the plant SINCE 1969 VOL 54 NO 2
MARCH @THEPLANTNEWS THEPLANTNEWS.COM
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Letter from the Editor March comes with the new seedlings of spring. With our days finally being longer, I too feel like I am being reborn. I want you to take the time to go outside and let the rays of sunshine smash the remaining winter sadness away. This month’s issue really shines thanks to all the articles from our wonderful contributors. The Creative Writing section overflows with poems that defrost my frozen heart. Téa Barrett brings us to the secret world of filth at Dawson, and Maya Cheikh interviews Micheal Cohen about days of Dawson’s past. Over in Sports, Lauren Dym explores a question that has been on so many of our minds recently; are the Canadiens’ retro uniforms bad luck? The Plant team has also produced so many great reads and I am truly proud of all the work showcased this month. A new Plant Art Zine (title to be reworked) is in progress! Keep your eyes peeled for more information on our instagram, @theplantnewspaper. Also, our applications for the 2021-2022 Editorial team will open on April 15th so please apply. Enjoy this month’s playlist while soaking in these nice, sun-filled days. DAYLEN CONSERVE Editor-in-Chief
Index NEWS 3 ARTS & CULTURE 7 PLAYLIST 11 VISUAL ARTS 12 VOICES 14 CREATIVE WRITING 19 SPORTS 21 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 23 CURIOSITIES 25
The Plant is an editorially autonomous student paper. All opinions expressed in The Plant do not necessarily belong to The Plant, but are those of individuals. All content submitted to The Plant or its staff belongs to the paper. We reserve the right to reject or edit all submissions for brevity, taste and legality. The Plant welcomes typed and signed letters to the editor under 400 words. Copyright 2021
NEWS 3 3
Canada Considers Drug Decriminalization BENJAMIN WEXLER Copy Editor
In 1969, Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s Liberal Government appointed a Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. About 12,000 people came to hear the testimonies of drug users, police, and experts in addiction treatment (and John Lennon). The Commission's final recommendation: legalize the simple possession or cultivation of cannabis for personal use, and gradually decriminalize any possession of drugs for personal use. Analysts at the time called it “perhaps the most politically explosive document ever put before the government.” Not much changed. 45 years later, a new Trudeau government legalized recreational marijuana. Now, Canadian cities are asking that Canada make good on that second recommendation. — On 25 January 2021, Montreal’s City Council voted in favour of a motion calling on the Canadian government to decriminalize simple possession of drugs for personal use. In doing so, Montreal joins Vancouver, Toronto, and numerous smaller municipalities in demanding that public health replace criminal enforcement as the guide to federal drug policy. The motion was written by Snowdon representative Marvin Rotrand and can be read in the meeting minutes available through the city website. I spoke to Loyola representative and Dawson alumnus Christian Arseneault, who seconded the motion. “Virtually all of the evidence that we have now shows that prohibition has failed. If we actually want to help people combat the ravages of addiction and drug dependency, we need a new approach,” Arseneault argues. He’s not alone in believing that; L’Association des intervenants en dépendance du Québec (AIDQ) and several other community
organizations released a joint statement celebrating the passing of the motion and calling a change in policy “more than urgent.”
However, Arseneault claims that greater change would need to come through the provincial or federal governments.
This urgency is underscored by recent statistics on drug use and overdoses in Canada. The motion notes that there were nearly 15,000 estimated opioid deaths in Canada in the past 4 years. The crisis continues to be exacerbated by fentanyl circulation and the isolation and strain on health services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
This is an issue I never thought I would be able to address at a city level.
For many Canadians, the ongoing opioid epidemic is a sign that change is needed. “This is an issue I never thought I would be able to address at a city level,” Arseneault admits. However, there appears to be an ongoing paradigm shift; the Angus Reid Institute recently found that 59% of Canadians and 60% of Quebecers support drug decriminalization. Arseneault also claims that a summer of protests contributed to a growing realization that “policing drug use is not effective, just like policing, well, a whole slew of things is not particularly effective.” Even the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police recently announced that they are in favour of decriminalizing simple possession of drugs for personal use, and the SPVM acknowledged that drug use was first and foremost an issue of public health, not safety. As an example of successful harm reduction, councillors point to Portugal’s 2001 decriminalization of simple possession of drugs. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction, the decision correlated with “reductions in the social harms of drug use, including use in public, the transmission of HIV/AIDS, lost productivity and demand on criminal justice resources.” Another form of harm reduction is already in place in many Canadian cities, including Montreal. The city has four safe injection sites where medical staff supervise injections to minimize unsafe needle use and to intervene in the case of overdoses.
Although Montreal has its own police force, their responsibilities are dictated by the province. This limits the city’s ability to change the SPVM’s attitude towards drug use, says Arseneault: “The law on police is pretty straightforward in listing all of the things that police are responsible for, and there’s a long list of the things that have nothing to do with criminal activity whatsoever.” When asked if he believes a change to provincial policy is realistic, he laughed out loud: “Have you seen this government?” Francois Legault’s CAQ shut down a motion to debate the issue of drug decriminalization back in December 2020. Meanwhile, Bill C-22, introduced in the House of Commons on 18 February 2021, is one sign of federal legislative change. The bill aims to repeal all mandatory minimum sentencing in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Though far from full decriminalization, it would enable the system to treat drug addiction instead of punishing it. One option does remain for the city. Vancouver city councillors voted unanimously to request an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This would effectively decriminalize simple possession in the city. City officials began discussing the implementation of the plan with Health Canada in January 2021. In the same statement celebrating the Montreal City Council motion, the AIDQ called on the city to request exemption as well. This is a pivotal moment for drug legislation in Canada. Perhaps Montreal will make a similar decision in the near future. Perhaps it won’t need to. p p
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How Dirty is Dawson? TÉA BARRETT Contributor
By day and by night, Dawson’s building can be found full of people working to keep visitors safe. They are unknown protectors from the invisible danger of bacteria, viruses, and germs. While this has been the narrative for a long time, it’s not entirely accurate according to Ph.D. candidate Dilhan Perera. With the recent announcement that CEGEPs can allow in-person classes, the debate on Dawson’s safety has been lively. Many people fear visiting the campus after staying hidden indoors for so long and have made arguments against the reopening like Dawson’s poor ventilation. By talking to staff, and students, Dawson’s levels of sanitation are being brought under the microscope. Sofia Fabritchny, a John Abbott student, says that college students are “a lot more alert of [their] surroundings, especially what [their] hands touch” and “always sanitize [their] hands” when out in public. Dawson student Marie-Jeanne Pineault, a 2nd semester Cinema and Communications student, says that she is “very aware of everything [she’s] touching.” This heightened self-awareness is also actively promoted by Dawson College through posters and protocols on-campus. Natalie Trepanier, the Cleaning Administrator at Dawson College explains how “Facilities Management increased cleaning and sanitizing the college” in response to the novel coronavirus.. During the day, the cleaning staff ’s main focus is to “ensure [Dawson’s environment] is cleaned and disinfected.” More specifically, “high-traffic areas” are continuously cleaned. Door handles, water fountains, cafeteria tables, sinks, faucets, elevator buttons, handrails, light switches, food preparation surfaces would all be considered “high-traffic areas.” When night falls, cleaning
staff “diligently continue working throughout the night and thoroughly clean and disinfect all classrooms and offices, including all tables and desk surfaces.” They also focus their time on disinfecting desks, floors, or emptying any trash.
that this does not prove that disease lurks behind every corner. “We don’t know what bacteria grew and they may not be pathogenic! But we can see that bacteria (good or bad) cover things we touch every day,” Perera states.
