Robyn Blumberg and Darielle Teitelbaum at the Lug-A-Mug OSC Initiative.
What a year it has been for the Sustainability Committee of the Environmental Law Society! Celebrating our annual green Obiter Dicta issue, we thought we would update you on our initiatives over the 2013-2014 school year.
In September, the Sustainability Committee established our foundation: five sub-groups that would direct our goals for the year. We created a Campus Connections group, Osgoode Bistro group, Osgoode Campus group, Events group, and the Sustainable Awareness group.
Campus Connections Group
As students, we seem to operate in an isolated Osgoode bubble from time to time. Though we clearly care about the larger environmental impact of our school on the community, we often forget that we are part of York University – an institution with thousands of other students who care about the environment. Many of these individuals are part of other clubs on our Keele campus with greater resources and manpower to effect change. It was our goal at the start of the school year to learn about the other groups on our campus and see how we could partner with them to achieve common goals.
A still from the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of Watch her.
If there are two words I cannot stand to see in print, they are “sublime” and “Kafkaesque”. There is nearly always a less pretentious way to achieve descriptive accuracy, and I’ve come to regard overreliance on those turns of phrase to be little more than laziness hidden beneath a thin veneer of pseudo-intellectualism – something I have little patience for in general. In light of this, I struggled to find adjectives that could replace these words in my review of the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of Watch her, and I’m only a little disappointed to say that I was unsuccessful.
Though I had seen my share of ballets before attending the March 1st performance of Watch her, I had never gone to a modern ballet. As a child, like most young dancers, I anxiously awaited my yearly trip to The Nutcracker (and was a little too old before I realized that the horse in the Christmas Eve party scene was not, in fact, real). I’ve seen Swan Lake more times than I care to admit, always looking forward to the Danse des petits cygnes (which I’m pretty sure is the ballet equivalent of saying that your favourite painting is the Mona Lisa). Apart from such standard fare, my familiarity with the ballet had been rather limited. It was with distinct enthusiasm, then, that I watched the lights of the Four Seasons dim as my first experience with modern dance began.
Last Thursday, two people were injured when an unidentified suspect fired a gun just west of York Lanes.
“I go to Osgoode, not York.” This reflexive clarification is a matter of pride for my classmates at York University’s storied law school. The urge to distance our degrees from the university brand is visceral. Last week, it was once again easy to see why. Late Thursday evening, a young woman was shot in the Student Centre. A bystander was injured by shrapnel. Canada’s third largest university went into lockdown. And an armed suspect remains at large.
Contrast these facts with the carefully wordsmithed statement of the university president, and you wouldn’t be alone in wondering if they were describing the same scenario. President Mamdouh Shoukri writes, “I would like to express my thoughts and concerns for our two students who were injured when a firearm was discharged on the evening of March 6th on our Keele campus.” The full text of the statement is accessible through a bland hyperlink on the university’s website entitled “Presidential statement about the incident on campus”. It was issued by email to the York community Friday morning, after many students, faculty, and staff, had already arrived at school, unaware of the horror that had transpired the night before.
Did you hear? One of the rings didn’t open.
How corruption in Russia, and the civil and political breakdown of the Ukraine have drowned the lingering high of the Olympics, and sobered the global community before the athletes had even returned home.
When the Olympics wrapped up in 2010, it seemed like the emotional high of Vancouver had wafted right across the country, leaving Canadians with a happy hangover we were all too content to let last for weeks. Canada had just broken the record for most gold medals at a winter Olympics, Crosby had put the Americans to bed with one of the all-time classic overtime goals, and an Olympics that had started with fears of too little snow ended with Canada’s best ever Olympic showing. Though the games were marred by the tragic death of an athlete, and local concerns over crowds and infrastructure, the event was largely seen as a success worthy of a few weeks of self-congratulation.
I see a lot of movies in theatre, but I rarely walk out of them thinking about how bad they were or about how I wish I hadn’t spent the money I paid to see them.
