Calendar of Events in KW

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Center for Responsible Citizenship

If you are a SJUer who's itching to get involved in extracurricular activities and or get invovled within the community, check out this website: .

There are numerous ways to get involved, regardless of your year at UofW. Here are just a few ways you can stay active outside of the classroom:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Bare: A Pop Opera"'s Fundraiser for Local KW Charities

Who: "Bare: A Pop Opera" musical

What: They'll be selling 'Rheo Thompson Mint Smoothie Chocolates ' for $3 each and collecting donations to go towards local charities in Kitchener-Waterloo

When: 11am- 5pm every day this week!

Where: SJU Academic Building

Why: They're a great idea for stocking stuffers and the money raised will help our community!

(Information provided by Amanda the Student Life Coordinator at SJU)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Scarf of Many Meanings

At the end of November the BB Alumni are helping host a fundraising event for the current BB students which will hopefully include potential corporate sponsors. As part of the program, we will be auctioning off items that we brought back from our placements. Although my item is a modest, pashmina scarf, the story behind it is what truly matters the most to me. I hope that the person purchasing the scarf will be able to appreciate the memory and life-changing experience that the item represents. The following will be featured on the back of my favourite Sarajevo post card, and will hopefully be placed near the item during the auction:

The Scarf of Many Meanings

On my last day in Bosnia, I saw things in a whole new light. I had the opportunity to relive a day in Sarajevo- Bosnia Herzegovina’s capital city- and finally experience all the little things I missed the first time around. I.e., I started to notice the countless painted rose petals on the pavement honouring those killed during the war of the 90s, I got to visit the different religious buildings that represented hope for unity and acceptance among diverse ethnicities in Bosnia Herzegovina. Watching the elderly strategically make their move using chess pieces on a human-sized board while finally seeing inside the soul of someone I shared the majority of three months with but never really knowing as a person was remarkable. There in the heart of Sarajevo, while taking in its diverse food, culture, language and markets I was finally able to ‘just be’.

This scarf represents a moment in time. It represents my final day in a country that welcomed and accepted me. It represents a country that was torn apart and is still trying to recover. It represents hope. It represents an experience that truly changed me as a person, making me want a more fulfilled life where capitalistic greed is replaced by true happiness found through love, family cohesion, and continuously become a better and active global citizen through ongoing involvement in local and international organizations and research focused on issues such as poverty, peace and conflict, immigration, sustainable livelihoods, child labour, unjust imprisonment, and environmentally sound initiatives.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

International Day of Climate Action - Sat. Oct 24

(Please NOTE: this information was provided to me by EWB):

UW Climate Action Project Presents: International Day of Climate Action - Waterloo ( ) 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Saturday October 24th

A non-partisan gathering of students and community members to demand greater government action on climate change.

Speeches by climate activists and experts, musical performances, and an opportunity for members of the public to put forward their ideas about how Canada can deal with the climate change crisis.

To finish, a march around Uptown Waterloo including a stop in front of the office of the local Member of Parliament, Peter Braid.

[ For more information, see and ]

Where: In front of the Clay and Glass Gallery (at Erb and Caroline) in Uptown Waterloo.Rain

location: First United Church at King and William (just down the street)

"Earth Democracy"- Vandana Shiva's Lecture

Today I went to a PHENOMENAL guest speaker. Dr. Vandermeer Perfecto, a former Alternative Nobel Prize winner, international ecologist, activist, and Western Graduate spoke about "Earth Democracy". She touched on a variety of issues.

She argued that a free market democracy means freedom for organizations not freedom of the people, and that the cost of farming has increased substantially but the income of those farmers in countries such as India has not. Companies such as Monsanto have taken the incomes from these farmers. She even sued the company for not going through regular bylaws and stopped them for four years in India. Monsanto is a monopoly that is putting many farmers indebt, and who’s products are negatively affecting the health of people, animals and the environment.

She also talked about the pesticide problem in India. This is the second time a speaker has brought up this point. Pants to Poverty also voiced their concern about pesticide use in places such as India. As well, FLOW, a movie I watched during a general EWB meeting on Tuesday, also touched upon this subject. Apparently, pesticides have caused male fish to switch genders, can demasculate a human, and could be the cause of pancreatic and breast cancer. In India, many people are dying from either cancer or suicide due to pesticides. The following is an article about the increase of cancer found in people who live in cotton farms in Punjab:

Suicide rates have also substantially increased since international organizations have invaded LDC and caused their farmers to become more in debt. (Companies like Pants to Poverty are trying to decrease these statistics by eliminating the middle men and allowing locals to be empowered and gain more profit than regularly offered.) Seed diversity is being distinguished in a mere season. Modified seeds, which need to be bought seasonally are replacing them, causing monetary issues for farmers. Apparently, cotton is becoming cheaper to buy but is becoming more costly to produce, which is also causing an increase in debt and suicide rates. Maharashtra is one place that is finding this issue a reality:

Dr. Shiva states that this is becoming the era of global genocide with a decrease in democracy, famine and water supplies, and debt increasing in LDC. She states that India is becoming an area of hunger. While some in India are facing hunger others are facing obesity, and subsequently diabetes, due to malnutrition. As well, companies such as Coke are also going into LDC and drying up the essential water supplies of the indigenous people. (Shiva helped women close a Coke location in India; a huge success for them.)