Dawson has also taken new measures to protect students inside the campus in several ways. First, you need to complete a COVID-19 screening test 24 hours before coming to Dawson and once you do arrive, you’re given a new procedural mask. Staff were informed at the beginning of the pandemic that “personal area cleaning is to be performed by all employees in their personal workspace.” Ventilation has also been improved in classrooms to improve air quality and eating has been banned from classrooms to ensure the least chances of air-born bacteria spreading in a closed environment.
Dilhan hasn’t only tested common public things, but also places like grocery stores, tap water, snow, the soles of shoes. His results proved his point that bacteria can be found anywhere, dangerous or not.
It’s hard to imagine how much bacteria co-exists with us and how much we come into contact with daily. Dilhan Perera, a Ph.D. candidate from McGill University, shares his microbiology knowledge through social media platforms Tik-Tok and Instagram. According to him, he began his social media accounts “as a teaching aid for my Microbiology students to show them how experiments are conducted in a lab setting.” Garbage handles, ATMs, Metropole grips, public transit ticket machines, metro revolving doors, and gas pumps all found in Montreal were tested for bacteria, by Perera, as “commonly-touched locations”. His results? They ranged from two colonies to over seventy. The public transit ticket machine held the most bacteria, but it’s important to remember
It’s hard to imagine how much bacteria co-exists with us and how much we come into contact with daily.
Most assume that bacteria are generally found in huge quantities and that the bigger they are the worse they are. However, due to different factors like growth levels and the number of original bacteria bigger colonies tend to just grow faster. Second semester ALC student Elizabeth Woo admits that she avoids touching things in public and “when [she does] by accident, [she] feels gross”. Despite this popular misconception, students know better than to skip out on precautions like cleaning their hands. “I wash my hands as often as I can,” Pineault says, “and if that’s not possible I use hand sanitizer.” She adds that she may wash her hands “once or twice an hour,” and she is not the only one. Knowing staff and students are actively being responsible and knowing that Dawson College is taking safety protocols into their own hands by implementing and installing better health measures is comforting to those scared of visiting the campus. Trepanier sends out an email “when [staff] had any concerns.” The email consists of new measures not only for cleaning staff, but all staff, and reassures people that “cleaning and disinfecting the college was an important part of our prevention strategy.” p p
NEWS 5 5
What Am I Doing This For? Art vs. Science Degrees JESSICA GEAREY News Editor
During times as tough as these, school can be a distraction from the real world. However, some academic paths are harder than others. Nevertheless, there are always pros and cons to everything. Alessandro Mortellaro, a second year Literature student, knows that he wants to write a novel one day. “I became attracted to the arts because it spoke to my innate passion to create and to appreciate life in its purest form,” he says. Although social work interested Mortellaro, Literature was his true calling. Art students generally know that they are taking a risk when it comes to their program of choice. In Mortellaro’s opinion the science route is more of a safe choice. “It’s a prepaved path,” he adds. When it comes to the science route, there are certain advantages that art students don’t have. “The "hireability" of a STEM degree right out of school -- whether it's CEGEP or a university undergrad degree -- is bigger,” says Lorne Roberts, an English teacher at Dawson. Based on the program, he notes that becoming employed right out of CEGEP is more common among programs like nursing, while programs in philosophy or literature generally have a harder time. In the long run, Roberts assures that studies have shown “the average earnings and career potential for arts and humanities degrees are just as high.” However, it may take more time. Roberts himself admits to a long time spent “living poorly” because he wanted to follow his passion of writing. “After I graduated, I stayed out of school for several years and lived quite poor, often doing labour jobs to pay the bills so that I could continue to write,” he explains. “That was the cost of my degree in some ways.” The worth of a degree can be hard to measure. Although art degrees can help you learn critical thinking
Photo VIA AUDIOHOLICS.COM
and analytical skills, they also take a long time to get going. Science degrees on the other hand, have a higher employment status and some feel they are generally more acknowledged than art degrees. Roberts himself sometimes feels the need to validate his subject of choice, something he feels doctors or physics professors rarely have to do. “There's always talk about whether or not art degrees are useful, over how much taxpayers should help fund degrees in poetry or sculpture,” says Roberts. But for science related projects, government funding is never questioned. Jeanne Hope, a second Literature student as well, says that she doesn’t think that art degrees are undervalued as opposed to science degrees. “I think society views students who pursue science degrees as more intelligent than art degrees, but I wouldn’t say that society cares more about them.” Roberts on the other hand says society “absolutely” prioritizes science over art. “There's a reason we value science degrees -our society, our world in 2021, is very technology-based,” he states, “STEM grads do super important things that help make our lives as wonderful and comfortable as they are.” Nevertheless, Roberts adds that storytelling has always complimented science and technology in some way. That being said, have you ever reconsidered your degree? “I have thought about switching programs,” says Hope. Even during her final semester at Dawson she has had some doubts about her choices. What
stopped her however is asking herself whether she wants to do it for herself or for others. “I grew up in a highly competitive and private high school, where everyone wanted to be doctors, lawyers and engineers,” Hope explains, “when it was time for me to decide my program, I felt the pressure of meeting the standard set by my high school.” From the teacher’s perspective it’s not much different. “Students are hurting,” he says, “I mean, I'm sure some of you are sailing through it and having a great time, but a lot of the feedback I get on Zoom and MIO tells me this is a really, exceptionally hard time for a lot of people. So, I'm sure a lot of people are questioning why they're doing this.” However, Roberts assures that even if you’re just hanging on by a thread it will all be worth it.
Your career is what you make of it at the end of the day. "Your career is what you make of it at the end of the day,” says Mortellaro. Even if it takes you years of struggle and hard work Roberts says “if you genuinely want to study, and you have some idea where you want to take it, you have to follow your passion.” The pandemic, even with all the uncertainty, has taught Hope a lot about patience. “If my degree doesn’t lead me to where I want to be, then I’ll adapt,” she explains, “because there’s no true loss when it comes to education.” p p
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The Dawson Library and Access: Do E-Books Fall Out of Thin Air?
DINU MAHAPATUNA Voices Editor
In loving memory of that copy of Dante’s Inferno. You were small, blue, and vandalized beyond redemption. I miss you every day. Once upon a time, I needed to procure a $200 textbook on a subject so obscure, I could understand why its author had resorted to robbing students. Eventually, I struck out pirating as a viable option, and declared to the world, “I’m going to the library!” My journey ended at the checkout area of the library. There, I was struck by the familiarity of the warm, wood interior and stained-glass windows. Many a hazy morning was spent in a three-sided cubicle, resisting the urge to fall asleep within multi-coloured shafts of light as I combed through pages of research, most of it disfigured in the 1970s by some ruffian named Richard. Ruffians aside, the library was empty. As expected of any institution impacted by COVID-19, the library’s “ground” location is not seeing much traffic; the majority of visitors are students waiting for their mandatory in-person classes to begin. On the day I visited, the library was void of all humanity, save for three staff members looking at me so intently, I found myself struggling to sign my own name onto the clock-in sheet. “Dinu?” said one, and I jumped, worried some book-related misdemeanor had finally caught up to me. Instead, I was met with a smile from Suzanne, the circulation coordinator who had taken the time to correspond with me, back and forth, on the location of the aforementioned textbook and a copy of Dante’s Inferno I mournfully returned two semesters ago. “Great to meet you!”
she said, “It’s rare that I get to see who’s on the other side of the emails.” And then we lived happily ever after, me, Suzanne and Dante. Okay, okay. Enough joking. What’s really important to note is how I got into contact with Suzanne: the Dawson College Library website, a virtual subsection of the library. I met with Dawson College librarian Claire Elliott to talk about the library’s virtual presence. She tells me that despite the relative vacancy of the library’s on-site facilities, “steady traffic from students and faculty” alike is apparent within the library’s virtual subsection. “A lot of the interactions are what we would have usually gotten in passing” says Elliott of the virtual library’s “Ask-A-Librarian” service, one of many remote conveniences made available in recent years. Students can also ask to pick up what Elliott and other librarians lovingly dub ‘dust-collectors’ (print sources) through a curbside-pickup request form. Recently, the library has even begun opening up group study areas (6 species for 2-4 people), boasting a total of 49 individual seating spaces for students to take advantage of. But all of this information is more or less evident through a quick scroll of the library’s website or perhaps even a glimpse at your Omnivox page, where the library routinely posts updates. What you might not ascertain so easily are the real restrictions that the librarians face when sourcing the material that we need for our education. Elliott clarifies that purchasing electronic materials is no easy feat. “We have a capital budget to buy dust-collectors,” she says, “and that budget increases and adjusts over the years so we can source more.” The issue is that the budget for electronic
materials used to buy, for example, article collections from vendors like EBSCO, has not increased consistently over the years the way the capital budget has. “It’s March now, but we have just under half of our capital budget to spend. But the subscriptions budget, the one for electronic resources, it’s tapped out. And it has been, for a while,” summarizes Elliott.
