Monday, March 08, 2010

March 12-14 in Montreal - Study in Action: Other Inconvenient Truths: beyond "sustainability", towards environmental justice

MARCH 12-14, 2010
Concordia University, MONTREAL

The Study In Action conference is free. Welcome to all!

Opening Panel:
Beyond "sustainability", towards environmental justice
FRIDAY, March 12, 6:30pmde Sève Cinema, 1400 de Maisonneuve West(métro Guy-Concordia)

Speakers include:
  •  Gord Hill: Indigenous (Kwakwaka'wakw) artist and organizer, author of "500 Years of Indigenous Resistance," member of the Olympics Resistance Network
  • Sharmeen Khan:environmental justice and anti-racist activist, writer and researcher
  • Poya Saffari: farmer and activist active with le Coop jardins de la résistance & Solidarity Across Borders
  • Catherine St-Arnaud-Babin: queer feminist activist and ex-squatter, member of the eco-radical collective Liberterre

Keynote panel followed by a reception at QPIRG-Concordia (1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, #204).
SATURDAY, March 13 (10am-6pm) & SUNDAY, March 14 (10:30am-6pm)
7th Floor, Hall Building, 1455 de Maisonneuve West THEME: "Social and Environmental Justice"

Topics include: Radical Environmentalism; Racism in Canada; Food Security and Urban Agriculture; Urban Renewal and Public Space; Greenwashing NGOs; Indigenous Land Issues and Development; Impacts of Canadian Mining; “Greening” Prisons; and more

  • The Study In Action conference is free. Welcome to all!
  • Breakfast, lunch and beverages are provided free during the conference.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • Childcare available o­n-site (please phone 48 hours in advance)
  • Whisper translation available for all panels and workshops in English and French.

Please pre-register by e-mail at (students: please indicate your name, school and field of study; community members: let us know who you are).

Opening Panel: OTHER INCONVENIENT TRUTHS: Beyond "sustainability", towards environmental justice FRIDAY, March 12, 6:30pmde Sève Cinema, 1400 de Maisonneuve West
GORD HILL (Kwakwaka'wakw) is an indigenous artist and organizer who has been active with the Native Youth Movement and other groups. He is a main contributor to as well as Warrior Publications, and is active with the Olympic Resistance Network of the Coast Salish Territories. Gord has been repeatedly targeted by the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit (VISU) in relation to his unrepentant advocacy for direct action in defense of the land and anti-Olympics organizing o­n the theme: "No Olympics o­n Stolen Native Land". He is the author/artist of the graphic novel: "500 Years of Indigenous Resistance".

SHARMEEN KHAN works at OPIRG-York in Toronto and is o­n the Advisory Board of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action. She has been active in media activism, environmental justice and anti-racism for many years and has organized with the Bus Riders Union in Vancouver and currently programs for CHRY 105.5FM in Toronto.

POYA SAFFARI is an Iranian-born farmer and activist based both in Montreal and Ormstown. He is a member of Coop jardins de la résistance an ecological farming project that grows a diversity of vegetables and fruits according to ecological practices, while also striving to develop meaningful links with communities in Montreal. During the past several years Poya has also been active with migrant justice struggles with groups like No o­ne Is Illegal and Solidarity Across Borders.

CATHERINE ST-ARNAUD-BABIN was a member of the former eco-radical collective Liberterre, as well as the former Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC), and has been active in transcontinental movements against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). She is a radical queer feminist and ex-squatter who is currently a community worker with immigrant families. She is also a member of the Collectif de recherche sur l'autonomie collective (CRAC). Through these different struggles and experiences, Catherine proposes a reflection o­n the environment, and the different relationships within the notion of space and time, that show the various intersections of oppressions from an anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian point of view.

For more tel: 514-848-7585

STUDY IN ACTION is a project of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at Concordia.Community - Research - Resistance

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

@ 7th floor of Concordia University’s Hall Building
1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest (metro Guy-Concordia)
Montreal, QC
10h – 11h
Registration & Breakfast served by the People’s potato
11h – 12h30
PANEL – Living the Land: “developing” indigenous land relationships

Erin Coughlan – “Drawing Lines in the Sand: drought and privatization in Kenyan Maasai-land”
This anthropological research assesses how pastoral strategies of land use by the Maasai of Kenya respond to conditions of climate change, specifically a severe drought, in the light of legal land tenure changes. Land that was once held collectively has now been subdivided into individual parcels, which is not a viable policy for the indigenous pastoralist grazing strategies. To cope with a restriction on migration, people have called on principles of reciprocity, and I explore the policy’s effects as well as the interaction and synergy of legal and traditional land entitlements.

Sandra Simbert -Urban Inuit in Montreal: an example of sustainability?”
By referring to sustainability as the combination of the social, economic, environmental and political development, is the global situation of Montreal Inuit sustainable? A portrait of their main occupations, community support resources, intercultural challenges, strategies for ethnic pride and achievement. Are Inuit equal citizens of the metropolis?Does Montreal urban life allow opportunities for Inuit’ environmental friendly heritage to take root, be expressed, and
take form?

Emilou Kinsella – “Property Regimes in Kahnawake: implications for human relationships with the environment” Our group worked alongside the Mohawk Traditional Council in Kahnawake to investigate the history of land privatization in Kahnawake. We looked at the history of Kahnawake, conducted a map and legal analysis, and talked with community members in personal interviews to show how land has changed and how people’s attitudes about land has changed. Ultimately we wanted to answer the question: Has land privatization in Kahnawake altered its people’s relationship with the Environment? The short answer is, yes.

12h30 – 13h30
LUNCH – served by the People’s Potato

13h30 – 15h

Kerri Westlake – “Beyond Local Food: Guest-Worker Programs in Canada’s Agricultural Sector”
The presentation will focus on the Canadian government’s creation and maintenance of a ‘flexible’ and exploitable agricultural workforce through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker and the Temporary Foreign Worker Programs. These immigration policies serve the needs of an ever expanding and consolidating agricultural sector by creating conditions which restrict workers’ rights and voices. They will be examined in the context of trade liberalisation, “labour shortages,” and Canada’s history of racist immigration policies.

Sameer Zuberi (from the Canadian Muslim Forum) – “The State of Islamophobia in Québec and Canada” The presentation will look at the growing recognition of Islamophobia internationally and examine groundbreaking research into the phenomenon. The degree to which Quebec and Canada have recognized and combated Islamophobia will also be discussed. Specifically, the role of the media vis-a-vis Islamophobia and the Reasonable Accommodation Commission headed by Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor in will also be highlighted.

More presenters to be confirmed

WORKSHOP – “Radicalizing” Green – Reclaim!

(description to come)

15h – 15h15

15h15 – 16h45

Fred Burril and Cleve Higgins – “Precious Metals, Stolen Lands: the colonial roots of the Canadian mining industry” The Canadian mining industry is one of the most powerful in the world, committing atrocities in the name of profit across Latin America, Africa and Asia. But what about right here? This presentation re-frames Canadian mining from an anti-colonial historical and contemporary analysis of mining, market structures, and displacement of indigenous people on Turtle Island, making an argument that Canadian mining in the Global South is Canadian internal colonialism writ large across the globe.

Dru Oja Jay (author of the Offsetting Resistance report) – “Offsetting Resistance – who are the environmental NGOs accountable to?” Offsetting Resistance examines the effects of foundation funding on resistance to clearcutting in the Great Bear Rainforest historically, and looks at the plans the same groups and funding bodies have for the tar sands. The presentation discusses the scenario of resistance diverted into closed-door negotations, ultimately resulting in a sellout deal. The question is raised: who are ENGOs accountable to?

Katie Harris – “E-waste Management Policy Development” Presently, province-by-province, Canadian e-waste policy is being written co-operatively by an interdisciplinary team of industry and government specialists. The team forms a not-for-profit corporation that is effectively writing the environmental policy and standards which they (as industry representatives) will be held accountable to. This approach is quite different from the stringent approach of the European Union (EU). My paper will provide a short synopsis of what e-waste is, and why it is such an important international environmental issue. I will then explore the current state of policy creation that Canada is undergoing for e-waste management practices, with a focus on the state of policy in Quebec. Finally, by comparing our process with that of the Conventions arrived at in the EU I will provide a critique of our national process as something that could be labeled as green-washing. Exploring the idea of e-waste, the benefits of public-private policy collaboration in Canada in comparasion with the EU is an empowering discussion, and is a creative idea I feel will fit well with the theme of the conference.

WORKSHOP – “Your Radio is a Bomb: the explosive power and potential of independent media”

Aaron Lakkoff – Independent News Journalist (from CKUT Radio)
This workshop will explore the revolutionary potentials and limitations of independent and community media. With a particular focus paid towards community radio, we will look at some of the turning points in the recent history of grassroots media, and try to draw inspiration to fuel our present-day struggles. This workshop will also look at research being done on the history of community radio, from the Bolivian miners’ stations to pirate radio in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Sunday, March 14th

@ 7th floor of Concordia University’s Hall Building
1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest (metro Guy-Concordia)
Montreal, QC

10h30 – 11h
Registration & Breakfast served by the People’s Potato

11h – 12h30
Cameron Fenton “Dam It! James Bay Hydro, land use and the myth of green power” With the global environmental consciousness fixated on climate change, hydro-power is being cheered as a low emissions energy source to fuel the future. Quebec is banking on its current and planned hydro developments to lead the province in a clean energy future, but at what cost? Hydro-Quebec has a long and sorted history with indigenous communities, especially in the James Bay territory, turning traditional lands into flood plains, fracturing forests and forcing provincial politics on the Cree and Inuit people who have inhabited the region for hundreds of years.

Gaby Pedicelli (from Journal of Prisoners on Prisons) – “Green Prisons” There are currently a number of prisons being built across Canada. In selling imprisonment to the public, officials describe the ‘green’ features of the facilities. This workshop will discuss how prison authorities are mobilizing liberal environmental discourses to justify the expansion of the carceral in our communities. In this session, we seek to develop strategies to resist this trend.

Diana Rivadeneira – “Are Fair-Trade and organic labels enough? The case of quinoa production in Bolivia” In this presentation we will explore the socio-economic and environmental implications that consumption patterns of quinoa have along the commodity chain (from producer to consumer).This will be supplemented with a brief analysis of how the meaning of quinoa as a commodity is constructed in Western society through the creation of an specific market and how this meaning differs from colonial-based Andean perceptions.

Catherine Delisle L’Heureux (from ACTION CN) – “Redéveloppement et embourgeoisement dans Pointe Saint-Charles : qu'est-ce qu'on veut pour le quartier?” Des citoyens se mobilisent face à un projet de redéveloppement résidentiel, industriel et ferrovière sur les terres du Canadian National (CN) dans le quartier Pointe St-Charles. Cette présentation s`intéresse particulièrement au phénomène d’embourgeoisement et aux divisions idéologiques et symboliques entravant la démarche participative entre les promoteurs du projet et les résidents du quartier.

12h30 – 13h30
LUNCH – served by the People’s Potato

Special lunchtime workshop – The “Recycling” of Prisoners

13h30 – 15h

Alexandra Matak (from TAPthirst) This presentation will contextualize problems associated with the bottled water industry in the global fight against privatization of fresh water resources. It will touch on environmental, health and monetary costs of the bottled water industry (which we believe to be one of the biggest scams of all time) as well as highlighting the human rights issues involved with privatization as a whole. We will offer a brief overview of the problems as well as some tangible solutions for individuals wanting to be in solidarity with the struggle to keep one of our most fundamental needs accessible for all people, everywhere.

Virginia Moore – “Urban Agriculture and Food Security in Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Montreal” Food insecurity is an habitual problem for many of the urban poor due to lack of access to and knowledge about healthy food. Action Communiterre, a nonprofit community gardening network in Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Montreal, is one organization attempting to mitigate this problem through urban agriculture initiatives. This presentation will discuss the degree to which this strategy appears to be successful

Joana Luz (presenting a CURE project) – “People’s Potato Demographics”
(description to come)

Faiz Abhuani (from le Frigo Vert) – “Food for thought: food politics beyond critique” Thoughts from an anticapitalist food store about food as folk and the folk of food. Issues discussed include eating culture, the recipe of food production (or, food economics for fools), fear and food as cannon fodder, and funny stories from a food store

WORKSHOP – “Subverting Higher Education – developing an environmental justice course”

Katheryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon and Asha Philar (from University of Waterloo) We will talk about the process of planning and facilitating an environmental justice course, at the university level. We will talk about challenges and successes we’ve encountered, how to start discussions about difficult topics in an environmental studies context, and share resources and ideas. We will also lead sample activities that we have used in the classroom.

15h – 15h15

15h15 – 17h
DISCUSSION – Closing Plenary

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