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Choice and Change: How do You Respond to Global Issues?

by Hélène Montpetit

This series on choice and change was born out of a personal need for clarity and direction at a time when there seemed to me to be little room in the world for my values and approach to life. It was only when I began to research people and organizations working for positive change that I realized I actually was in good company. For decades now, all around the world, thousands of people have been actively adopting different lifestyles and creating more collaborative and humane systems in the process. Many are featured here in the Sweet Songs collection. I am happy to also have found several groups of like minded people in my own home town, some of which have been the subject of posts in the local initiatives section of the site.

I recently had the pleasure of moderating a Transition NDG film and discussion event. The evening’s featured film was Cultural Creatives—The (R)Evolution, by Frigyes Fogel. Produced in 2011, it presents information about emerging groups who contribute creative solutions to the crises of our times. Julia Itel, a young woman currently working on her Master’s thesis on Cultural Creatives and spirituality, was there to share her knowledge with the group. She gave the phenomenon context by drawing a timeline and telling us about changes that have been taking place in our metanarratives in the context of postmodernism. I hope to include some of her work here at a later date when its publication is allowed, but for now, here is a quick summary of what I took away from the evening. I would be curious to know whether you recognize your style of response to global issues in the descriptions that follow.

Continue reading “Choice and Change: How do You Respond to Global Issues?”

Looks Like Montreal Could Use Tutoring On Environmental Issues

By Hélène Montpetit

Is Montreal Really an Environmental Dunce?
Adopted in April 2016, the Charter for the Protection of Montreal’s Green Spaces and Natural Environments was signed by over 100 city planners, biologists, sociologists, economists, public health and social housing experts, as well as about 40 citizens groups. On April 20th, to mark its first anniversary, Forum Nature Montréal handed the City a Green Report Card. The final grade came out of a survey in which participants assessed Montreal’s performance on priority environmental issues such as the protection of natural environments and biodiversity, the reduction of urban sprawl and the accessibility of green spaces for all residents. How did the City fare? An overwhelming majority of respondents gave it a poor (D) or miserable (E) rate on all counts! Continue reading “Looks Like Montreal Could Use Tutoring On Environmental Issues”

Sweet Songs Collection no. 27: Resilience

A program of the Post Carbon Institute, Resilience.org provides news and information on  energy, the depletion of critical resources, complex environmental crises and related social and economic issues. It also shares the creative solutions various groups and individuals have thought up or implemented to overcome these challenges.

A great one-stop way to stay informed on current initiatives, the site features articles by various experts, journalists, publications, associations and NGOs such as Yes! Magazine, the Sustainable Food Trust, Circle of Blue and others. It also publishes book reviews and links to films on relevant topics.

To access resilience.org, click here.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

16-year-old Songwriter Influences Approaches to Senior Housing

by Hélène Montpetit

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”
Lennon/McCartney

I think a song Paul McCartney wrote when he was 16 may be at the root of a revolutionary trend in senior housing. Released in 1967 on the album Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band, When I’m 64 became Baby Boomers’ cheerful, cheeky poke at their parents’ generation.

Now that their own golden age is upon them, flower children are coming together to make sure they are not carted away to senior ghettos set apart from the world. These new seniors are considering reliving past experiences in communes and intentional communities or have started eyeing ecovillages, off-grid communities and tiny housing developments. Continue reading “16-year-old Songwriter Influences Approaches to Senior Housing”

Charles Eisenstein: Stepping Into A New Story

Charles Eisenstein is a man with a message. It is a message of hope that starts with a serious look at real truths. The short video below is a thought-provoking summary of what he has to say. If you are so inclined, let it be your first stop on a journey of discovery. I hope it will lead you to new friends, inspiring ideas, and practical steps to improve quality of life (yours and that of others).

 

Thank you for reading UpTheMountainAndDownAgain.

Sweet Songs Collection no. 26 : The UNHCR

houx-de-noel-1The holiday season is upon us and those of us lucky enough to live in safe, stable countries look forward to celebrating with friends and loved ones. For the person on your list who has everything, why not consider the Give a Gift, Save a Life program developed by the UNHCR? You can find out more about by clicking here.

The UNHCR is the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, aka the UN Refugee Agency. It is the world’s leading organization aiding and protecting people forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict and persecution. It provides shelter, food, water, medical care and other life-saving assistance to refugees around the world.

In Canada, volunteers continue to show an outpouring of support for Syrian refugees by housing them and including them as members of the community. Continue reading “Sweet Songs Collection no. 26 : The UNHCR”

Choice and Change: How to deal with bullying in an open and positive way

by Hélène Montpetit

Ormstown Elementary School has taken singer-songwriter-guitarist David Whyte‘s song The Way I Like To Be Treated and made it into an inspiring anti-bullying video.

Whyte’s approach eschews dark representations, preferring to address the issues from a childlike perspective. Set to a simple melody with interesting phrasing, the song’s lyrics are in the plain language one is most likely to hear on the playground: “I don’t like to be called names, I’m not gonna call anybody names.” The children on the video are shown playing in the schoolyard and modeling inclusive behaviour. They sing earnestly, with humour and purpose.

What a fresh way to broach this topic and to teach children better ways of behaving!

Kudos to Whyte for setting this lesson to music kids can enjoy and to the Ormstown Elementary School staff who directed and filmed the children and who produced this wonderfully positive clip.

 

 

Whyte, who also teaches guitar at Sullivan & Whyte Music School and tours with the Durham County Poets, has arranged to donate revenues from his music to Bullying Canada Inc.  For more information, click here.

 

Curvy Sketches: Stretching Fashion Norms To Include More

by Hélène Montpetit

September 1, 2016 – Body image is not something that has so far been addressed on UpTheMountainAndDownAgain, where topics usually run to nuclear disarmament, climate change, food security and similar “weighty” issues (pardon the pun). However, as I chatted with different artists at the NDG Art Walk in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce last weekend, I was drawn to Kathleen Doyle’s table and inspired to interview her. Continue reading “Curvy Sketches: Stretching Fashion Norms To Include More”

Sweet Songs Collection no. 25 : The Rules

The Rules is a worldwide network of people dedicated to changing the rules that create inequality and poverty.

Activists, artists, writers, researchers, farmers, peasants, students, workers, designers, hackers, spiritualists and dreamers, they work with social movements, community leaders, cultural players, and everyday people.


Continue reading “Sweet Songs Collection no. 25 : The Rules”

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