Access to information does not equate to its proper use The obvious solution, the reallocation of capital budget funds towards electronic sources, is not as easy as one might think. “In Quebec, if you’re an institutional library like a CEGEP library and you’re buying physical books, you’re legally required to purchase from accredited independent book-sellers in Quebec, not Amazon or Indigo,” says Elliot. Essentially, these funds couldn’t be reallocated, because if they were, they would put independent Quebec booksellers at risk. So, for anyone who is currently cursing the college for not having enough information about obscure Swedish artists for their research papers, leave the librarians out of it. “Access to information does not equate to its proper use,” remarks Elliott, noting the necessity of the librarians. They aren’t just well-read bloodhounds compelled to locate your academic resources; in addition to helping us access material, they curate collections to provide what is most relevant to our education and teach students how to research. “We’re here to support students in any way we can,” Elliot affirms and there’s no doubt in believing her. p p
ARTS & CULTURE 7 7
The Controversy of Tinder MYLÈNE KONO Contributor
Welcome to the twenty-first century, where all you need to do is swipe to find true love! Or so young people have been made to believe. One thing is for sure: dating is changing, just as everything seems to be, in the name of modernization. But is it really for the best? Tinder was controversial at first in 2012, and it remains to this day, despite being the most popular dating app on the market. Initial concerns about this app were how impersonal it was; a few pictures and a biography with a 500-character cap were all users got. These concerns were only amplified as the platform grew in popularity. It began to resemble an online marketplace where people could spend their days nitpicking at others' profiles as they shopped for a soulmate. Today, Tinder is widely known as a "hook up" app. Young adults sign up in hopes of meeting new people and with (more often than not) the expectation of sex. Although casual sex is becoming decreasingly taboo, it remains something older generations aren't familiar with in the dating scene. Chloe, a Dawson student and a previous user of Tinder, doesn't support this transformation. "Isn't it scary that people are meeting up just for sex? You're doing something so intimate and invasive with someone you barely know," she says. Right or wrong, swiping on strangers' profiles and exchanging only a few flirty messages before meeting is definitely new. But why are so many young people doing it? Simply put, Tinder discovered the secret to younger generations' hearts before any other dating service did: efficiency. According to a report by the Consumer Insights team of Microsoft Canada, the average attention span today is only eight seconds. Young adults aren't interested in long texts while sorting through
dating profiles, just as they don't want to sit around and wait to make acquaintances. Cordelia, another Dawson student who regularly uses Tinder, can attest to this: "I decided to sign up because I was sick of waiting to meet people. It's too slow."
Tinder discovered the secret to younger generations' hearts before any other dating service did: efficiency. Tinder's growing popularity also played an essential role in its success. Since so many people are using it, others are encouraged to sign up. It's the main reason that Chloe created a profile. However, she quickly realized she wasn't comfortable with the expectation of casual sex that most men had. "I like relationships. I prefer to feel a deep connection before I have sex; otherwise, I feel like I'm being used for my body," she explains. Edmund, on the other hand, is in a relationship thanks to Tinder. He and his girlfriend were originally only looking to have casual sex. Still,
Photo VIA TINDER
to their mutual surprise, they fell in love. Although uncommon, their luck isn't as rare as one may think. In 2018, 93 of the 1000 couples featured in the Times' Wedding Announcements section had met on dating apps, and 71 in the previous year. People are increasingly beginning their relationships through dating platforms such as Tinder. Odds are, it'll soon become the norm. As for nearly everything in life, there are differing opinions in regards to Tinder. While to some, it is a revolutionary application that facilitates individuals' connection, to others is a platform that encourages debauchery and ruins dating as we used to know it. Tinder receives a great deal of criticism for the latter. But is Tinder really to blame for the changes we see in the dating scene? Isn't this platform's only fault to have discovered a demand and supplied it? After all, people's needs and desires haven't changed. Humans still crave companionship, intimacy, and sexual satisfaction – Tinder has only modified the way people court potential partners. p p
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ODAAT GIULIANA MANCUSO Contributor
Justin sits with a soft smile and kind eyes, as though his portrait were being taken. His dark hair is styled in shaggy curls, along with his neatly trimmed beard, complimenting his chiselled jawline and friendly facial structure. "Growing up, as a kid, I always played instruments," he says, and although his voice was quite mature for someone of his age, it was also quite gentle. "But I only got serious about producing when COVID happened. I had this abundance of time, and I was really motivated to do something artistic." Justin Tatone is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, producer, and Dawson student in the Arts and Culture program. He has released several albums and singles and recently opened a recording studio, ZION, with a website on its way to provide potential clients with more information and details.
"It started with me just having a keyboard, and mainly producing on this keyboard, and then I got a job, and I started buying a bunch of stuff. It's gotten to a point where I have enough equipment, and a lot of my paychecks went towards new instruments." "I've got a bunch of tiny instruments, trumpets, flutes. I have a violin, a bugle, a drum set, eight guitars, basses, and kalimbas. I've got three synthesizers, a voice box, and some mics. It's ridiculous," he remarks with a loud laugh.
I'll incorporate folk into hip-hop or jazz into hip-hop Justin has also collaborated with several other local and underground musicians, such as Benedict Tan and Marina Genovesi. "He is inventive," remarks Benedict, a friend of Justin's, as well as co-writer and featured singer on his recent single Peanut Butter Playboi. "When I listen to his music, I hear sounds that I've never heard anywhere else." "Justin is someone who likes to have big ideas," adds Marina. Justin's music explores many genres, allowing each song to be completely original and unique along with its sounds. However, he is still trying to figure out how to classify his music. "I would classify my music mainly as experimental hip-hop because it's hip-hop music that pushes the boundary of hip-hop. I'll incorporate folk into hip-hop or jazz into hip-hop." Despite having released several pieces, Justin is much more candid about one song in particular: HOME. He had already said that it was his favourite work, and I asked if he wanted to elaborate. This led to the most bittersweet moment of the entire interview.
