we drifted back
through the apartment,
retracing our twin trails
of pants and socks
sweaters and jeans
boots and belts
until we were
as we were
Since reading “Plastic Ocean,” I have been contemplating small ways in which I can change my own habits to help save the daily avalanche of plastics into our precious marine environment.
I have decided to start by eliminating, if possible, my use of micro plastic bags; they are the ones we use to carry different kinds of vegetables from the produce shelf to the cashier. These bags end up by the ton in the ocean and do not degrade rapidly in that environment. They float in the sea, mimicking the look of jelly fish, favourite food of many predators, and thus end up clogging the stomachs of those at the top of the food chain.
This morning I had to buy carrots. I like to buy loose carrots, which already saves one layer of packaging, and this time I put five carrots in a small compostable paper bag set aside for use with mushrooms. When I got to the cashier, I made sure the carrots were visibly sticking out of the bag. I saw her hesitate and said, “They are carrots”. “Oh,” she said and picked up the bag and looked at the carrots. Finally realizing that the paper bag did not contain mushrooms, she made a correction to her automatic entry, and smiled.
“Don’t need the plastic,” I said. “Right,” she said.
The whole transaction came to 75 cents, and lessons learned.
I did not attend the Grandview Community Plan Citizens’ Assembly Workshop this past Saturday, but reports from several sources indicate that, with the election out of the way, the powers that have predetermined the developer-friendly result bared their teeth; and upset many in the process.
It was, as one correspondent described it, just another case of “manufacturing consent,” with large numbers of City staff “facilitating” conversation into the channels they wanted. A number of people noted that the “facilitators” either refused to put comments on the sheets, or re-interpreted them in ways that were clearly not meant by the commenter. Apparently complaints about these actions were made at the time to City planner Andrew Pask, but matters were not corrected.
Correspondents found the experience “frustrating” and “extremely unsatisfying”, and another was “horrified”. Some thought they were being “buffaloed,” and several used the term “set up.” At least one member of the Assembly has seriously questioned their continuing with the project because they are so angry about Saturday’s obvious atempts to steer the “consensus”.
Clearly, as some of us have claimed from the begining, there is an already-agreed end point for the Plan (“Emerging Directions” Plus), and these sessions are just a front to claim that some form of community engagement was undertaken. Why would comments be denied or rewritten if this is not the case? Why not report everything?
The election results showed Vision, their developer cronies, and their pals in the Vancouver Planning Department, that they have four more years to pillage the City regardless of neighbourhood complaints. Who will remember a few grumbles from the Eastside today when the next election rolls a round in 2018?
The farce continues.
Previous Grandview-Woodland Community Plan posts.
One afternoon, we went to an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It was entitled “Truth Beauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945” and, as expected, covered the pictorialist camera movement from the early days through to two images by that great anti-pictorialist Ansel Adams.
It was a large exhibition with much to see. Like many of these things, I found images I liked and many that I didn’t care for. I’m sure this was the largest selection of pictorialist images I have ever seen in one afternoon and it certainly allowed one to see the essence of the movement: There is a flatness of light and a deliberate staging, there is soft focus, often to a detrimental level, and an importance given to the type of process used to deliver the print. In fact, for me, the most interesting room was devoted to development processes and how they altered the final image.
In the end, there are a few images that will stay with me. But it reminded me all too often that a badly composed dark image with soft focus doesn’t deserve a place on the wall of a gallery just because it was produced in 1910. I am not at all surprised that Steiglitz and the others in Photo-Secession and other groups quickly moved away from pictorialism.
First published in February 2008