The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Seven Billion Kilogram Dilemma

Posted on November 27, 2014

WHEN THE LONDON FOOD BANK HAD ITS FIRST city-wide food drive back in 1986, we were told to expect between 40-50,000 pounds. We weren’t fully prepared for the over 200,000 pounds that came in. Those fire stations charged with receiving the donations were swamped and an extra warehouse had to be located to store all those supplies collected over 10 days. As a city, we were new to this kind of initiative and much of the food was past its due date. We heard from many folks that they just wanted to help and that they just cleaned out their cupboards and refrigerators of items that had been in their stocks for months. It was a lesson for all of us. For those of us…

Democracy’s Urban Face

Posted on November 25, 2014

SOME SERIOUS MOVEMENT AT LAST. During President Obama’s visit to China, it was announced that the two superpowers – the world’s largest economies, as well as the largest polluters on the globe – had reached an accord that would see the United States cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-2% before the year 2025. China signed on to peak its carbon emissions by 2030. In a world where climate change have fallen off the front page headlines, this is a significant move forward and is likely to resurrect global climate talks. Canada responded in that familiar fashion that has earned the scorn of many nations by saying it would attempt to link its plan to that of the U.S.. Sadly, there is no…

Is Reducing Financial Inequality Really Possible?

Posted on November 20, 2014

WE’VE TALKED ABOUT IT, ADVOCATED AGAINST IT, lived with it, and continually felt defeated by it. Despite the best efforts of millions of individuals and groups to tackle the glaring presence of financial inequality in our community, country, and the world, we can be forgiven for feeling no closer to solving it. We understand about the advances in technology, the challenges to employment, corporations that can shift their operations where they please, and the sheer magnitude of the capitalistic behemoth that stands astride the world appearing unshakable and unremorseful. We have emerged from the last economic recession (the worst since the Depression) and seemed to have learned little from its negative causes. Wealth continues to be moved upwards, to a few people who now…

For Millennials: Talk Meaning, Not Just Money

Posted on November 18, 2014

  AUTHOR ROBERT PUTNAM NOTICED SOMETHING INTERESTING back in 1993. He discovered that between 1980 and 1993, the total number of bowlers in America increased by 10%, while those participating in league bowling declined by 40%. Putnam used that illustration as something of a symbol for the transformation that was taking place in the United States and turned it into a book titled, Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital. For two decades now research has shown that on both sides of the 49th Parallel we are becoming more individualistic and less institutional. There are pros and cons to such a development, leaving some social commentators to conclude younger generations remain more focused on their own concerns than those of society at large. The Millennials…

To Our New Council, With Love

Posted on November 13, 2014

LONDON, ONTARIO, CAN BE FORGIVEN FOR FEELING some wind in its sails, despite having passed through some difficult years. We have a new mayor, a mostly new city council, and a new spring in our step. Feels good. Those who were elected have a passion for their city and it’s not hard to spot. We need sound leadership if we are to proceed. And, in their desire to lead, they’ll need to follow the leadership of the community if they are to make the difference they obviously seek. So, here is my prayer for all of you, the new team, based on the clear respect for your stepping forward and the awareness of the challenges you face. First, please keep yourself. I’ve had a…

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