Saturday 7 September 2013

This is the End

This is the end, my friends.

I am no longer exploring the internet.

I am now exploring the world.

New blog


Wednesday 10 July 2013

Dad's in TEXAS?

International trade is a big deal.
My father is an international truck driver and every week he crosses the United States border at least twice.
My mother is a purchaser for an international corporation and has to ship internationally and import products and machinery on a daily basis.
What you don't see or hear about with international trade is just as interesting as the Wall Street News or the ever-so common and highly publicized trade agreements, that frequently sprout up.

Its important to recognize the impact of international trade: our entire world is founded on the ability to get things from far away places without having to go there, and without having to even know the country it came from. 
How can we have Christmas without fresh raspberries in the champagne?

As much as we love our international trade - in not only produce - but clothing, electronics, knickknacks and paddiwhacks...
The entire world is measured through comparisons of these imports/exports.
How much your country can sell to another country defines them.

What is the trading power of this country/that country? What is the main export? How much does that convert to in USD?
 -> But what if the country cannot convert to USD or it isn't relevant to convert to USD ..
     What about Cuba?
On a recent trip to Cuba I realized how dramatic the impact of lack of importation of goods can be, down to the ketchup.
Or the lack there of...
The embargo has been in place on Cuba for over 50 years and they have adapted largely with the help of other Latin American countries - Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, with a head start from the Soviet Union.
Interestingly enough, Cuba is managing to survive without America's help: they are still able to trade with China, and in my opinion, are doing a pretty good job of floating without the number one importer in the world giving them a hand.
I would strongly recommend a visit.
As we sit in america's back pocket, with all of their commercial luxuries at our fingertips, it was a culture shock just to eat dinner.

International trade is so important to our planet (in particular, Western culture) that it is how we judge a societies' happiness. 
How can they be happy when every person is only worth 8000$ ? The GDP is so low!
Well, I'll let you know.

*Check in for Botswana Blogs.
    *Sept. 2013

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Isn't it Garbage?

The awkward moment where you are confronted with your many plastic and aluminum sins.

On a recent field trip to the Waterloo Region Landfill off of Ira Needles, I learned many things, some of which are embarrassing;
I could not stand the smell to save my life.
As rude as that sounds and as much as I hated having to walk out of the recycling plant, I honestly could not handle it - says the girl relocating to Botswana.
I give my utmost respect to the workers at these facilities, absolute respect.
They are doing our dirty work. 
So this is the trip that expanded my idea of waste management...
Our well constructed and organized assembly-line-style recycling plant, followed by the engineered landfill sites...
Waste management is a big deal, and as a community we should really respect the hard work that goes into it - we are lucky to live somewhere that provides these services!

Let us not forget the countries that are missing these luxuries... I remember a startling trip to the Dominican Republic at age 15 where I saw sacks of garbage piled on the street for the first time.

We should also recognize the importance of supporting waste management initiatives in developing countries.

 [] -> check it out, it's an international conference on waste management.

Moving on, the trip to the landfill really opened my eyes to the proximity of cities to their landfills - the close relationship between society and our abandoned consumerism on the side of streets...
Even in Canada -the close location of the landfill to a busy shopping centre was astounding - Don't we have zoning?

Well, we do have zoning, but it comes with a price... And so did that land that was
                 "Just sitting there..."
 "That could be a LOVELY suburb"    ...  Minus a few of those wafting smells.
Last point:
In a previous blog I mentioned that my workplace does not participate in the recycling of plastics. Well, on this trip to the landfill site I learned the dark truth - Every business pays for their recycling, and many choose not to recycle.
Living with the generation of brainwashed environmentalist spawns of David Suzuki? IN CANADA?
Surprise, an astounding amount of us do not recycle most things. Let alone compost.

