A great set of speakers announced the July 5th March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate to the media at Bay and King this morning, across the street from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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We know that we are trapped within an economic system that has it backward; it behaves as if there is no end to what is actually finite (clean water, fossil fuels, and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions) while insisting that there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually quite flexible: the financial resources that human institutions manufacture, and that, if imagined differently, could build the kind of caring society we need.

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. p. 347 (hardcover)

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Naomi Klein

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For years now, I have been expecting people to use synthetic biology to make complex organic molecules like pharmaceuticals. If you splice the genes that allow some organism to make the molecule in question into another organism that is easy to cultivate, you can go from making the drug in a large and costly factory to cultivating it in a cheap batch of genetically-modified yeast.

This is now being done: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine, A Way to Brew Morphine Raises Concerns Over Regulation, An enzyme-coupled biosensor enables (S)-reticuline production in yeast from glucose.

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Milan Ilnyckyj and Oleh Ilnyckyj

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The power of this ferocious love [for places where people live and where they care about] is what the resource companies and their advocates in government inevitably underestimate, precisely because no amount of money can extinguish it. When what is being fought for is an identity, a culture, a beloved place that people are determined to pass on to their grandchildren, and that their ancestors may have paid for with great sacrifice, there is nothing companies can offer as a bargaining chip. No safety pledge will assuage; no bribe will be big enough. And though this kind of connection to place is surely strongest in Indigenous communities where the ties to the land go back thousands of years, it is in fact Blockadia’s defining feature.

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. p. 342 (hardcover)

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Generations

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Wasp v. cockroach

May 18, 2015

in Science

I sometimes talk to people who think nature is generally benevolent or cooperative. This system of reproduction seems to raise grave objections to that viewpoint.

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Clendenan yard

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In addition to working on my term paper and PhD proposal, I am reading an interesting collection of books. I am nearly done with Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, which has been very compelling. I am reading Srdja Popovic’s Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World, and thinking about how it can be applied to the work of Toronto350.org (it’s trickier to motivate people to take action to reduce fossil fuel use than to organize around existing displeasure about an oppressive government).

I am still working on Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities, as well as reading relevant chapters from Alfred Rolington’s Strategic Intelligence for the 21st Century: The Mosaic Method, which has some particularly interesting things to say about corporate and police intelligence.

I am also just starting Peter Russell’s Recognizing Aboriginal Title: The Mabo Case and Indigenous Resistance to English-Settler Colonialism.

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