Romancing the retro
Thank you for the update on the demise of the Terrace Roller Skating Rink (NOW, March 15-21).
It saddens me and makes me furious that the city of Toronto reneged on a promise it made back in the early 90s.
Roller skating is a wonderful sport that has something for everyone from very small children to the elderly. It is low-impact, great for cardio and has wonderful social aspects.
Councillor Kyle Rae is trying to shove this artsy-fartsy centre down Toronto's throat. I highly doubt that the kids of today will flock to his performing arts venue.
Anyone who knows anything about roller skating knows that jam skating, roller derby, rhythm skating, speed skating, roller hockey and artistic skating are popular all over the world
New movies and advertisements, not to mention a recent documentary on the History Channel, are bringing the romantically retro sport back to the forefront.
When was the last time you took your family out? How much did it cost? I guess it's cheaper to get 200 new officers for the downtown area than to put money into the youth and give them a place to be and thrive.
WayCool Rollers, Toronto
Bursting enviro bubble
I read the article about envyro bubble (NOW, March 15-21). I was not impressed at all after our lengthy discussion with your reporter on how the unit works better when attached to the proper recycling receptacles.
You went and trashed the idea with the worst picture, not even mentioning how it works at locations such as Wal-Mart, again due to the fact that it is attached to the proper waste receptacles.
As I see it, you were only interested in trashing the bubble for the recycling issue. Keeping gum off the pavement isn't enough for you.
Ornella De Cola
envyrozone inc., Toronto
I just read your article When It's Chic To Buy Local (NOW, March 15-21). I agree with the author's assessment that Big Local may well be on its way and compromise what growing local is all about.
But to chalk it up to "fickle consumers" is a big mistake. David Orr, in The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics And The Environment In An Age Of Terror, writes: "For all of the hype about freedom, the emerging world system is neither very free nor very democratic. It is, rather, being driven by a plutocracy of distant and unaccountable corporations, global agencies like the World Trade Organization and compliant governments."
Homeless left out in cold
RE Dwight Ferguson's homeless On Your Doorstep (NOW, March 15-21). How easily people like Ferguson let the words "shit, piss, vomit, have sex, use drugs, fight" slip off their tongues when they talk about homelessness.
I don't know if I've ever heard people who use that combination of words join advocates to call for more and better-funded emergency shelter beds, drop-in services, 24-hour warming or cooling centres, more detox and treatment centres, let alone public toilets.
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
Puff for peace
RE Too High To Fight (now, march 15-21). Pot is more likely to make soldiers too peaceful to fight, not too high. Cannabis, kaneh bosm, the tree of life, does what it's supposed to do as stated on the very last page of the Bible - that is, the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. Being granted use of the tree of life (see Revelations 2:7) creates an environment of peace. Let that secret out and there will not even be a need for an army.
If anyone is considering failing a pee test to avoid deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan, be careful!!! When the Ohio National Guard was deployed, scores of soldiers failed their drug tests.
The soldiers were deployed for a full (actually extended several times) tour. Those who survived and returned home were then told they had failed the initial drug test, dishonourably discharged and lost all their benefits. How's that for supporting the troops?
Ethiopia bad trip
As a devoted NOW reader, I could not believe the horrid article in the travel section on Ethiopia (NOW, March 15-21)!!! There was not an ounce of goodwill to come out of the traveller's mouth about this sacred, ancient land!
What was Sierra Bellows expecting? The Hilton, with scented soaps and mints on the pillow? She ventured to the countryside. If she wanted high-class, she should have stayed in the capital, Addis Ababa, where there is a Hilton and Western fast food chains. She failed to talk about the immense culture, kind, loving people and the positive history of the country.
A real disappointment coming from a magazine based in a city with such diversity.
The West's largesse
RE The Population Equation, by Gwynne Dyer (NOW, March 15-21). Throughout his article on a supposed population explosion in Africa, not once does Dyer mention the fact that the West, with 10 per cent of the world's population, consumes 90 per cent of the world's wealth and resources.
How much is enough for the fucking West?
Good to know cia-sanctioned torture methods will be at least partly exposed in the U.S. court case of José Padilla (NOW, March 1-7). Naomi Klein is historically accurate to connect the sensory deprivation, white noise and other psychological tortures that Padilla was subjected to in a U.S. navy prison to similar tortures inflicted on approximately 200 Canadian citizens at Montreal's Allen Memorial Institute from 1950 to 1964.
Searching for ways to combat techniques employed in China and Korea, the CIA partly funded ($62,000) these brainwashing experiments. The Canadian Defence Research Board and National Health and Welfare gave almost $400,000 to the experiments.
Women and men were fraudulently labelled "schizophrenic," then forcibly "depatterned" by being subjected to a combination of isolation or sensory deprivation, "psychic driving" (messages repeated hundreds or thousands of times through earphones), electroshock and several high-risk psychiatric drugs including LSD and addictive barbiturates.
Playing down plastic
Letter-writer Cathy Cirko of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association says styrene is safe (NOW, March 8-14). What about the health effects of burning plastics?
I've asked representatives of Ms. Cirko's organization this question and have failed to get a decent reply.
The problem is with packaging.
And we need Environment Minister John Baird to care about this issue.
Here's how you can help. Go to www.wastediversion.ca and follow the links to our Improper Packaging Campaign.
Download the peel-and-stick labels affix them to improper packaging and mail free to Minister Baird. It's allowed by law.
Waste Diversion Campaigner
The Sierra Club of Canada, Toronto
Parkin' it on Bay
Your article Bay Street's Last Patch of Green (NOW, March 1-7) illustrates that economics trumps ethics even in the hallowed halls of academe.
St. Michael's College has clearly adopted a "burning the furniture to heat the house" strategy.
While a spokesperson for the college claims that it has no choice, that it must auction off its heritage in order to survive, it's worth noting that this isn't the first time St. Mike's has trotted out this "impending bankrupty" argument.
In fact, it was back in the late 1980s that the college initially cooked up this scheme to sell its land to a high-rise condo developer. (Mercifully, the bottom fell out of the Toronto real estate market. )
Next came the controversial 2003 sell-off of half the much-loved and much-used Orientation Field to make way for a commercial parking lot.
Perhaps the college administration might want to consider selling its naming rights and rechristen itself Saint Cinnamon College.
Toronto proudly bills itself as "A City Within A Park." Here in the Bay Street canyon we'd settle for a park within the city.
Scum of the Earth
RE Gore's Convenient Untruths (NOW, March 1-7). Algae multiplies so quickly and produces so much oxygen per square foot that ponds with a total surface area five times the size of Colorado would be enough to start to reverse our growing CO2 problem.
Corn, with one crop per year, nets approximately 81 gallons of biodiesel per acre (soy nets 40). Algae yields as many as 15,000 gallons per acre. Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown on approximately 9.5 million acres - far less than the 450 million acres used for crop farming in the U.S. and the more than 500 million acres used for animal grazing land.
The government needs to quit looking at corn and begin massive and wholesale funding and grants for algae. A new state agri-business of algae farms? Or grants for ocean farming? Algae, pond scum also a planet saver? Yes, if we take action!