York expert calls for Caribbean regional sustainability

 While 96 million people of the Americas wallow in extreme poverty, David Bell, professor emeritus and former dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, has called for summit heads of government to see the global economic crisis as an opportunity to rethink existing economic operations, wrote The Trinidad Guardian on April 17, the opening day of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago.

Speaking at a private sector forum luncheon held at the Caribbean Princess cruise liner docked in Port-of-Spain, Bell said the global financial meltdown would provide the opportunity for genuine prosperity for the Americas.

He called for the creation of sustainable economies with more employment, reduction of waste and provision of products and services that meet basic needs for a population of over 6.5 billion. “We must reduce throughputs of energy and materials by factor of 10 or 20, reduce environmental impacts on forests, soil, air, biodiversity, water, oceans and contribute to environmental conservation and restoration,” Bell said. He explained that governments must also encourage sustainable consumption, ensure that companies are regulated to be socially responsible, while reducing transportation impacts for workers.

Bell said after several decades of reforms, the Americas are showing encouraging signs of progress. He said 96 million people in the Americas currently live in extreme poverty. “In Latin America, there were two million children out of school, 930,000 of these were girls. A further 22 million youths are neither working nor studying and some 3.2 million people in the Americas are infected with HIV/AIDS, while dengue, malaria, Chagas disease and tuberculosis continue to be a major health challenge,” Bell said.

York student joins overnight protest by Tamils

Thousands of defiant Tamil protesters kept a busy section of University Avenue blocked for a second straight night, with police saying they would be there at least until rush hour this morning and some in the crowd warning they would be there for days, wrote the Toronto Star April 28.

Genit Jeyakanthan, who stayed overnight Sunday, said yesterday: “Canada has taken a leadership role in other situations like this. They have to take action.” The 23-year-old York University student said many people in the crowd brought their children to the protest and were missing work so they could attend. “I don’t understand why Canada doesn’t see the importance of this cause.”

Greater Toronto is home to the largest Tamil community outside Sri Lanka, where a 25-year-old civil war has become even bloodier in recent months. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting, wrote the Star.

Jazz instructor wants larger audiences at indie performances

Jazz pianist Richard Whiteman, an instructor in the Department of Music in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, has a simple wish: to get more people out to see live music, wrote Toronto’s Town Crier April 27. While big-name performers gracing the stages of such venues as the Air Canada Centre have no problem attracting legions of fans, Whiteman would like to see more people supporting indie musicians in smaller settings, like the local bar or a summer music festival.

“In Toronto’s music scene, there are a lot more musicians than there are opportunities to play,” Whiteman says. “I try to encourage people to support live music as much as possible.”

The 20-year music industry veteran performs around the GTA regularly with his trio, which includes a bassist and a drummer. His love of jazz piano began as a child when his parents encouraged Whiteman and his sister to take lessons, he says.

Pan Am bids delayed

The delay in lodging bid books for the 2015 Pan Am Games due to the swine fever outbreak in Mexico gives the Toronto bid team a chance to polish its presentation of the athlete village, whose location was revealed on Sunday – the West Don Lands, east of downtown Toronto, on the shore of Lake Ontario, wrote The Globe and Mail April 28. It was the front-running stand-alone site, though bid organizers had explored using dormitory space at York University in Toronto and McMaster University in Hamilton.

Volleyball player takes men’s CIS athlete of the year award

University of British Columbia swimmer Annamay Pierse and University of Alberta volleyball player Joel Schmuland were named Canadian Interuniversity Sport female and male athletes of the year at the 17th annual BLG Awards in Toronto on Monday night, wrote the Ottawa Citizen April 28. Other male nominees included York University soccer player Francesco Bruno.

On air

  • Yvonne Bohr, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, spoke about her study of Chinese-Canadian children who are sent back to China to be raised by grandparents, on Radio Canada International’s “The Link” April 27.