Photo VIA NIKO BOLDUC
"It means the most to me. It was my first ever real solo project that I took seriously. The lyrics are: 'being home, don't feel like home, but I never feel alone. Sit and wonder why I'll never have to find this feeling that I'll never know. Where do I go?' It ties into this time that was very lonely for me, so that song encapsulates the way I felt at the time. It was everything I wanted to say about the way I was feeling, and when you're a musician, and you're able to explicitly tell people how you feel, it's really therapeutic." His words are as poetic as the song itself. In the past, Justin has also experimented with his musical identities and has gone by several pseudonyms. "I've had so many different names: DJ Casino, DJ Spade of Hearts. I just didn't really know what I was: Was I an artist or a producer? I couldn't figure it out, so I decided to release my solo stuff in my real name. The actual name came from the song, Peanut Butter Playboi, and it's just based on the fact that I love Peanut Butter, and I thought it was the funniest thing, but I don't take it seriously. It's just another pseudonym." He just finished a big and collaborative project. "I'm not going to reveal the tracklist or how long it is, but it's called ODAAT (stands for one day at a time). I can't put a date yet, but it's certainly going to come out before spring," shares Justin. What perfect timing! p p
ARTS & CULTURE 9 9
Behind the Scenes of Conspiracy Theories BEATRIZ NEVES Arts & Culture Editor
Flat Earth, Area 51, QAnon, the fake moon landing, the Reptilian Elite and the Illuminati are all popular and contemporary so-called "conspiracy theories." We hear about them on our social media or on television more often than not. But the American political scientist Joseph Uscinski has crossed all limits and dedicated his life to the study of conspiracy theories. He describes it as "an explanation of historical, ongoing, or future events that cites as a main causal factor a group of powerful persons, the conspirators, acting in secret for their benefit against the common good." As the name reveals, these are theories of conspiracies favouring only a selected group. Conspiracy theories have always been around, but nowadays, they seem to have won people's hearts as never before. Although some theories might seem as clearly crazy or even ridiculous, there were many cases of ideas once considered absurd that turned out to be true throughout history. Great scientists were once also thought to be delusional or bizarre, such as Darwin, Mendel, Copernicus or Kepler. However, they all lived in extremely repressed societies dictated mainly by religion. In our democratic societies today, we have a continuously improving scientific understanding of the universe. So why don’t conspiracy theories make the cut?
Conspiracy theories should be treated as wrong, but they are also necessary for society's healthy functioning. "Those are the type of people who are scared of being disappointed or their ego is too inflated to think about the possibility," says Rafael Fernando. He is a former Dawson Student and a firm believer in the flat Earth. He
Photo VIA BBC
also manages a Facebook group with more than two thousand flat-Earthers. "I thought it was crazy the first time I saw this as well," continues Rafael. The flat-Earth community is very heartfelt in their beliefs, and they are very engaged in spreading the ideas and arguments that, according to them, expose the truth. "We won't force the truth on the people. We will just leave it out there, and you can see if you want," says Rafael.
with the opposite argument, we tend to just deny it.
Uscinski says that conspiracy theories should be treated as wrong, but they are also necessary for society's healthy functioning. Although conspiracies happen and people should be cautious about it, most conspiracy theories do not reflect the best judgment since they contradict most official records.
Most conspiracy theories' undeniable inconsistency and sensationalism forces most of society to neglect their credibility. Within the flat-Earth movement itself, there are various models of truth. Some propose that the Earth's edges are surrounded by a wall of ice holding in the oceans. Others suggest that our world is protected by an enormous snow globe that does not allow anything to fall off Earth's edges. To justify the day and night, most believers agree that the sun moves around the Earth and not the other way around. Their complete neglect of any scientific discovery that could in any way contradict their theory reveals their contradiction and denial of science.
However, arguing against it is not necessarily the best way to convince someone of the contrary. Due to the cognitive bias called the backfire effect, we tend to double-down on our beliefs when confronted with counter-evidence. It limits our ability to convince others or to understand counterarguments rationally. Along with the backfire effect, many believers in conspiracy theories also are impacted by confirmation bias. This cognitive bias is the idea that we tend to only search for information that confirms our already preexisting beliefs. Thus, we only absorb the media that we agree with, and when confronted
Thus, why are there still many people who embrace these theories and continue to believe in them? There are a few reasons. It is inherent to human nature to have something to ground you, such as religion, a sports team, or simply your family. As mammals, we also need the social part of our lives, which explains why so many people are having mental health problems caused by the quarantine period during the pandemic. Finally, according to the psychologist Marina Lohmann, "there is the aspect of the suspicion or doubt. If you are someone who has experienced betrayal, you will be more likely to question everything around you." p
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ARTS & CULTURE
Nostalgia Today JULIA QUYNH NOORDIN Staff Writer
A bittersweet feeling. That's the feeling whenever you look at old pictures and videos of your past, or when you pass by that one special place in your heart you used to visit when you were younger. Nostalgia is a funny emotion that makes you feel comforted with a twinge of sadness and want to rewind back to a time where things were much simpler than they are now. Nostalgia is the feeling of longing and wistfulness for times gone by when we think about fond memories from our past. It is correlated to reminiscence, where nostalgia is the emotional response triggered by reflecting on our history. Could nostalgia be used as a means for escapism? Escaping our current reality sounds enticing right now, given that we're stuck in the middle of a crippling pandemic with little to no freedom over what
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we do right now. It's definitely easy to go down the rabbit hole of social media and imagine reliving the old days with how accessible our media is today. Without a doubt, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nostalgia has been on the uptick, with the limited social interactions we have every day. Valeria Campo Cervantes, a second-year student in Cinema / Communications, says that being stuck at home with nothing else to do has made her even more nostalgic. "I spent more time reminiscing about the past and things I was able to do with my friends without any worry of catching the virus," says Cervantes. "I keep thinking back to whenever I spent time with my friends, but now it's hard to see them as often as I used
The advancement of social media today has definitely affected the way we engage in nostalgia.
to, especially with the pandemic affecting our lives." Jessie Guo, a second-year Cinema / Communications student, sympathizes as well. "It can feel very discouraging and sad whenever my friends start a conversation with me today with 'remember when […],' adds Guo. "It sucks not being able to create new memories with my friends instead of always looking back in the past." The advancement of social media today has definitely affected the way we engage in nostalgia, with most people experiencing nostalgia once a week. Social media platforms, like Snapchat, now have a 'flashback' function, where the application shows you your pictures or videos from a year ago. Guo adds that she feels nostalgic whenever she looks at her Snapchat stories from a year or two ago. "I feel some type of way whenever I see how much things have changed in the span of one year." Even on Twitter, nostalgia has been prevalent. Have you ever seen this trending phrase on Twitter, 'you had to be there?' Recently, Twitter users have been taking part in this viral trend on the microblogging platform, where people have been reminiscing about old fads in pop culture everyone grew up with during the 90s to the early 2000s. The content varies from stills from old films, old games we used to play like Angry Birds, to the decade's defining songs. "It's definitely a nice blast to the past whenever I look at these tweets," adds Joash Kok, a second-year Interior Design student at the Nanyang Academy of the Fine Arts. Friends, The Office, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Gilmore Girls are just some of the feel-good nostalgic comfort shows that we binge to no end. "I just love the comfort and warmth whenever I watch these shows," adds Kok. Change is scary. But it's nice to be able to relive old, comforting memories with a click of a button, with how accessible the media is today. p p
PLAYLIST 11 11
Playlist by JILL GOLDENBERG Visual Arts Editor
12 THE PLANT
Photo by JILL GOLDENBERG @JILLGOLDENPHOTOGRAPHY
Photo by TEODORA MARIA HOGMAN @_INKONSISTENCY_
Photo by ASPEN CRICK @LITTLE_QUEER_UNICORN_
VISUAL ARTS 13
Photo by MORGANA FOLLMANN
14 THE PLANT
Ask The Plant ARWEN LOW Staff Writer
Dear The Plant, How do I get my skeleton to behave? Thanks! -Bodie Hey Bodie! First things first: don't be embarrassed. We here at The Plant know that there's a lot of stigma surrounding skeletal behavior, and we're proud of you for reaching out for help. You're now one step closer to fully living your life. Regardless of where your skeleton is, there's a way to proceed. If your skeleton is buried in your backyard, try for a bit of empathy - how would *you* feel if you were 6 feet underground? Maybe it gets cold down there, and that annoying chattering you're hearing at night is just your poor skeleton shivering. Why not quilt a blanket? Alternatively, your skeleton might just be lonely, and that's what all that spooky sobbing is about. It has no-body to hang out with! Honestly, you should consider lying with its bones. Maybe then you'll even have a date for your family's Easter dinner. Is your skeleton being a real lazy bones and not helping out with spring cleaning? It's probably time for you to try tough love. Let it know that it can't stay in that box of old Halloween decorations forever. It's March, for goodness sake! It's time for your skeleton to get up and dust itself off. Sure, you're a cool mom and you want your skeleton to feel like it's okay to move back home and live in your garage. But Bodie, at some point, you have to lay down the law. If your skeleton is in your closet, you're probably past the point of no return. Best to just bolt the door and get used to the sound of its bony fingers scratching on wood when you're trying to fall asleep at night. Don't look so down, it's free ASMR! But the worst type of skeletal misbehavior is definitely when it decides to no longer help you open doors. Like, hello? What are all those fingers for if not to unlock all the secret doors in your house?