I guess I can't be too harsh, approximately 80% of the Waterloo Region recycles ... But for the other 20 % ... What is there to loose?
  • The same volume will be leaving the house on a weekly basis, just in a different box. A rather important box, actually.
  • It would even create a feeling of satisfaction: 'Doing your good deed of the day' - I don't mean to be condescending, but these people ARE NOT RECYCLING! 
Shouldn't they feel silly.
And if we could increase the green bin users from 19% to a respectable number, perhaps on the same level as other regions at 30 - 35%? That would be a dream come true.

Please, if there is any opinion or logical reason behind choosing not to recycle as an individual (or a business but lets not get into that) I would appreciate a confrontation about/on this blog.

*More Information:

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Shopping Spree?

I have worked in retail for over 4 years now, in a particularly intimate store, and have seen about it all...
- trans-everything/anything, every human body part (yep) and every kind of tantrum a customer could throw, including items.

Out of everything I've learnt about retail and the world of commercial goods, the thing that bothers me the most is the international development insult I see during every shift.

What do I mean? 
Well, first lets start with a home-grown problem. The store, entire plaza, and every other plaza that is owned by this corporation) only recycles boxes. For any one who has ever shopped in their life, it is CLEAR how many hangers, bags, plastics, linings, tags, etc. are gone through in a regular day/week/year/decade.

Why are we not recycling our plastics? It breaks my heart every time I have to throw a plastic hanger into a garbage bin, so wrong.

But who's problem is this?
 - Stay tuned for next blog on waste management*

Moving on to international issues, my store is not the only one guilty of evident use of sweatshops and long hours for manufacturers. But, how do I know any of this? 

-When product prices can be reduced by 70% within a week
-When items have simple mistakes (straps backwards, missing tags) that are typical exhaustion mishaps
-When I see the exact same style of the exact same item come from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
Whats the better deal, China, Pakistan, or a world with adequate working conditions?

We all see these topics in the news, everyone wants the new "fair trade" Tim Horton's coffee, we all have shopped at American Apparel, but nonetheless, we find ourselves consuming products we have no knowledge of, at the lowest prices we can get them for.

For any international development student or internationally conscious individual, it is upsetting to be confronted with the reality of free trade and the manufacturing industry; but it is the world we live in...

 We can make changes, one step at a time, one product at a time, one plaza at a time.

Take it from the ultimate pessimist: When it comes to consumer behaviours, businesses/governments/corporations listen.

The purpose of this blog was to make a statement and remind:
**I do not intend to offend, 
and I am 100% guilty of this crime,

 I just ask; 
can we take a peek at the 
tags every now and again? 

Monday 17 June 2013


Canada needs to improve its international image in regards to environmental policy.

The government keeps changing its regulations and deregulating more and more when it comes to the environment, with the most recent budget cutting environmental spending by 20%. 

particularly Bill C-38 (the 2012 budget implementation bill) cut approximately 160 million from the environment ministry in 2012. 

Programs that were hit the hardest were climate change and air pollution focused, which is the environmental problems that Canada struggles with the most - being one of the worst internationally for carbon footprint per capita. Moving on to other aspects of the budget cuts...
The Experimental Lakes Area, a primary research facility on water conservation and environmental impacts has been nearly shut down because of these cuts. 

This environmental embarrassment goes hand in hand with the Harper Government pulling the plug on the Kyoto Accord.

Bill C-38 in particular is really aggravating the environmentally conscious community, with petitions arising all over the internet to revoke it.
 It removed fisheries protections, granted the right for the national energy board to make decisions on habitat destruction, and completely decimate the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act which has been in place for decades. As a country that relies rather extensively on the environment for economic support, one would assume...

Even a conservative government would recognize the importance of protecting sustainable forestry and eco-tourism.

Overall, it's clear that there are massive contradictions in the world of the Harper Government.

Internationally, Canada is reputed to have some of the most beautiful natural areas...
But our international image is slowly deteriorating with Harper Governments reduction in environmental protection and funding.

 The international community is catching on to the problems within Canada in regards to environmental devaluation. in 2012, Canada ranked below Costa Rica, Brazil, and 36 other countries on the status of environmental policies. 

