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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?”

Transition NDG Launches New Pop-Up Cafe

By Hélène Montpetit

Every Monday from January 23rd to March 13th, NDG residents can warm up, cheer up and pick up new skills by popping into Coopérative de solidarité Transition NDG’s (“TNDG”) new Pop-Up Coop. The transitory café will be held at Café Zephyr, 5791 Sherbrooke West, owned and operated by NDG residents. The venue serves mostly organic, local food and although Chef Anne is off on Mondays, she has agreed to make her hearty soup available to patrons.

Building Community and Resilience

Active in the neighbourhood since 2012, TNDG is well-known for growing free food through its Incredible Edibles initiative that builds and maintains raised-bed gardens on a few of the area’s main thoroughfares during Montreal’s growing season. Also popular are the group’s film and discussion evenings, held once a month from October through June at Coop la maison verte. Continue reading “Transition NDG Launches New Pop-Up Cafe”

New Conference and Nature Walk Series Focuses On Montreal Flora & Fauna

By Hélène Montpetit

From the strip of walking trails and cycling paths on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River to the well-travelled escarpments of Mount Royal, Montreal is home to several species of birds, animals and plants.

Landmarks such as Mount Royal Park and Bois-de-Liesse are well protected, but infrastructure construction and pushes for new housing developments currently threaten some of the lesser-known areas on the Island.

To keep Montrealers informed about the endangered bounty at their doorstep, Transition NDG has teamed up with several local environmental organizations. Together, they will host a series of conferences throughout February and March on the premises of Coopérative La Maison Verte. Each of the talks will be followed by a nature walk in the featured area.

For more information, see the graphic below. You can also stay informed through Transition NDG’s Facebook page.

To find out more about the areas that will be featured, visit the Amis du Technoparc Facebook page here, the Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook website, the Sauvons La Falaise website and the Sauvons l’Anse-à-l’Orme Facebook page.

natureseries_letter_final

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.

 

Sweet Songs Collection no. 24: The World Social Forum

All citizen-run groups and individuals belonging to social movements are invited to attend World Social Forums to raise important issues, discuss ideas, formulate proposals, build their networks and learn from each other’s experiences.

The first World Social Forum was held in 2001 in Brazil. Since then, gatherings have taken place almost every year. Documentation stemming from these meetings as well as from other workshops and conferences organized under the auspices of the organization is being shared online. Several topics of interest to anyone wishing to foster social, economic and political change are covered. To see what is available, please click here.

Participants come from all over the world to focus on practical alternatives that foster a world built on social and environmental justice, social and supportive economic principles, participative democracy and the preservation of equality and dignity for all.

From August 9th to 14th 2016, Montreal, Quebec, Canada is hosting the first edition of the Forum to be held in the northern hemisphere. For more on this event, click here.

For more information about the World Social Forum in general, click here.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share your comments in the space below.

 

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