the business side of things and a willingness to seek additional funding from elsewhere. Teams work to produce a product that could potentially hit the road in the near future. Jancowski-Walsh explains that though the cars are prototypes and likely won’t be ready for production any time soon, every marginal refinement they make may lead to large strides later. Part of the challenge is in battery technology. While the basic internal combustion engine has a century of progress under its belt, the electric equivalent is still relatively new. Batteries are expensive to produce; hybrid vehicles like UVic’s prototype use batteries that cost more than $10 000 each. This is worthy of consideration when environmental footprints are calculated; because production of the batteries is still relatively infrequent, they require parts shipped from all over the world. Moreover, if the batteries are charged from power generated by coal or other “dirty” sources, the overall environmental footprint of the vehicle can sometimes be larger than building and operating a traditional gas car. However, these are worries for another day. UVic’s team does not currently consider the overall footprint of the vehicles. That will be a challenge for EcoCAR 3, and Jancowski-Walsh hopes that, as production grows, the footprint impact of batteries will decrease. For now, Jancowski-Walsh and his team are focusing on their final
presentation. Last year’s competition saw UVic come in seventh place out of 15. At competition, the car failed to pass the safety inspection because of a problem with the battery module. Unfortunately, this issue could not be fixed at the time, and without passing the safety technical inspection, the car could not compete in any dynamic events. The seventhplace finish was awarded despite being the only team without a car to compete, based solely on the strength of the team’s presentation. Jancowski-Walsh is confident that, given a year of rewiring and rebuilding, the prototype will be more reliable. The UVic team has already put in a proposal for the EcoCAR 3 competition. The value of programs like EcoCAR to the university is in both research and teaching. UVic students have access to teams working on unmanned aerial vehicles, racecars, and underwater vehicles. Each of these programs gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and make connections in their chosen industry. While Victoria is farther afield from the factories of Detroit and Ontario than the EcoCAR competitor teamat the University of Waterloo, UVic students train with the same software many automotive companies use on the job. The program may help find engineers to build the cars of tomorrow. UVic’s EcoCAR 2 team will make their final presentation in June. For more information see ecocar.uvic.ca, or ecocar2.org.
Alternative energy? We’re huge fans of wind farms.
10 important lessons learned smoking the green stuff 1 2 DAVEBLOGGS007 VIA FLICKR COMMONS (PHOTO)
B.C. government plans for solar panel farms on soon-to-bedesolate Alberta province KLARA WOLDENGA Although the recent information on the Alberta oilsands leaking toxic chemicals into the surrounding water may be bad news for some, it seems to be a silver lining for others. Representatives from the B.C. Department of Sustainable Energy have recently announced their future plans of turning Alberta’s land into a large solar panel farm by 2036, codenamed “Operation: Told You So.” John Berick, the representative of the department, spoke to the public about their plans in a press conference, stating, “We’re really excited that soon we will have the amount of flat land to accomplish this. With Operation: Told You So accomplished, we can see half of our needed energy in B.C. homes being created by solar energy by 2040.” According to their research, environmental scientists estimate that, due to the oil sands’ toxic chemicals leaking into the water supplies and land, Alberta will become bleak and without any sign of life by 2034.
Derrick Volt, head of the environmental scientist team, is excited about the eventual outcome of Alberta. “We really hope that Harper allows the oilsands to expand; that would speed up this process, along with keeping the railways as bad as they are,” said Volt. “Getting rid of gas as a large energy resource for all of B.C. residents is a big number one on our list of environmental priorities.” Joe Calen, a head representative of the Alberta oil sands, was able to be reached for this story. “We get a lot of flak for destroying the planet, being inefficient, and pandering to an old, outdated energy source,” said Calen. “I’m just glad that some scientists are finally seeing the Alberta oil sands as something positive for our country.” When asked about the plans regarding the expansion of the oil sands, Calen stated that, after hearing the B.C. environmental team’s statements, they are going to work at full steam to increase not only the area, but the speed at which the oil is being extracted from the sand. “Anything we can do to help,” said
Calen. “We would like nothing better than to remove the negative stigmas from our industry.” B.C. environmental scientists are also currently working with the Alberta government to get a petition signed with 10 000 signatures, allowing for a bill to be presented to parliament regarding deregulation of the oil sands to allow for infinite expansion and extraction. Although having all these projects to work on simultaneously is tiring for these scientists, they state that nothing is good enough for the citizens of B.C. “We just want what’s best for our province,” states Volt. “We will work as hard as we can until our energy crisis is solved.” This survey project is estimated to be passed by 2019, according to survey analysts, and will be starting to circulate in the public in August 2014. If you would like to know more about the petition go to www.operationtrainwreck. ca for future updates as the process continues.
Taco Bell. It’s more than a lesson—it’s a taco. Thirty minutes is an excruciating long time to wait for pizza to be delivered to your home and is best done with the emotional support of others.
Adventure Time is a very complex cartoon show. Don’t get me started on my theory for why Rainicorns speak Korean.
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Wall is the best album ever.
6 7 8 9 10
Nature is the best and should be grown everywhere. Except trees, they are fractals and freak me out. Tater Tot poutine does not taste as good at it sounds. Turning down music can help you see better. The DVD menu can almost be as interesting as the movie itself. Brushing your teeth is as close as you will ever get to brushing your bones. There is a high possibility that those “Do not eat” packets you get in food contain the most delicious food you will ever eat; they just want to hide it from you. Think about it. KLARA WOLDENGA
March 17th semi ﬁnals
& Downtown Mischief & Redwood Green
www.felicitas.ca March 13, 2014
MARTLET • HUMOUR 23
Reuse your news
The Martlet origami box instructable I'm sure we've all effectively reused old newspapers before, such as for padding fragile glasses, stuffing old shoes, or making silly hats and paper boats. But news paper has great potential to be reused in many creative, practical ways. In this Green Issue, weâ€™d like to show you how to reuse your old copies of the Martlet. Follow the instructions below to create an origami box of any size. All you need is a square of paper for a perfect hand-made, vintage-themed container to store items, promote being green, and avoid consuming more plastic.
Start with a square piece of paper. (The final product will be roughly a quarter the size of the square used.)
Fold the square in half, touching the bottom edge to the top edge.
Unfold, and fold in half putting the vertical edges together this time. Unfold. (You should end up with your paper divided into quarters.)
Fold all four corners into the centre of the paper.
Now, fold the bottom edge horizontally into the centre of the paper.
Repeat step 5 with the other three edges, unfolding afterward.
Unfold the top and bottom corners as shown. Keeping the side corners folded down, fold the indicated edge points at the crease, so the sides stand upward.
Lift the remaining corners, folding the edges inward so that the top is neat against the upright sides. Strengthen creases as needed.
Finally, fold each of the corners down over themselves and tuck them in.
Now that you have your box base, why not make another one with a slightly larger square of paper. This will form a lid that should cover your base nicely. Hooray!
9. CHORONG KIM (GRAPHIC)
Editor-in-Chief Shandi Shiach firstname.lastname@example.org VOLUME 66
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