Latest posts in Notes from the Panther Lounge
I'm mostly a walker and runner, not a bicycle rider, but I find myself drawn to cycling nevertheless. Why is that?
I like what it does to Toronto, my city, and appreciate the cyclist's physical presence. The steady pumping of thighs as the rider progresses up Beverley Street, up St. George, at human speed, human scale.Continue reading »
In 1962, a Dryden, Ontario pulp and paper mill began dumping untreated mercury waste into the Wabigoon River, upstream from several First Nations communities, including Grassy Narrows, home to the Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek people. Until 1970, more than 9,000 kilograms of mercury poured into the watershed. Mercury contamination has devastated the local environment and community members' health to this day.Continue reading »
This week City Manager Peter Wallace will release a report outlining potential new "revenue tools" that Toronto can use to pay for vital services such as public housing and transit. Among the most promising are a tax on alcoholic beverages and a levy on commercial parking lots. Detractors may attack these tools as cash-grabs, but before they dismiss them they should recognize these new measures could further a goal all of us support: making Toronto safer and healthier.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says a five per cent tax on alcohol sold at outlets such as the LCBO and the Beer Store could generate about $77 million annually. A levy paid by the owners of commercial — not residential — parking spaces would add at least $175 million a year. Combined, these initiatives would provide Toronto with over a quarter-billion dollars each budget cycle to fix community housing and help finance TTC operations.Continue reading »
I became an environmental activist while working as a summer student at a zoo. As an animal lover, it seemed like a perfect job, and I felt lucky to get it. But I quit midway through my fourth summer, unable to stomach the despair and boredom that greeted me from behind the cage bars every day.
My zoo experiences led me to my first job at an environmental organization, Zoocheck, and onto my current work of over 15 years — advocating for wildlife habitat protection. I've pushed science-based protection measures for all sorts of species — from snapping turtles to right whales to monarch butterflies — but a big focus of my work has been boreal woodland caribou.Continue reading »
I love my work as a public engagement specialist at the David Suzuki Foundation. That is especially true during May, because I get to meet people like Li Chen, who joined the David Suzuki Foundation's 30×30 Nature Challenge and wrote one of the most heart-warming love letters to nature I have come across. The love Chen feels from nature is similar to the love she felt from her own mother.
"Nature, your warm sunshine, clean air and water nurture us like a mother's milk. You help us grow, generation after generation, to become healthy and strong. Your jade-green forests and five-coloured flowers and grass dress up our environment in four corners. You energize us every day and give us strength to live life to the ten-full (fullest). Nature, we deeply love you, we want to get close to you and protect you. Thank you for giving us everything," Chen wrote.Continue reading »