Skeletons nowadays, am I right? Have you considered sending yours to the highly elite Skeleton Academy for some discipline training? We can't disclose the location, but we can tell you it's somewhere in the North-West South-East. It's a worthwhile school. If you can find it... Your skeleton will learn useful skills like maintaining good posture and avoiding scoliosis. What's more: they only feed students the highest caliber of yak's milk. Yum, calcium! If you do decide to take one of these routes, expect some emotional side effects. You might feel unsteady, like your limbs are jelly. You might feel more vulnerable, like you've lost an important support system. But you're brave, Bodie. You reached out once for help, and you can do it again. There are plenty of resources out there for people like you, you just need to go and find them. Talk to your friends and family. Don't isolate yourself. Get out of your room sometimes, walk children in nature. Do your spring cleaning! Take a break when you need it, disconnect from your screen. Relish in hidden smiles, the everyday moments of connection that remind us that we're here. You're here. Right now. You are here. Remember that. All the best, The Plant
Photo VIA LIVERPOOLHLS
16 THE PLANT
As Seen on Zoom: Antonio Sgro, aka M!Ni JULIE JACQUES Managing Editor
For this month’s As Seen on Zoom, I interviewed Antonio Sgro, a Dawson cinema student. Also known as M!Ni on Spotify, Antonio was very patient with me as I moved from room to room looking for internet connection on a Thursday night. It’s nice to finally talk to you! I had the idea to interview you back in December, so I’m glad you agreed to this. My first question is pretty simple: Is music something you’re trying to pursue full time, or is it more of a side thing? Actually, it’s funny. Music is more of a side thing for me– I just do it with my friend and we do it for fun. Especially now, during the pandemic, music is a lot easier to produce than, for example, movies. My recording studio is just in the corner of my room, but with films I’d have to get actors and stuff, so during a pandemic… but I guess both movies and music are very hard to do as a career, so they’re just hobbies for now. Your stage name– M!Ni. I think it’s so cool! I love how the ‘!’ and lowercase ‘i’ are opposite of each other. How did you come up with it? It’s a long, stupid story, but basically I have three older brothers. We are all involved with this youth center. So, when I started working there, I got called mini, since I’m like the younger version of my brother. Now, all my friends just call me that. At first, it was just ‘mini,’ but I was like, oh what if I change the I to ! like P!NK, that would be cool. And– I’m glad someone noticed! I know it’s such a cliché question, but I have to ask it. What inspired you to start making music, how did you get started?
Photo VIA M!NI
When I was younger, I always used to write songs. But then I ended up really getting into cinema and I always made little movies and stuff. But, again, they’re hard to make. But, when I listened to Jaden Smith’s album, SYRE, there was a whole story to it. It felt like a movie! I remembered thinking that being able to tell a story through an album was so cool… So, I had that idea, and just started making songs. I guess, I’ve always been into writing, and when I found a way to tell stories with music, I realized it was way easier, and a lot more fun. Do you ever get halfway through making a song and end up never finishing it, or never putting it on Spotify? All of the songs I write, I usually put them out. I might have one or two that I haven’t released. Actually, I have one done that I didn’t release, and one that I’m not sure if I’ll make. It does happen that I start writing and don’t continue because I don’t really feel it. OK, last question. Are you one of those artists who will claim that their lyrics come to them in a
dream? Like, you wake up and all of a sudden, a song wrote itself ? *Laughs* I saw Michael Jackson, who is one of my favourite artists, do an interview. And, someone asks him how he writes, and he just says “God.” I was like, what? *laughs* That doesn’t really help me as a writer, but thanks. So, no, I wouldn’t say I get it from the “universe” or whatever. Every time I write a song, I try to make sure there’s a point, or a purpose. I write about mental health, or love, different emotions. If I’m writing and it doesn’t feel like there’s anything coming out of it, I’ll just delete and restart. If it doesn’t mean anything to the person listening to it, what’s the point? Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me! Where can our readers find you, or listen to your music (which I highly recommend they do)? I’m on Spotify and Apple Music as M!Ni, and they can follow me on instagram @n0budget. If they’re looking for recommendations, my favourite song I’ve released at the moment is Tulip V3! p p
VOICES 17 17
Dawson Daze MAYA CHEIKH Contributor
Back when Michael Cohen attended Dawson, not going on campus was a rebellious act only the cool kids dared to pull off. Now — cool or not — shoddy screens, signals, and microphones compose the whole of the celebrated “Dawson experience.” Reduced to robotic monotony, Cohen’s memories might be the breath of fresh air we’ve been searching for. The most effort Mike — as he’s now known — ever made towards academia was in hopes of avoiding it. Plagiarism and a whole lot of absences were how he navigated Dawson. Luckily, administration in the 1980s was far more lenient when it came to cutting class. Mike and his friends, who were all studying social science together, were well aware of that. It’s safe to say that Mike, Mitchell, Steve, Stacy, Randy, and Teddy were educated in class evasion. A crucial aspect of maximizing free time had to do with timing. “Our scheduling was amazing, we did it as a group,” Mike explains. Schedule day at Dawson was the most overwhelming event of the semester. “It’s not like you do it now,” he says. “The fun part about it [was that] we literally
had to go stand in line to sign up for the courses. It was first-come-firstserved. Just imagine rushing to campus,” Mike prompts, “and seeing thousands of people bombarding the place,” all while trying to swim through the clammy, overexcited, and nervous bodies standing in the way of getting the class you reaaallyyy want. “It looked like the entrance of a concert” — standing in line in the brightly lit halls, feeling other people breathe onto you, as you’re trying to speak to your friend over the cacophony filling the air. You look at every table laid out, hoping there’s enough slots left for you and your friends. Sensory overload, to say the least. “Each semester was a bit different,” he remembers, “we crammed our days to get long weekends. A lot of times we had Fridays and Mondays off.” The crew had a weekend tradition: partying up North. When they made sure to get four-day weekends, their friend’s cottage near SainteAgathe was the destination of choice. “There was a pool there,” he says with a sly smirk as a deluge of comingof-age flashbacks flood his thoughts, adding “at night the couples would go skinny dipping, others would go party, smoke… I mean, you can imagine teenagers in those whereabouts.” Yes, Mike, we most definitely can.