She touches upon the issue of agriculture using up water and how purchasing and supporting ecological (organic) and local foods instead of regular food will help decrease emissions. She also emphasizes the importance of completing the carbon cycle and focusing on increasing living carbon (used by organisms via photosynthesis) that can help our earth instead of dead carbon.

Once again highlighting problems in Monsanto products, Dr. Shiva brought up the rBGH, which is explained in this website:
To summarize the article, the company made injections for farmers to use which tortured cows in order to get them to produce more milk. The cows became sick and people drinking the milk could potentially get cancer. In reaction to consumer concerns, some producers stopped using rBGH and started to produce labels on their milks saying "rBGH free" but Monsanto pushed to try and continue to sell their product. Bills are being passed to illegalize companies from putting labels on their products that will discredit or negatively effect the rBGH's reputation. Personally, this makes me sick!

Moreover, Dr. Shiva states that there is becoming a dictatorship in regard to the economy. She states that globalization is a crime against humanity. People are too greedy! Rich countries, like ours, are trying to dismantle Kyoto. Destruction of livelihoods is not being addressed. Instead the solution seems to be an increase in the exploitation of people, food and natural resources. There needs to be a change in people's consciousness. People need to remember that the fight for freedom and social activism comes from the bottom. People need to remember that "we are earth's community"/ "we are the citizens of the earth". We need to think globally and act locally, taking small steps. We need to stop thinking that we are 'just consumers'. We need to focus on increasing the freedom of the farmers to grow what they want, meaning that monopolizing needs to stop and power needs to be given back to the farmers. Moreover, by sharing seeds and creating open dialect and educating one another, we can positively repel against seed monopolies and patents.

Here are some additional materials she has either recommended or produced:

New Interactionalist:
Mutual Learning as an Agenda for Social Development:
Life Running Out of Control- Movie
Crimes Against the Future
Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops - Doug Gurian-Sherman:

Earth Democracy - Vandana Shiva
Breakfast of Biodiversity- Vandana Shiva
Manifestos on the Future of Food & Seed- Vandana Shiva
Soil Not Oil- Vandana Shiva

Here's some addition information on the lecture, which was sent out by those responsible for The UW Hagey Lecture Series:

"The UW Hagey Lecture Serieswith the support of Alternatives Journal and WPIRG presents the 2009 Hagey LectureVandana Shiva: Earth Democracy

LECTURE: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 at 8 p.m.

Humanities Theatre, J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities, U Waterloo
Free lecture, no ticket required

COLLOQUIUM Soil Not Oil: Food Security in Times of Climate Change
9:30am, Thursday, Oct. 22,
Shiva will address a student colloquium.
Environment 1 building, room 221.

WPIRG and Alternatives will be present to offer students opportunities to become involved in local initiatives that Vandana Shiva brings to the fore in her lecture and colloquium.

Award-winning ecologist Vandana Shiva will propose a new form of democracy to counter financial, social and climate meltdowns in her talk: "Earth Democracy: Beyond Dead Democracy and Killing Economies"

Shiva will discuss her views on why democracy is under siege, yielding to both corporate dictatorship and violent extremism from excluded elements of society. "The triple crisis," she says, "needs a new imagination that transforms the dominant economic systems, political systems and socio-cultural systems into living systems that serve the planet and people. I call this re-imagining of society 'Earth Democracy'."

In India, Shiva established Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity, conservation and farmers' rights. Navdanya means the nine crops that represent India's collective source of food security. She also launched a school for sustainability on the Navdanya Biodiversity Farm in north India.

As well, Shiva is the founding director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a network of researchers specializing in ecology, health and sustainability. She serves on the boards of the International Forum on Globalization and the World Future Council. She is the vice-president of a global movement called Slow Food International.

Shiva, who completed her PhD at the University of Western Ontario in 1978, is a physicist and philosopher of science, as well as an ecologist, activist, editor and author of many books. Her most recent books are Earth Democracy and Water Wars.

Shiva was a recipient of the 1993 Right Livelihood Award - considered the Alternative Nobel Prize. The award recognizes "vision and work contributing to making life more whole, healing the planet and uplifting humanity."

Hagey lecturers have distinguished themselves in some scholarly or creative field and their work cuts across traditional disciplines and national boundaries. Previous lecturers have included Nobel laureates in various disciplines, internationally renowned scholars, architects, peace activists, and well-known artists."