In the past year, only The Purge (one of the worst and most disappointing movies I have ever seen) and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson can legitimately go to hell for thinking it was reasonable to drag this one book out into three long – oh, so long – and boring movies that, when they are finished, will have robbed movie-goers of at least $36 over the course of three years) have achieved “That was an absolute waste of time and money” status.
This week’s theme is “Go Green.” Environmental law and related practice areas are extremely important to Osgoode, to Canada, and to the world. Just ask Al Gore. Unfortunately, at least one editor-in-chief of our esteemed editorial board knows nothing about environmental law, other than its incredible magnitude on our future. However, this editor does know something about going green. I’ll leave the legal opinions about oil sands, polar bears, food waste, rainforests, the commercialization of water, anything that happens in Alberta, and general matters of eco-justice to the experts. For us environmental law lay-persons, here is a summary of what is going on with “green.”
Green Bay Packers
For those of you who are football fans, you already know that the free agent frenzy begins March 11th. Continue reading
I’ve never cared much about whales, the coral reef, or polar bears. I’m an environmentalist, don’t get me wrong, and I know these are vital environmental issues, but I’m not engaging with them in what I would consider to be a meaningful way. Why? Because the goal of saving the entire planet not only sounds corny, it’s too grand and ambiguous a goal for any measure of success. So, I propose another approach.
As an environmentalist, especially working with the law, there is one realization I have made that is frustrating above all else: the very global focus that we have adopted when addressing environmental issues. Since environmental degradation seems like an inherently global problem (climate change refers to climates after all), it is understandable that we get caught up in a global perspective. But, what about small-scale environmental policy? Continue reading
Osgoode is set to compete this week in the International Law Student Mediation Tournament in Chicago. As a member of one of Osgoode’s teams, I received an email from Loyola University providing me with a few tips for my anticipated journey. They advised that “[i]n an effort to be eco-friendly[,] water facilities are available at Loyola,” and that “water bottles [would] not be.” They suggested we bring refillable bottles. With York, including Osgoode, having followed a similar initiative with the installation of hydration stations, is it time for the university to finally follow through and stop selling disposable bottles of water?
- Jonathan Hurter
The Big Chuck & Rings at Holy Chuck
This cold weather seems to be never-ending. So, comfort food was back on the menu in a big way this week. Hold onto your butts and give thanks, Osgoode. Meaty buns are front of mind in Midtown at Holy Chuck.
Venue: Holy Chuck – 1450 Yonge Street (just south of St. Clair station)
Food: Luke went for “The Big Chuck” ($10.99), which is HC’s take on a big mac, and rounded things out with some onion rings ($4.79). Pun acknowledged. Dan, avec gusto, dug into “Le Croissant du Paysan” ($12.99). Effectively a breakfast sandwich burger, the standard brisket patty also has French fries inside the sandwich along with bacon, cheese, and a fried egg! This tasty morsel is nestled between two toasted croissants dripping with maple syrup. Yikes. Just for fun he also got “Raging Bull” fries ($7.99), a basket of fries smothered in bacon, processed cheese, sauteed banana peppers and spicy gravy. Continue reading
In February, we introduced the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice’s (CFCJ) “Cost of Justice” project, a research initiative designed to determine the legal, economic, and social costs and benefits of pursuing, or not pursuing, justice. In an attempt to determine these costs, the project has numerous studies underway, some of which focus on regional and provincial issues, while some are national in scope. The National Justiciable Problems survey is the latter. This survey is a response to an expressed need for up-to-date, concrete information on justice system costs in Canada.
The need for evidence-based research on the cost of justice was identified as early as 1996, in a report by the Ontario Civil Justice Review, office of the Attorney General. Part of this report addressed economic costs facing civil litigants. It is disheartening to realize many of the issues identified in this report are still present in the justice system today. Some of these issues were a lack of control of costs in the legal system, unnecessary delays and complexity, and the perception that lawyers have an incentive to waste time and effort due to the “billable hours” system.