28 March 2006

Arctic Contamination.

First off, I want to send my sister a huge congratulations for her acceptance into Oxford university! Rena, you make me proud to be your sister. More importantly, you've dispelled some of the rumours about 'Surrey girls', and for that feat, you deserve a medal. She/we are stil waiting to hear back from Cambridge before she makes any decisions. I will update you on this issue as it develops.

Right. Well, the past few weeks sans paid work have been a lovely respite. I beat Super Mario Bros. 2 for NES, which was a labour of love. Those 20 hours were well spent. I also squeaked out a bit of work and got several assignments. For some wacky reason, my grades this term have been rather good despite the lack of energy/planning that has gone into them. Sweet.

I have an essay due next week on any topic relating to Canadian Aboriginals and the Environment. I've chosen to focus on the impact of Environmental Contaminants on the health of the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. I actually wanted to write about the implications of Climate Change on the traditional lifestyles of the Inuit, but given the nature of C.C., there is very little empirical material to work with. I guess I sort of took the 'easier' route, but when faced with a 20 page essay and less than a week to do it, wouldn't you?

Anyway, I think what's particularly interesting about the impacts of Environmental Contaminants on the Inuit (and perhaps I'm alone on this) is that these toxic pollutants which have accumulated are *not* in any way the product of careless behaviour of the Indigenous communities who inhabit these Northern areas. They are almost exclusively created in areas of temperate and tropical climates and are transported long-distance via air currents.

In simple terms, these pollutants are generated by people who are fortunate to reap the benefits of the activities that produce these toxins (industrial activity) with the majority of the environmental consequences affecting people 5,000 kms away. This is just another example of how Indigenous people/people of colour are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. When I was in New Zealand, I read an interesting study about how the most disadvantaged people in a society tend to suffer the highest health impacts stemming from environmnetal issues, as they are often marginialized onto undesirable and thus cheap lands, which are often near landfills, heavy industry etc. I had never really considered this until then, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about these findings since. It's yet another example of how pervasive systemic discrimination is in the Western world....

14 March 2006

Les choses

Voyons donc. Another slew of assignments complete and my Research Project has thankfully come to an end. The L.A. are also on another one of their infamous breaks so I now find myself with more free time than I know what do to with. My goal in the next few weeks is to actually get ahead on upcoming assignments, like normal people usually do. Perhaps my most self-aggravating trait is that I am by all accounts, a last-minute, down-to-the-wire kind of person when it comes to completing tasks which is not only stressful for me, but those in proximity. But to give credit where credit is do, I have not had to pull a single-all or excessively late-nighter this year and my grades aren't terrible (by my standards).

Only a few more weeks left of this term. Sadly, I must do another course in the May/June semester as I ended up dropping a course earlier this year due to my head nearing explosion from stress. My contract at work goes until the same time though, so it works out well. The only problem is the lease on our apartment is up at the end of May, so I have to figure out where to live for June. Any suggestions? Should be warm enough just to join the thousands of homeless people in Toronto and sleep on the street.

But for you B.C. people, I am planning to return around the end of June to disturb your normal routines. As you all know just how much I love Surrey, I'm going to be counting on you to keep my sanity!

03 March 2006

London, Ontario

Last weekend, I accompanied Edward to London to visit some of his lovely extended family. Now, I was a wee bit hesitant to agree to go, not because I thought his relatives would be anything less than welcoming, but rather because I have a lot of school/project wrap-up work to tackle. But as soon as we arrived, all these thoughts fled from my head. Everyone was so enthusiastic and friendly, despite the bad weather and prevalence of winter-related aliments. Edd's second cousins, Sam and Matthew provided plenty of entertainment when we stayed at their lovely country home (yes, it's their house rather than their parents). We also went tubing at a nearby hill which was a lot of fun. I really miss interacting with the 'natural' environment; being constantly surrounded by so many human-made structures downtown and so little greenery is starting to really get to me, thus I was thrilled to escape it for a brief 2 days.

Anyway, here is Matthew lounging in a toy chest:

And Sam modeling his ultra-cool car:

Anyway, it's now the following weekend, and Leonard is here visiting so I am going to stop ignoring him now.