If you want a different world,

tell a different story

Ben Okri & Thomas King

The following blog posts are my attempt to help create a different story. Inspired by Greta Thunberg and in the words of Buckminster Fuller, this is my version of being a trim tab that when moved creates low pressure, pulling the larger rudder round and changing the direction of large ships. All opinions expressed in the posts below are my own.

Chickens & eggs! and parking? 31 August 2023

On September 6th, Guelph’s council is discussing reducing parking requirements and charging for on-street parking in the downtown core. So I decided to read the whole Downtown Parking Master Plan and the Staff’s Report on the Downtown Parking Master Plan. Below are my thoughts using ideas from Donald Shoup’s book High Cost to Free Parking and Henry Grabar’s book Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World. These are excellent books that I highly recommend.

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The Green New Deal: We can afford what we can do 05 September 2020

Inspired by The Case for the Green New Deal by Ann Pettifor, I decided to buy three copies from my local bookstore, The Bookshelf, and send one book each to the MP, MPP, and Mayor of Guelph. I mailed the books accompanied by a letter introducing the book, outlining ideas from the book, and asking a related question. Below are the letters.

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Englishman in Guelph: Non-resident citizens should be allowed to vote. 13 January 2020

Last year, I voted in two national elections within two months: Canada on October 21, and the U.K. on December 12. I have citizenship in both countries and am grateful to be able to vote in both countries. In 6 years, I will no longer be able to vote in the U.K. My parents and sister, who are Canadian citzens but who live in the U.K., were recently reallowed to vote in Canada. Non-resident citizen voting is a very real and important issue for me. However, some people would argue that non-resident citizens should not be allowed to vote in the country of their citizenship. Here, I argue that non-resident citizens should be allowed to vote.

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Four day week: graduate students, take a day off! 09 August 2019

Imagine that you work for four days out of seven but get paid for five days of work. Now, what would you do on that free fifth day? Take up a new hobby, relax, volunteer? Some groups are in fact lobbying companies and governments to reduce the “normal” week to four days instead of five days out of seven with no decrease in pay. In fact, this movement in not new. In the 19th century, people worked 10 hours a day for six days a week. Then, labor movements lobbied governments to legislate 8 hour work days for five days a week. Now collectively, we are facing multiple issues including climate chaos, gender equality, and mental wellness. A shorter working week is one tool for dealing with these issues, with potential gains in productivity.

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8. Learn from Nature 11 April 2019

Our current political and economic systems are decimating the nature that surrounds us and sustains us. Yet, it is to nature that we can take inspiration and gain deep understanding of complex political and economic systems. Long before humans existed, the tangled bank of nature was changing and adapting to a long string of perturbations and producing a beautiful variety of life forms from tiny bacteria to massive blue whales. We developed within this tangled bank and are now a central force driving large changes. Nature will continue to exist, but the question is whether we will be there to experience it. To ensure we continue enjoying our tangled bank, we must learn from nature because if you take any issue within politics and economics, nature has a lesson for us.

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Science is play 28 January 2015

While driving home after a day in the field my supervisor asked my colleague and I what we thought science was all about. My colleague replied with science is thinking of a hypothesis for a pattern and then testing it. I replied with a smile on my face that science is playing. My colleague was a little confused at this answer so I promised her I would write an explanation of my thoughts and this blog post is exactly that.

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