Writing

With the possible exception of short spur-of-the-moment missives or a transcribed stream of consciousness, it seems to me that all writing is a process of successive approximation in which you begin with something which isn’t what you want at the end, but which provides a structure that allows you to reach the objective. In part, […]

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I have assembled a pretty comprehensive to-do list for the next while. I have assignments to grade for the environmentalism and social media course where I am a teaching assistant, and a coordination meeting with the other TA. Tomorrow, I am doing faculty and PhD student portraits for the department of political science. Saturday we […]

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Coercive institutions are a dictator’s final defense in pursuit of political survival, but also his chief obstacle to achieving that goal. This book argues that autocrats face a coercive dilemma: whether to organize their internal security apparatus to protect against a coup, or to deal with the threat of popular unrest. Because coup-proofing calls for […]

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My friend Kieran read some poems from her evolving collection of cowgirl poetry at the monthly Common Reading performance at Toronto’s Belljar Cafe.

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Saying mainstream environmentalism now reflects the interests and concerns of the rich is like coming upon a river of spawning salmon and noting the colour red. There are naturally many shades of difference. Not all of the mainstream, everywhere, has to the same extent come to embrace markets, corporations, and technologies as solutions. Nor does […]

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My supervisors have been encouraging me to switch thesis topics. I find myself resisting because the proposed alternative topic has very little to do with the intersection between environmental and indigenous politics, which I judge to be the most important ongoing change in the contemporary politics of the United States and Canada. At the same […]

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A paper by Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, Koteyko (“Communicating climate change: conduits, content, and consensus“, 2015) contains some interesting ideas about effective communication about climate change. They cite one “best practice guide” which explains that: in order for climate science information to be fully absorbed by audiences, it must be actively communicated with appropriate language, metaphor, […]

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This slam poem has been acutely and importantly confrontational for ten years or more, and it’s worth re-considering in light of Friday’s inauguration in Washington D.C.: “Homeland” by Marty McConnell

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My family in Vermont sent me Bill McKibben’s 2005 book (updated in 2014) as a Christmas gift. In it, he recounts a meandering trek through the Lake Champlain region of the Adirondacks. It’s part nature writing, partly an account of the history of the region and the ways his neighbours are tying to earn a […]

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A five page Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles has been released for the forthcoming Women’s March on Washington. It takes an inclusive “everything is connected” point of view, of the sort you often see in environmental declarations.

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