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It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble now because we don’t have a good story.
This chapter discusses how we are story telling creatures, it is how we derive our meaning and purpose. Worldviews, nature as dangerous or beneficent, determines how much we consume, whether we are fearful or secure in being able to provide for our livelihoods and for those we love. Is the failure to fully embrace sustainable development about the loss of belief and a good story? How has one story (growth) so come to dominate the globe, why is there only one true story? We used to have multiple myths, gods, we were polythecratic. There used to schools of dragonology in universities until they are suddenly disappeared in the 18th Century. Are we even asking the right questions, have we begun the necessary conversations, do we have the ‘spaces’ for critical dialogue, especially when dealing with messy, wicked problems and turbulent environments.
“This beginning chapter is about how the loss of magic and mystery in our stories, the “soft stuff,” has influenced our capacity to change. It is hard for a pointy-headed academic, particularly in the social sciences, to discuss emotions. We so often have to defend ourselves from the rigour and the supposed greater validity (read certainty and proof) of the natural sciences versus the social sciences, the hard sciences over the soft. It is this kind of polarizing story that keeps us mired in repeating the same old, same old. Regardless, I believe that the chief engine of change is understanding how the stories that inform our conversations and our culture have a profound influence on our future and the future of the planet. Cultural meanings are transmitted through our stories; therefore, listening to multiple stories amplified across diverse media and advertising platforms is key to leaping rather than edging forward toward the transformative changes we now need in Canada and the world.” (p. 17)
– Ann Dale, Edging Forward: Achieving Sustainable Community Development
Ideas: It’s the Economist, Stupid
Ideas. (Producer). (2016, November 28). It’s the Economist, Stupid [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas
Interest rates. Unemployment. GDP. Markets. Austerity measures. Economists tell us what we, as societies, can and can’t afford. But how do they decide? What values are at play? IDEAS producer Mary O’Connell speaks with two economists about how modern mantras on the economy limit our choices and shut down civic debate.
Yellow Cedar of the Alexander Archipelago
Oakes, L. and Sawe, N. (Producer). (2016). Yellow Cedar of the Alexander Archipelago [Audio Recording]. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/climate-central/yellow-cedar-of-the-alexander-archipelago
Barren trunks and dying yellow cedar trees are transforming the rainforest landscape along the Alaskan coast caused by the warming northern climate. To track the effects that climate change is having on this species, Stanford PhD student, Lauren Oakes, collected raw data from forty-eight tree plots. After years of interpretation, music helped Oakes see her research in a whole new light. Using data sonification technology, her colleague, Nik Sawe, translated her data into hauntingly beautiful and melancholic melodies set in the Key of D Minor.
The Current: Alan Kurdi photo demands the world to care about refugees
The Current. (Producer). (2015, September 4). Alan Kurdi photo demands the world to care about refugees [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent
Piya Chattopadhyay discusses how the powerful image of Alan Kurdi has caught the world’s attention and formed a narrative around the dire Syrian refugee crisis.
The Next Chapter: Shelagh Rogers tribute to Richard Wagamese (23:03)
The Next Chapter. (Producer). (2017, March 13). Shelagh Rogers tribute to Richard Wagamese [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thenextchapter
Shelagh Rogers remembers her friend and acclaimed Indigenous author, Richard Wagamese, who passed away on March 10, 2017.
Caitlind r.c. Brown. (2013, May 21). WRECK CITY: a mini-doc (100 artists + 9-houses, pre-demolition) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/66699975
809 was Calgary’s first garage art gallery, but it was facing demolition along with several surrounding houses. In response, a group of artists turned the houses and garages into art, installation, and performance spaces.
DavidSuzukiFDN. (2015, August 24). Is that a canoe in my park? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ITbTGh0jGrA
The Community Canoe project places canoes along former river sites in Toronto. The canoes are filled with gardens that double as mini-habitats for pollinators like butterflies.
Futurium Media. (2016, August). Global Shipping Map and Data Video [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/5NvjOpaCHl0
The video is both an interactive map showing the movements of shipping fleets in 2012, and a voice-over explaining how to use the map.
Greenpeacespain. (2016, June 19). Greenpeace holds a historic performance with pianist Ludovico Einaudi on the Arctic Ocean (English) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/dHpHxA-9CVM
Footage of pianist Ludovico Einadi playing his own composition on top of a floating ice-like platform, surrounded by sea ice. Text at the end of the video calls upon the viewer to “Please save the Arctic” and links to voicesforthearctic.org.
GreenpeaceVideo. (2014, July 8). LEGO: Everything is NOT awesome [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/qhbliUq0_r4
An arctic landscape is recreated from LEGO pieces, complete with arctic wildlife and people. A black oil-like substance is seen being poured over the landscape until everything is submerged. The video ends with the message to “Tell LEGO to end its partnership with Shell”.
Pequenoeditor. (2015, May 8). Tree Book Tree [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/v07V8yNpaCI
Introduction to an innovative way of printing children’s books. Pequeño Editor creates paper that is studded with seeds and then printed with stories (in eco-friendly ink). The book can be planted after reading.
Scott Brusaw. (2014, May 18). Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways! [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/qlTA3rnpgzU
Fundraising video for Solar Roadways from 2014. Smart hexagonal panels would replace concrete and asphalt in order to capture solar energy, melt snow and ice, divert water, have sensors for animal crossings and fallen objects, and more.
Wildlife Conservation Network. (2016, September 9). #KnotOnMyPlanet (feat. Robin Wright & Pearl Jam) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/5ztRlXJB0VQ
A video pitch for the celebrity-studded campaign called #KnotOnMyPlanet, which raises money and awareness to stop elephant killings. The campaign is led by the Elephant Crisis Fund.
Bell, Warren. (2017, January 17). Acclaimed Canadian author lays out dirty back story of fossil fuel industry and government. National Observer. Retrieved from http://www.nationalobserver.com/
Ignorance isn’t bliss. (2016, May 28). The Economist. Retrieved from https://www.economist.com
Kelsey, Elin. (2016, June 8). The Rise of Ocean Optimism: Sharing uplifting news of resilience and recovery fuels hope. Hakai Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-long/rise-ocean-optimism
Methane Leaks: A Dirty Little Secret. (2016, July 23). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/
Richard Wagamese remembered by his ‘chosen sister,’ Shelagh Rogers. (2017, March 12). CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia
Stager, Kurt. (2017, January 7). What the Muck of Walden Pond Tells Us About Our Planet. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/opinion/sunday/what-the-muck-of-walden-pond-tells-us-about-our-planet.html