His parents weren’t very involved in his academic life, which is most likely why he was able to pull off that much class-cutting. Having immigrated from Israel, they weren’t familiar with the Quebec school system, trusting Mike with his studies. “I didn’t really know what he was doing,” his mom says, as she dusts flour off her hands in the dimly lit kitchen. Funnily enough, Mike avoided going to Dawson so much that he would go to the Vanier campus instead. “I had a lot of friends at Vanier that I used to go visit over there,” he goes on, “Dawson was known as the artsy group and Vanier was more, say, the smarter kids. There was a joke at the time where you went to Dawson, we called it ‘the college of knowledge’ sarcastically.” It’s clear that the reputation didn’t stick for long, as getting accepted into Dawson is now regarded as a big achievement. Being academically acclaimed, students represent it with pride. Mike’s son, Noah, attended up until last semester. Making up for his smaller stature with an ego as abundant as his facial hair, his presence is always felt. He gives a good sense of what walking through the halls feels like, these days. “Bad lighting and blue paint. It’s kind of a big weird maze with escalators. There’s rules too,” he goes on, “you only use the escalators to go up and the stairs to go down, and you always stay on the left side. I hated it when I was trying to go up the escalators and someone was blocking the way.” He was a bit more efficient than his father, especially when it came to what he did in his free time. He would much rather use his hours by working out at the “Econofitness gym in Alexis-Nihon” whereas Mike would go to socialize at Vanier “depending on how much free time [they had].” Mike concluded that from his own experiences he learned “independence. Nobody's there to chase you. You want to make something of your life? Go ahead. You don't? Enjoy.” p p
Photo VIA MONTREALGAZETTE.COM
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Bleeding Blue ALICE MARTIN Contributor
On 15 February 2021, Florian Breault walks down the empty halls of the once lively Dawson College. That day, Florian reluctantly attends in-person classes for the first time. Although he has been a Dawson student for two semesters now, this occasion is only the fourth time Florian steps on school grounds. “When was the last time I got out of my chair to wander in a school corridor?,” he asks himself, heading towards what he thinks is the correct hall, in a college he still isn’t sure he belongs to. On 13 March, Dawson students “celebrated” a year of online school, while many first-year students have yet to experience a single class on campus. Even as Florian walked through the door of room 3B.1, thousands of less-lucky Dawson students were still logging into LEA, 30 seconds before class time. For a college like Dawson, which prides itself on creating community between students, what happens when the campus is deserted? Even if Dawson students have been known, over the years, to be fiercely loyal, to “bleed blue”, this attitude doesn’t appear to be the case for firstyear students.
To them, the one part they’ve looked forward to, the campus, is also the aspect missing from their college experience. Coincidentally, it’s through campus activities that you develop a bond with your college. When asked about what they knew about the Virtual Campus set in place by Campus Life and Leadership, both of them were surprised, at first, that there even was a virtual campus. “As long as you are not forced to talk to people, no one will make the effort. People get used to situations really easily and the more you stay inside the more you isolate yourself,” mentions Chanel. “Going to virtual campus activities means for me to get out of my comfort zone,” says Florian, who describes in-person classes as also taking him out of his “comfort zone”.
We just want to know what you need, and we will be there for you. But who can blame them? Billi Jo Poirier of Campus Life and Leadership agrees, “The big difference [between a physical and a virtual campus] is the connection. Being on a screen all day long, the students may not want to get back on again for extracurricular activities.”
connecting students to each other and the college through various social platforms. But, the real change CLL has been faced with is their level of success. “It has gone down a lot since the pandemic. Before, if we only had ten kids in an activity, we’d be asking ourselves what we did wrong. But online we realized that ten is a great number. It’s not the student’s fault, they’re just not answering the call. We just want to know what you need, and we will be here for you”, says Billi Jo. She also showed great compassion towards students and expressed how sad she feels at the quietness of the school when she works at the Welcome Desk. Being in a physical campus seems critical in order to make that first connection to the college that eventually pushes you to involve yourself. How can you reach out when you don’t really know who you are reaching out to? Maybe closing your last Zoom class is so satisfying that you would never consider reopening it to see what extracurriculars are offered. And, as Florian Breault checked into the Welcome Desk, he might just have crossed Billi Jo, Michelle, or Gianna’s path without ever knowing the crucial roles they play at Dawson. p
Chanel Bach, second-semester student in Arts, Literature and Communications hasn’t attended in-person classes at the college yet. She defends a lack of attachment to the college, “I don’t even know what the school looks like, most of the students in my classes have their cameras off. Basically, what school is, is that you get assignments, you turn them in, and you go on with your life.” She also points out that “it is not Dawson’s fault, it’s the pandemic’s fault.” Florian Breault, also in ALC, feels the same, “You’re not going to Dawson; you’re going to classes. It’s like you’re teleporting.”
Billi Jo Poirier works at the department of Campus Life and Leadership alongside Michelle Lee, both of whom work as Recreational Activities Technicians. They also work closely with Gianna Smith, Administrative Support Agent. “[Campus Life and Leadership’s] mission is to engage with students whether it be through recreational, sociocultural and educational activities and engage them within their own leadership, through volunteering and through the activities that we offer,” says Billi Jo. Over the last year, CLL has been radically changing their whole way of doing things to continue
CREATIVE WRITING 19
It Smells Like Spring The smells are coming back to life. Getting that first whiff of spring—wet, mildewy and cool—always feels like stepping into childhood. Despite all the melting and dirty snowbanks, the birds in the trees seem to sing louder. Beneath the earth plants are getting ready, putting on rouge and green mascara to take center-stage in a month or so. Creation is buzzing to be reborn. Right now is all about feminine potential in everyone, as the whole of the northern hemisphere prepares to flourish out of sleep. Peace and Love,
MAYAN GODMAIRE Creative Writing Editor
Circus MORGANA FOLLMAN Contributor It is with an ancient eye And a tired, heavy heart That my soul saddens, and grows old At the sight of such disturbing And childish threats. It is by the pride and By the lust of money That eagles, lions, dragons, bears, tigers all the other animals Too long locked in zoos —Thirsting for wilderness in their lives— Learn how to play chess And loudly bark behind gates, Too afraid to step out, To feel bloody scratches and bites. They’re going around, and around at each other’s tails, Too coward to go at each other’s throats: But playing a game of whom roars louder. As the Earth quakes. As homes burn, sink, rip, And disappear As they descend into the ground, What will be left of us? No gold, no guns, no reputation Is worth a life. Imagine billions
20 THE PLANT
A Walk in the Plateau OLAVO DE MACEDO COLLINS Contributor The neighborhood in the morning soothes me like a weighted blanket, As my mind wanders along gymnopedie. When the music stops, the birds replace Erik Satie. A spruce tree has gone yellow. Why? Botanical mystery. Passing me, a cat walks by, nonchalant. Then! Tweets from the trees. Ears perked. They didn’t like the last one I brought home. The breeze breathes into my coat, Surreptitiously snuggles my warmth, Finds a spot beneath my zipper, And takes a nap.
Marie's Crush on the Angel Gabriel MAYAN GODMAIRE Creative Writing Editor A vision: gray stone, Sunlight on all six walls. She saw him —E-major 7, mist alight— And she sunk into her flesh like a peach rotting on a branch. The orchard musk rose about her: C-major, full. He set a fever-haze glimmering In her sodalite eyes. And communicated a right hand On her softly swelling belly: Blackberry Marie. When the mist cleared There were bite-marks In the apple of her heart.
SPORTS 21 21
Bruised, Beaming, and Bi Roller derby teaches teens to never give up MIA KENNEDY Sports Editor
I’m not going to explain how to play roller derby; there are YouTube videos for that. To tackle some FAQs: Yes, it’s all on roller skates. No, there isn’t a ball. No, players can’t punch each other in the face – not anymore. In its early days, roller derby was a little different: mid-game fights, theatrical feuds, throwing players off the track. Women playing an aggressive contact sport was enough of a marvel to bring thousands to tournaments. Sports equity for women was new in the 1930s, when roller came to derby. Leo Seltzer was an event promoter hoping to attract larger crowds with an exciting new sport. He organized flat track matches where teams of two, each with one man and one woman, raced on skates. Later, a more structured and daring version of the sport was born: roller derby. Seltzer marketed it as a place where women could experience true equality, although the same couldn’t be said for their salaries. Today, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association sets a new standard for gender equity. In their 2020 Strategic plan, the WFTDA ensures
that women-identifying and gender expansive communities lead leagues. To create an inclusive training environment, the Association invites teams to develop policies on pronoun usage, dead names, and accountability. Despite the Association’s dedication to inclusivity, white players heavily outnumber those of colour. Since teams mainly recruit from white communities, major leagues have very few minority skaters. The River City Roller Girls from Washington, USA were the first WFTDA all Star team to have enough minority members to have a full “pack on the track” that wasn’t white. But while American and Canadian leagues have a long way to go, many players find support in their roller derby leagues. Chanel Bach, a first-year in Arts and Culture and the friend who convinced me to play roller derby, is very attached to her team. The sense of community attracted her to Rhythm and Bruise, the Junior League. “It’s such an inclusive space where everyone immediately feels welcome no matter what your identity or your sexuality is. Being around so many empowering women and non-binary people was amazing. It was a great environment for a bi teen who had just moved from one country to
another and was trying to find herself.” After a move from New Jersey to Montreal, Chanel was looking for a sense of belonging. She found it in roller derby’s team spirit and community values.