It is so sad to be so disheartened by our own governments disregard for the importance of the environment. 

* Adapted fro GEO 426 assignment* 

*Would you like to sign the petition against C-38?

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Democracy is GREEK?

I wanted to write a post about this image:
It really hit me, and I think its brings up a really important point about everyone's favourite topic, Globalization.

To all of the people out there that the above statement is referencing, as those who 'complain that your neighbour is an immigrant', this may not be the blog post for you.

I feel very passionately about immigration as a positive influence and high immigration is one of my favourite things about Canada. I absolutely love that Toronto has several cultural and ethnic districts, and I very much enjoy visiting ALL of them.
A proud Canadian is excited to be a member of this diverse land. 
The benefits of having so many cultures is not only for their physical presence, Canada also has some of the best cultural festivals in North America - Caribbana, Oktoberfest, etc.

The picture above really gets to the core hypocrisies of xenophobia, whether an individual accepts immigration as a positive aspect or feels it is somehow detrimental, they have no choice but to accept globalization.
Our letters ARE Latin, our numbers ARE Arabic, and I don't know anyone who would give up pizza based on the fact that it is Italian.

Canada in particular is very dependent on immigration. Personally on my fathers side, I was the first person born in this country. My family has paid taxes their whole lives, they adore this country, and contribute as much as anyone else. It is an unfortunate reaction when people disrespect immigrants and the positive contributions they make in this, or any other recipient country.

Something else that is interesting is the problems within Canada. I had a conversation recently with a Nova Scotian who had been spending his time working in Albert up at Fort Mac.
 His experiences had been unfortunately similar to an international migrant coming to a foreign country.
 He expressed a serious disrespect coming from native Albertan's towards easterners who are 'coming out here and taking our jobs away'. He mentioned how Albertans 'Wont work the same hours I will because their used to having the opportunity. I will take everything I get because I came so far to get it'. 

Clearly this image above applies to more than international migrants, and the xenophobic nature of society is a problem that needs to be addressed across the planet.

*Love your neighbours

Note: Generalizations are an unfortunate side 
effect of conversation. Don't take offense
 or assume I accept them entirely.

Tuesday 12 March 2013


The United States of America.
You can love or hate this post all you want, but I definitely have some things to say about the United States of America.
I also want to point out that this is PURELY my opinion on things that have happened, are true, what I've experienced and my understandings.

If I was writing a masters thesis on international development, it would be centred on the United States as an underdeveloped nation.
I genuinely believe that I have evidence and back up for this position. They may have had al lthe right numbers at all the right times, they can have as many billionaires, organizations, discoveries and innovations they want. Write all the rules and make all the game changes, but in the end, the country, and the people, are not at a developed standard in my eyes.

The education system?
approximately 32 million Americans are unable to read this blog.
The warped media?
Fox News, enough said.
Health care?
The right to health care is still debated, in the United States.
Not to mention the subliminal patriarchy and religious obsession. How often is god thanked in award shows anywhere else in the world?

I guess that I should clarify that I'm NOT anti-American. I realize this is a generalization of a LARGE population, I realize that
As a Canadian, our neighbours' actions affect me, dramatically. Their elections affect us, their culture affects us, their international image definitely affects us (being mistaken for American? No thank you).

One of my biggest problems with the American culture is the gun laws and the relaxed attitudes towards death machines. Guns have one purpose, to KILL things. Why do we need to KILL things? I strongly doubt that every gun in the US is used to find dinner.
The gun topic affects me because their lax restrictions means that smuggling into Canada is easy. If you do not need a permit to obtain a weapon, how does anyone know your record, how often you go into Canada, etc?
Not to mention, its just common criminal sense, that they can make a fortune sellling
under the table weapons in Toronto.

I just believe that a country with such a grandiose opinion of itself, should be able to back it up with a healthy, literate population.

More on American Literacy:
More on Health care: