October 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
On March 11, 2011, the Highland Companies — backed by a US hedge fund, the Baupost Group — applied for a license to excavate a quarry in southwestern Ontario, just north of Orangeville. The quarry would be the largest Canada has ever seen and span 2,316 acres. For those living in the area, this would be the equivalent of the area in Toronto from the Don Valley Parkway to Dufferin Street, and St. Clair Avenue down to Lake Ontario. Of particular importance is the destruction of precious Class 1 farmland, which would result from the excavation, as well as the impact to the water in the area. The proposed quarry would plunge 200 feet below the water table, which feed in the headwaters of five rivers. The result would be that 600-million-litres of water would need to be pumped from the mega quarry every day, in perpetuity.
What is especially disturbing is that this prime farmland was originally purchased with the stated intent of farming it. However, immediately upon consolidating ownership of the land, Highland Companies has turned around and promptly filed application for a mega limestone quarry; a quarry that will destroy the high-quality soil of Ontario’s farming heartland, disrupt the waters of 5 major rivers for generations to come, require water pumping generators to pump the water in perpetuity due to the permanent disruption of the underlying water table, and create immeasurable impact to the vast acres of neighbouring farmland, not to mention very real potential of pollution of the pristine water that currently serves over one million Ontario residents.
More information about this issue can be found at Canadian Chefs Congress.
In particular, on October 16th from 11am to 5pm, an event will be held where Chef Michael Stadlander and 70 other of Canada’s best Chefs will be cooking in solidarity with the movement to Stop the Mega Quarry. Be there to share the land and make a stand. Tickets are pay what you can and can also be bought either through the site, or at the event the day of. All proceeds will go towards assisting with the legal costs of fighting the Mega Quarry.
Thank you very much for reading this post, and do pass the word along. This land and water is ours. We have an opportunity to take a stand, so let’s take it.
December 29, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Last week on December 23rd, a lawsuit was filed against Apple for allowing the transfer of personal information through third party iPhone and iPad applications to advertising networks without the consent of the owners of the mobile devices. The complaint was filed by a Jonathan Lalo in a San Jose, California federal court according to reports from Bloomberg.
According to Mr. Lalo’s lawsuit, Apple’s mobile devices are equipped with “identifying devices” that allow advertising networks to track how users use available applications on their devices, which applications, and for how long. The lawsuit further claims that:
“Some apps are also selling additional information to ad networks, including users’ location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political views”.
Earlier in the month, the Wall Street Journal had also released reports relaying the prevalence of the information some applications are tracking and transmitting about their users. The WSJ had tested 101 applications for the occurrence of information tracking and transmission. What quickly became concerning was how many of the top, most popular apps fall into this category. (For a more detailed breakdown of the apps in question, see the WSJ blog.)
September 21, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Yesterday afternoon, Carrie James, Harvard research director, presented her findings of US youth online behavior around ethics at Mashable’s Social Good Summit. What Carrie found was interesting. Generally speaking, the youth she interviewed seemed to display little to no consideration of ethics in their behavior and interactions online.
This was a strong statement. So what did she mean by online ethics?
Ethics were defined by five areas of study, with a focus on the last one for the presentation: identity, privacy, ownership and authorship, credibility, and participation. Participation was the way youth interacted and behaved online in a way that on the one hand may involve hate speech in social forums and cheating in mass multi-player games, and on the other hand how youth may leverage social sites like Facebook only to circulate funny videos rather than sharing more serious ideas, struggles, and contributing to civic, political, and humanitarian causes. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 16, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been thinking a lot about personal ethics lately: our personal “way of being” that defines us, our actions, how we approach decisions, and ultimately how we treat others. We talk a lot about corporate social responsibility, but what about our personal social responsibility? What are we doing? How are we behaving? How far do we go?
A situation was shared with me recently, whereby a person’s decision to pursue one option would directly compromise their associate’s position. The relationship between the personal gain for the one was directly tied to the personal loss of the other. In this story, the person chose to proceed anyway. It made me consider what I would do in that circumstance. And it occurred to me that somewhere along the line, with the heightened complexities of the adult world, amongst pressures to perform in a job and provide for a family, some of the most basic principles of interpersonal behavior – and personal ethics – may have been forgotten.
It makes me think – perhaps everything we should know about ethics, we were taught in Kindergarten. We remember the principles of sharing, of playing nice, waiting our turn, being honest, and ultimately, of contributing to tasks, our micro-community and the collective well-being. We would care if something we did hurt Ramona’s feelings, and we would learn to apologize. Obviously, some situations are not so simple, but the same basic principles still apply. Would we teach our children to do as we do? Would we do, say or act in the same way in front of our children and grandchildren as we do away from them? If there’s a question – perhaps it shouldn’t be done. But maybe the problem is we’ve become so practiced at shutting down the voice inside that we no longer hear it – and all we see is what I need, what I want, what I think. And what’s lost are the needs, wants and thoughts of those around us.
Perhaps it’s an over-simplification, but it’s worth considering. Sometimes what the most complex problems need are the simplest of solutions – back to the basics.