My father, Robert Hunter, had coined the term "mind bomb" as an expression that our greatest tool for revolution was our own consciousness. He believed that mass media (early broadcast media at the time) could help spark that consciousness shift and a societal shift by changing the story of our times. The reality is the tides are turning. Despite the stories of impossibility in the fight against climate change, there are some new stories being written of possibility. It will still take many more of us -- millions and billions of us -- to continue to share these news stories and to create the "mind bomb" moments.
One year later, what has #BringBackOurGirls accomplished? It didn't bring the girls home. Second-hand reports suggest that 57 of the girls escaped their captors, but the rest are still out there, likely sold off as child brides (or sex slaves). Recently, a UN official said there's evidence they may be dead. It's a sad illustration of the limitations of "clicktivism" -- the use of online media to advance causes. There must be a plan to engage supporters once they've clicked, and keep them engaged, even after the hashtag stops trending.
The celebrants on April 20 don't necessarily know the history of how cannabis came to be illegal, but they do know cannabis is less harmful to users than all other illicit drugs and considerably less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. They know that the greatest threat from cannabis lies in its continued illegality by policy makers who wish the evidence would just go away.
On March 11, 2015, Toronto City Council finally approved funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and 2-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth transitional housing. Although I am extremely disappointed that LGBTQ2S youth homelessness has been inadequately addressed for so many years, I am grateful that there is more understanding and awareness of this social justice crisis. I am also grateful that more organizations are now committed to developing campaigns and programs for LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.
When I met Joe Opatowski I was looking for a hero. My father had just died from cancer. I was 12-years-old and had read Craig Kielburger's book "Free the Children" and I suppose at the time, given my disposition with regards to my father's illness, I had grandiose questions and was looking for a hero.
My team and I will go down to L.A. and make a movie about our campaign to put a stop to the movie industry which is destroying so many lives. We will be armed with pomposity, judgement, condescension and constant looks of horror on our faces. We will also be armed with important environmental technology that I invented, such as a smart car of dog sleds (my lap dog attached to a child sled) and a carbon capture mask for joggers so that they don't have to contribute to global warming with their excess carbon emissions.
It is not too late to exercise your democratic rights and voice your opinions. I may not be old enough to vote in the polls yet, but I am definitely old enough to vote at the cash register. I have also had the honour and privilege to speak with thousands and thousands of people across Canada about GMOs, and it's pretty clear.
The topic of genetically engineered crops is not new. They were first introduced into Canada 15 years ago, with four crops -- canola, corn, soy and sugar beets -- which now dominate the food industry. Today it's estimated that more than 70 per cent of the products you purchase at your local grocery store contain genetically modified ingredients.
Palestinian solidarity activists are using Zionism isn't Judaism on social media to say that Jews aren't the problem, the Zionist state of Israel is the problem, but will this tactic work? Despite good intentions, the answer is no. One problem with Zionism isn't Judaism is that its primary assertion is inaccurate.
As an evolved species, we can do better than repeating the same patterns of discrimination that feed into a looping and segregating cycle. Let's lay out all issues on the table, educate, and not stamp prejudice onto those who suffer greatly for various other reasons because they fit in with the white/ straight/ rich categories.
When the shirtless jogger encountered Rob Ford at the Canada Day parade he took the opportunity to do something the media had been forbidden to do the day before: He asked the mayor questions. Like it or not, our elected leaders should expect to be asked hard questions -- and they should be ready to answer those questions, because in a democracy, we expect accountability. And we should be relieved that teachers like Mr. Killoran are demonstrating the courage it takes to stand up and hold politicians accountable.
Does digital activism against MacLean, Cooke, and Sterling provide real tools to force change? Or, is it merely a technologically-enabled show of customer-generated publicity that is either entirely self-serving or destined to be co-opted by the very sports-entertainment businesses against which its putative anger is aimed? I say the plusses win out.
Dear Tom McLaughlin And Joshua Sealy-Harrington: We need to talk about your recent article in the Globe and Mail about being "silenced" based on gender. First of all, let's get a few things straight here: You are not being silenced. Yes, sometimes your opinions will be discounted because of your identity -- because you know what? In the context of social justice, lived experience trumps everything else every time.
Last year the Canadian health care system managed to save $400 million. Sounds great, right? Now what if we told you that Canada did it by poaching trained doctors from the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world? To prosper, Africa must keep her brilliant children home. And developed nations like Canada have a role to play here, too. For a start, we must address the issues in our own health care system that requires us to draw so many health professionals from developing countries where they are needed more.
Recently I had an awesome opportunity to go to Australia and speak about GMOs for the Uplift Festival. After our 23-hour flight, it finally hit me. We're really here. My life may be changed forever. It was so refreshing to be around other like-minded youth who believe you are never too young to change the world!
Strikes, picket lines and other forms of protest that require significant labour resources are ineffective against corporations that can use automation or outsourcing as significant bargaining chips. If this is the case, how are activists meant to effect real change? One way is in the corporate boardroom.
Living in poverty is not just an economic and political issue, but fundamentally an issue of human health. Income is the strongest determinant of health. How much you make is more important than what you eat, how much you exercise, or even your genetic make-up. A recent series of articles in the Ontario Medical Review highlights the fact that poverty is a medical problem, and healthcare providers are seeing the impacts on the front lines. We know that people on social assistance have a suicide rate 18 times higher than those in the highest income bracket. Something needs to be done.
Since I read Mandela's book, Long Walk to Freedom, in Iran's Evin prison in 2000, I felt stronger and more committed to my activism work. He gave me hope and power to fight against the Iranian dictatorship. What's even more amazing is that every one of my cell mates were reading his book as well. I'll never forget what his words gave me.
At the AMAs, rapper Macklemore spent much of his precious acceptance speech time discussing the injustice behind the Trayvon Martin verdict. Here's a radical idea: if Macklemore is so disgusted by the Trayvon Martin ruling, he should be the one to lead Stevie Wonder's list of artists boycotting Florida until the Stand Your Ground Law is repealed.
In addition to the Keystone XL which would increase total capacity of the pipeline to 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen per day, Enbridge filed plans to Monday to build the $2.6B Sandpiper pipeline project across northern Minnesota. If approved, the project will move 225,000 barrels per day of unconventional oil to Minnesota, and 375,000 barrels to Wisconsin.
The most revealing moment of Russell Brand's Newsnight interview is when Paxman asks what his revolution will be like. Brand begins his response: "Well I'll tell you what it won't be like." This response, which knows not what it wants and only what it doesn't want, is indicative of what I've come to think of as Che Activism.
If you're incredibly lucky, you've never had a friend or family member fighting for his or her life, or stolen by tragedy -- be it cancer, HIV/AIDS or a drunk driver. Such luck, we suspect, befalls very few. Sometimes, however, tragedy opens a door. In helping a loved one, some people -- especially youth -- discover a world bigger than themselves, and a desire to make that world better for others.