It teaches you how to be brave, to not give up, to stay focused. You don’t stop until the whistle blows. Growing up queer isn’t easy. Data compiled by the American Psychiatric Association shows that LGBT+ youth are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses, making safe spaces for them even more important. The roller derby community acts as a refuge, offering young, queer people a place to engage with proudly queer role models and fully be themselves. Chanel thinks the practices also teach kids lessons that will last a lifetime. “Roller derby is not only a physical effort; it’s also very mental. You get taught from day one to automatically get back up when you fall. It teaches you how to be brave, to not give up, to stay focused. You don’t stop until the whistle blows.” Before the pandemic, Arena StLouis would be bustling with bodies every Saturday. Now, I haven’t seen my teammates in a year. Although Chanel and I can still skate in our neighbourhoods over the summer, nothing compares to pushing, tripping and body-slamming our friends. p
Photo by CHARLOTTE LACOURSIÈRE
22 THE PLANT
Are the Montreal Canadiens Cursed by the Retro Jerseys? Superstitious fans try to save Habs with the team’s identity”, Jackson says. Ryan believes the players are just as displeased by the uniform change. “Seeing as athletes are even more superstitious than fans, the notion of a curse among the team could actually end up affecting their play.”
Photo VIA @CANADIENSMTL/INSTAGRAM LAUREN DYM
For more than a month now, Montreal’s beloved Canadiens have felt the wrath of the retro jersey. A plight so catastrophic that they haven’t recorded a single win wearing the navy sweaters. The Habs started the season strong, dominating the leaderboard in high-scoring games, but the team’s gameplay took a turn on Thursday, February 4, when the Canadiens debuted the retro jersey resembling the Maple Leafs signature blue. Since then, every time the team wears the jersey, it results win a loss. Superstitious behaviour in sports is a big part of fan culture. Most superfans believe that a team’s wins and losses can be attributed to superstitions and rituals. Michael, a second-year International Business Studies student, has always believed in sports rituals. He follows the classic “no shaving during the playoffs” and, if the Habs are playing well during a season game, he won’t switch seats. This is common behaviour for die-hard fans, just like wearing the same clothes you wore when the team won last.
Second-year Cinema and Communications student, Jackson, follows similar hockey rituals. Jackson says he’s always been superstitious when it comes to the Habs, but leaves rituals like eating the same meals at every game for “crazier fans”. Ryan, a second-year Commerce student, takes his superstitions very seriously. “If someone new enters the room and the Habs get scored on, that person has to leave and isn’t allowed back.” Fans will do anything to help their team win, even if it’s temporary banishment.
The Habs have always donned the red jersey. The retro ones are tampering with the team’s identity. If you’ve been watching the Canadiens lately, you probably noticed that the Habs haven’t won a single game wearing the retro jerseys, yet they keep reappearing. Michael, Jackson and Ryan are all on the same page about this problem; they want the red jerseys back full time. “The Habs have always donned the red jersey. The retro ones are tampering
“It is only right to assume the jerseys are cursed,” says Michael, but he thinks there’s more to the story. Only winning two of their last ten games, the Canadiens face problems on and off the ice. A change in leadership was imperative for the team. With the recent firing of coach Claude Julien, Michael is hopeful the Canadiens will come back stronger. Eager for the classic red jerseys to return and pleased with the addition of a new coach, Dominique Ducharme, Michael, Jackson, and Ryan are optimistic the team will find their groove once again. Editor’s Note: The curse has been lifted! The Habs are still wearing the blue jerseys and I still think they’re ugly, but the losing streak came to an end on March 20th when les Canadiens beat the Canucks. They might not be cursed, but I’d be happier if the Habs donned their usual red gear and left the retro jerseys in the past, where they belong. ~ Mia Kennedy, Sports Editor p
SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 23
The Future of Fashion with Sustainability MAIJA BARONI
season, despite only having been worn once or twice.
Fashion is a visual representation of the way we want to present ourselves to the world, making it a personal means of self-expression. In other words, fashion is vital to our daily lives, our culture, and essentially, our identity. With that in mind, it’s no wonder fashion is one of the largest creative industries in the world.
These life-long social pressures to stay trendy and achieve our #stylegoals persuade us into routinely buying clothes that we don’t want or need, especially when those clothes don’t take too much of a toll on our bank account.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most polluting. According to The World Economic Forum, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of humanity’s total carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply. To put that into perspective, the site notes fashion’s carbon emissions surpass those of all international flights and maritime shipping...combined. Though there are environmental issues with nearly every step of manufacturing a garment, right as of its initial design down to its transportation into your closet, the genesis of this eco-problem seems to be fast fashion.
Besides brands working towards more sustainable practices, people are starting to incorporate sustainability into their individual shopping habits. The beauty of fashion is its versatility, given how emerging runway trends are ever-changing and society-shaping. But the resulting culture of keeping up with these fleeting fads promotes a nasty habit of overconsumption, leading us to buy entirely new wardrobes at the start of every season. A pretty penny and full donation bin of discarded clothing later, our new outfits are already considered ‘out’ by the end of the same
Besides, what’s the harm of buying eight new tank tops if each one only costs ten dollars? And they come with free shipping? Well, the harm is severe, since they ultimately come at an environmental cost. The low price points of fast fashion pieces, layered with the impulse to keep up with shifting styles, has led to clothing production having roughly doubled since 2000, according to The World Economic Forum. Not to mention, people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000, but only kept them for half as long. We justify constantly getting rid of all our garments by thinking they’ll go to thrift stores or charities and be given a second life, but the brutal reality is much less optimistic. Alas, the large majority of clothes end up dumped in a landfill or burned. The end. But there’s light at the end of this depressing tunnel: The true trend sweeping the fashion industry isn’t cropped sweater vests or the color brown, but the rapid rise of sustainable fashion and upcycling. The online spread of information exposing the negative impacts of fast fashion has elicited a collective desire among young consumers to shop more sustainably. As a response, top clothing brands are starting to implement changes into their production and choice of textiles. That might be great news, but a more exciting outcome of this eco-friendly fashion phenomenon
is ethical brands. For example, Reformation (with their slogan “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2”) uses vintage garments and sustainable fabrics to lower their amount of waste. While also posting yearly sustainability reports on their website and paying 100% of their employees living wages, they are an attractive option for those seeking to leave less of a carbon footprint with their style. Another way these brands are taking steps toward combatting fast fashion is by designing with classic silhouettes and styles that will stay in fashion, and in your closet, for years, rather than profiting on short-lived trends. Consequently, their clothing might be significantly more pricey than fast fashion alternatives, but the quality garments have more longevity and are less likely to be thrown out. Besides brands working towards more sustainable practices, people are starting to incorporate sustainability into their individual shopping habits. Local and online thrift stores like ThredUP or Depop are increasing in popularity, with many online influencers posting ‘thrift hauls’ or selling items from their closet on these platforms. Some even alter thrifted pieces according to current fashion trends, making repurposed clothes that much more alluring. Buying secondhand has therefore never been easier, and never been more chic. Overall, the fashion industry seems to be moving towards a more sustainable path. By rejecting fast fashion and brief trends, ordinary people are finding new ways to style old garments. Or, by adding their own touches and upcycling, they have the freedom to make their outfits funky and that much more personal. And after all, isn’t that what fashion is all about? p p
24 THE PLANT
SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
I’m Not Lovin’ It: Opting Out of the Single-Use Cycle LILY MASSÉ
Contributor Overflowing with red Tim Hortons cups and green Starbucks straws, crammed full of plastic Coke bottles and McDonald’s lids: a typical public garbage bin in Montreal. They seem to have become part of our city’s urban landscape. These leaking bins that swarm with wasps in the summer are definitely an eyesore, but the problem is far bigger than that. In 2019, Greenpeace announced the five biggest plastic polluters in Canada: Nestlé, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, McDonald’s and CocaCola. All of these companies make huge claims about their sustainability. Nestlé says, “we aim for 100% of our packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2025.” Starbucks notes that they are “committed to significantly reducing the waste [their] stores generate – especially when it comes to recycling.” But the fact remains that they are massive plastic polluters. Close to home, the problem is that Dawson’s location gives students direct access to these franchises in the Alexis Nihon mall and even inside the College. “We’re easily influenced in buying the products from these harmful companies,” say Elizabeth Zara and Camelia Barkou, on behalf of the motivated team at the Green Earth Club. It is incredibly easy for students, they believe, to support these franchises without even thinking twice. It can be so tempting to grab a hot cup of Timmie’s coffee on your way to class on a chilly February morning. But is it really worth it? “I would encourage students to do some research before purchasing from huge polluting companies,” says Sarah Bensemana, the passionate Dawson Student Union Director of Sustainability. In a recent survey that
I conducted, 50 Dawson students were asked how often they purchase from these five companies every week. The result is an average of 1.58 times. It may not seem like much, but it’s a total of 79 plastic products in only seven days. That’s at least one full Saint-Catherine garbage can. Greenpeace notes that 86% of plastic waste in Canada actually gets recycled, meaning nearly 68 of the products purchased by the surveyed students go straight to the dump.
