Latest posts in Notes from the Panther Lounge

Cycling in Toronto: A personal reflection

July 21, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Cycling in Toronto: A personal reflection

By Gideon Forman

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.

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Stand with Grassy Narrows, one of Canada's most toxic sites

July 4, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Stand with Grassy Narrows, one of Canada's most toxic sites

Participants of the River Run rally 2016 called on the Ontario government to clean up the mercury spilled in Grassy Narrows.

By Faisal Moola

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.

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New revenue tools could make Toronto safer, healthier

June 27, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: New revenue tools could make Toronto safer, healthier

(Credit: Matt Jiggins via Flickr)

By Gideon Forman and Scott Leon

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.

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When is wildlife no longer wild?

June 15, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: When is wildlife no longer wild?

(Credit: Nathanael Coyne via Flickr)

By Rachel Plotkin, Ontario Science Projects Manager

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.

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MOSAIC elders express their love for nature

June 2, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: MOSAIC elders express their love for nature

MOSAIC elder Chen Li and elders’ love letters to nature.

By Winnie Hwo, senior public engagement specialist

我愛您, 大自然

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.

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