Warming world will impact labour, writes York professor

Global warming may be the topic on everyone’s lips, but the silence about the future of work in a warming world is deafening, wrote Carla Lipsig-Mumme, professor of social science in York’s Faculty of Arts, in an opinion piece for the Toronto Star Feb. 1. The social flow-on from global warming will shake up the nature of work and the availability of employment for people in every country. In an era of uneven globalization, the impact of global warming is affecting every region, but it is not affecting all regions in the same way.

In poorer countries, volatile weather is endangering low-lying and coastal communities, threatening life, health and food supplies, as well as employment, wrote Lipsig-Mumme. This may create a chilly climate for foreign investment and the introduction of energy-wise technologies, almost certainly weakening the struggle for workers’ rights.

In the European Union, the "employment transitions" approach has triggered research and policy proposals, shop-floor action and creative energy auditing of workplaces by unions in the UK, Spain, Belgium and elsewhere.

Everywhere, the growth of small and medium-sized businesses poses a threat to changing the culture of energy use. In prosperous, climate-extreme countries like Canada, global warming threatens job loss in transport and energy- intensive industries, but opens the possibility of employment in new and technologically reorganized sectors – if only we are able to plan an integrated strategy of training, investment and representation for these sectors, wrote Lipsig-Mumme.

Global warming is changing what we produce and where within Canada we are able to produce it, as well as the technologies, training and worker representation we need. But within the public awakening to climate change, there is also an odd silence: Where is the debate about the future of work and employment? Since the need for employment is not going to disappear, Canada has a lot of questions to address.

The Star noted that Lipsig-Mumme is co-ordinator of the Labour Studies Program and founding director of the Centre for Research on Work and Society at York University.

Table-dancing cited by Kitchener as health risk

Strip-club patrons can look but not touch, wrote The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo) Feb. 1. In what they say is a bid to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, city staff have proposed a bylaw that would ban table-dancing in Kitchener’s two strip clubs.

In 1999 the country’s highest court had ruled lap dancing was not indecent as long as it was performed in a private cubicle. Allan Young, a lawyer and professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said the court decisions all involved criminal charges, not municipal law.

So municipal governments can get around the court decisions by passing bylaws to regulate the behaviour in strip clubs, even if that behaviour does not violate the Criminal Code, Young said. But cities have to be cautious not to infringe on the legal jurisdiction of the federal government.

Going to school on Sayles

About 80 film students and faculty members at York University gathered last week to hear American director John Sayles discuss his craft, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 1. The irony is that Sayles, director of 16 feature films, including his latest, which opens today, Honeydripper, has never attended a single day of film school.

“When I talk to film students I talk as practically as possible,” Sayles said. “I think if you’re going to make your first movie, in high definition or whatever, you’re going to have three or four or maybe five weeks to do it in. How do you organize yourself so that most of the time that you’re on the set you’re dealing with actors…not dealing with things that should have been dealt with before you got on the set?”

Arts group launches Toronto’s first Romanian film fest

A film retrospective of Romanian filmmakers being held by the ToRo Arts Group in Toronto on Feb. 1, will be hosted by York University professor and filmmaker Tereza Barta, and will also feature a discussion and Q & A-session with actor Jaime Elman, wrote Insidetoronto.Com Jan. 31.

“We invited Barta to host, because she has a close bond to the filmmaker and the film,” said an organizer. “She was on the jury in New York when he won for best short and that lead to his further success.”

York professor will speak at UBC’s Unruly Salon

Jody Berland, a humanities instructor in York’s Faculty of Arts, will deliver a paper March 8 at the University of British Columbia titled, "The Elephant in the Classroom: Forgetting and Remembering with Invisible Disabilities", wrote The Vancouver Sun Feb. 1. The reading is one of the events in Unruly Salon, a new series of talks and shows that explore disability, arts and culture.

St. Catharines art collective features York alumna

Maggie Groat, a graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and the youngest member of the St. Catharines-based art collective CRAM, will open her multi-media exhibit, Time and Space, today, wrote the St. Catharines Standard Feb. 1.

Time and Space includes video, light boxes, photographs and 35mm slides and examines the overlooked or in-between moments of captured photography. Groat, who lives and works in Toronto, received her bachelor of fine arts degree from York University in 2007. Time and Space will be on display until Feb. 25. The gallery is located on the second floor of 24 Janes St., and is open when the sandwich board is out or by appointment.

On air

  • Khurrum Awan (LLB ’07), a graduate of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and one of a group of Osgoode graduates pursuing a human rights action against Maclean’s magazine over an article they say was anti-Muslim, spoke about the issue on CTV News, Jan. 31.