Consider making your own snacks and drinks to avoid mindlessly tossing your McDonald’s cup into one of Atwater’s fly-infested bins. Statistics about plastic pollution are overwhelming and give the impression that stopping it is a lost cause. But while fighting for causes like this one may seem discouraging, it is less difficult than it seems. “You don’t have to be a social justice warrior”, says the Green Earth Club. Simple actions in our day-to-day lives can make a difference. In fact, students at Dawson demanded that the school’s Tim Horton’s stop distributing cardboard sleeves with their drinks. “It attests to the willingness of students to try and change all that they can to better the environment,” says Bensemana. “Students can make a change if they try.” Being aware of your spending is the first step. “The money that they [students] spend for the benefit of these companies is money that they could spend on themselves or at a grocer and to make home cooked meals,” says the Green Earth Club. They suggest you trade your five-minute Starbucks run for five minutes in your kitchen or at the grocery store. Websites like All Recipes
and Eat This, Not That! have some great recipe alternatives to your favourite drinks and snacks, with simple ingredients and very little prep time. Don’t feel like getting cheffy? Small businesses are the way to go. “Shopping locally is not only good for our community, but these restaurants also have much less of an effect on our environment,” says Bensemana. She explains that most of the local shops do not import their food instead it is produced nearby, making your purchase more sustainable and more ethical. There are sustainably-sourced and family-run businesses around every corner! So next time you feel for a snack, take a stroll down Greene Avenue and grab some sushi from Ryù or a pastry from Forno West. “It has always felt so much more authentic when it’s from a small local restaurant, or the Italian bakery right around the corner,” says the Green Earth Club. Some other terrific options are Bagels on Greene, Avenue G, Brioche Dorée or Gentile. Bensemana also revealed some exciting news that could provide the perfect option for Dawson students. “The DSU is currently in the preliminary works for opening a sustainable café near Dawson,” she says. The café would be ethical, sustainable, and accessible to college students, making it the ultimate win-win situation. So what can you do to help? Start by being conscious of your actions and their impact. Consider making your own snacks and drinks to avoid mindlessly tossing your McDonald’s cup into one of Atwater’s fly-infested bins. Keep an eye out for news about the Dawson café, but in the meantime, go out and explore the local businesses to discover your new favourite springtime drink. p p
CURIOSITIES 25 25
QUIZ: ANSWER 12 OUT OF 15 OF THESE GENERAL KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONS CORRECTLY TO PROVE THAT YOU’RE A GENIUS
1. The blue whale 2 .France 3. Leonardo Da Vinci 4. Four 5. Taylor Swift 6. 118 7. Gunther 8. Red 9. The Bible 10. Mike Myers 11. Denmark 12. Mediterranean sea 13. New Zealand 14. Hockey 15. TikTok
1. What is the world’s largest animal? 2. Which country is Brie cheese from? 3. Who painted the Mona Lisa? 4. How many valves does the heart have? 5. Who won Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammys? 6. How many elements are there in the periodic table? 7. Othen than the six main characters in “Friends,” which character appears in the show the most? 8. What colour is found on 75% of the world’s flags? 9. What is the best selling book of all time? 10. Who is the voice of Shrek? 11. Hamlet was the Prince of which country? 12. Europe is separated from Africa by which sea? 13. Which country was the first to give women the right to vote, in 1893? 14. The Pittsburgh Penguins play which sport? 15. What was the most downloaded app of 2020?
26 THE PLANT
HOROSCOPES March break finally arrived! Congratulations everyone on getting through these past six weeks. I think most of us can agree that life has not gotten any more exciting since March of last year. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge how much you have grown since then. BIRTHDAY: If you were born March 25th, happy happy happy birthday! Also, if you were born September 24th, happy happy happy half birthday! ARIES (mar. 20 - apr. 18): Nothing is too good for you! This month remember that you deserve all the good things in life. Many more are coming your way. TAURUS (apr. 19 - may 20): Positivity and open mindedness is key this month. Try something new like reading a book or going for a walk. You never know how much that might bring you joy during the day. GEMINI (may 21 - june 20): Hey Geminis! You’re looking extra cute this month. Your hard work is finally paying off so don’t forget to celebrate that. CANCER (june 21 - july 22): While you do not have control over everything, you do have complete control over yourself. Make inner peace a goal this month, Cancers.
LIBRA (sept.23 - oct. 22): Focus on self love; sleep an extra couple of minutes or enjoy that midday snack. This month, continue to grow into the type of person you want to meet. SCORPIO (oct. 23 - nov. 21): Certain people have been getting to you recently, huh Scorpios? This month, focus on surrounding yourself with activities and people that are good for your mental health. SAGITTARIUS (nov. 22 - dec. 21) : Whatever has been on your mind this month Sagittarians, I can guarantee you it will pass. Keep in mind that this pain is not permanent. CAPRICORN (dec.22 - jan. 19): Something great is coming soon! You have been stuck in a go, go, go mentality recently and it shows. Your goals are so close. AQUARIUS (jan. 20 - feb. 18): Challenging yourself might seem scary at first. Remember this month that all good things take time- you will get there eventually. PISCES (feb. 19 - mar. 19) : Take that well deserved break sometime soon, Pisces. You will thank yourself later.
LEO (july 23 - aug. 22): You’re longing to get away and I completely understand. Maybe try redecorating your room or cleaning out your closet. A tiny change can make all the difference. VIRGO (aug. 23 - sept. 22): Relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and get working, Virgos. This month may be stressful workwise, but as long as you keep peace in mind, it can all get done.
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The Plant's March Issue