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July-August 2008

College students learn sustainable design—by building it themselves

Jesse McLean

“No one would think it’s possible to have students with no construction experience making an entire selfsustainable building from scratch,” says David Elfstrom, a graduate of Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario. But that’s what he and 25 of his classmates in the sustainable building design and construction program did in 2006, erecting an eco-friendly outdoor-living […]

Mainstream success threatens cult cinema’s sleazy charm

Dorothy Woodend

Tell someone you like science fiction, fantasy or horror films and you might get “the look.” A look that says, “Are you silly, immature or, worse, pervy?” Fans of genre cinema—the term applies to many different categories of film but is most commonly applied to sci-fi, fantasy and horror—have long had a bad rep as […]

Don’t save the economy. Make a better one

Ellen Russell

The golden age of the welfare state wasn’t that golden. The real solution is economics that actually promotes equality Remember the good old days when Canadians used to think the government was supposed to help everyone share in economic prosperity and prevent anyone from shouldering the brunt of economic adversity? We thought we’d learned the […]

Kick the grass habit: why your home should go lawn-free

Megan Griffith-GreeneWebsite

From the first breath of spring, we North Americans dream of an expanse of green grass, a vast carpet that tickles our skin and stains our sundresses on which we can spend long, lazy days barbecuing and reading summer fiction. But our love affair with the lawn has got to stop. Even pesticide-free, grass is […]

An Alberta sculptor fights oil companies to exhibit art on his own land

Amy FungWebsite

As you walk through Peter von Tiesenhausen’s land, artwork emerges as if summoned from the ground up. Ships and nests made of willow branches appear along well-worn paths. Statues carved from logs stand watch from between the trees. In Tiesenhausen’s studio, small canvases that resemble the cracked earth of recent droughts are propped across the […]

7 environmentally friendly moves to quit the bottled water habit

Melissa WilsonWebsite

In 2006, Canadians spent $731 million consuming 2.1 billion litres of bottled water, with most of those plastic bottles ending up in landfills. If you’re tired of slowly destroying the planet while building the bank accounts of companies like Coca-Cola and Nestlé, here are a few tips for going back to the tap. 1. Create […]

The gruesome genius of Michael Ondaatje, destroyer of worlds

John DegenWebsite

Twice over the endless winter of 2007-08, I finished a pleasant-enough telephone conversation with my mother only to have her call me back a couple of minutes later. “I know what I wanted to tell you,” she said both times, “so-and-so died.” The first unfortunate object of forgotten conversation was a dear old great aunt […]

Girls Gone Wild. So? Sometimes being brave means being bad

Megan Griffith-GreeneWebsite

With Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears splashed across tabloid covers, racing toward early graves, it’s easy to think they’re stupid or sick. But there’s something irresistably subversive about women who won’t behave The website “When Will Amy Winehouse Die?” reads like a macabre count-the-jellybeans contest. How many days does a junkie have left […]

“Socialism” and “Big Government” as Orwellian doublespeak

Ellen Russell

It’s not the size of your bureaucracy. It’s how you use it. Onward, Stephen Harper: lead us to the socialist utopia! If you follow the right-wing punditry you’d think comrades Harper, Obama, Brown, and the like are leading us along that slippery slope to—gasp—socialism. Not that any of these leaders has a nice word to […]

Graphic: Where are all of Canada’s stimulus dollars going to?

Anna Bowen

When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty first revealed his stimulus spending package back in January, he announced that Canada’s Economic Action Plan would “protect Canadians during the global recession” and “put more money in the hands of Canadian families, to help them weather the current storm.” Although Flaherty claims to have introduced a budget that is […]

Postcard from Lusaka: No smoking. Really no smoking.

Elaisha StokesWebsite

As the wheels hit the hot asphalt of the runway, I look up to see the frenetic expressions on the faces of my fellow passengers—a look that falls somewhere between anxious and anaphylactic, and it’s clear they’re desperate to get off the plane. It’s been a short and relatively painless flight from Nairobi, Kenya, to […]