By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
Fair trade and Fairtrade. What is the difference? Fairtrade is used by the FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organization) in order to identify the certification that certain products have met Fairtrade standards.
Fair trade refers to the notion and the system in general of fair trade.
Fair trade organizations follow a set of “fair trade standards”. These standards determine the minimum amount of money producers must be paid for the products they trade. Other standards that apply include the payment of fair wages to employees and providing a safe and healthy work environment.
How do I even begin to mention all the wonderful things that fair trade organizations do around the world? Fair trade organizations are responsible for improving the lives of workers and producers in developing countries.
Popular fair trade products include fruit, coffee, chocolate, cotton, clothing, jewellery, bags and shoes. Not to mention many more products sold from suppliers around the world.
According to FLO statistics “There are now 827 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in 58 producing countries, representing over 1.2 million farmers and workers.”
Fair trade began in the 1940′s when the first Ten Thousand Villages was created. A woman named Edna Ruth Byler, went to Puerto Rico and discovered women sewing beautiful lace. Despite their magnificent products, these women lived in poverty. Edna took the products back to the United States and began to sell them at church and at fairs. She then would go back and return the money to these women directly thus creating the first fair trade transactions. Her work would eventually become Ten Thousand Villages, the largest fair trade retailer in North America.
At Windermere, we have had our share of fair trade products available for sale. For example, the Cafe Etico coffee sold last year was fair trade. Many different speakers came in to talk to students about different issues within Fair trade organizations. Cafe Etico buys coffee at fair prices from farmer associations in Latin America. Something unique about Cafe Etico is that they buy coffee directly from fair trade associations. This is important because this enables small-scale farmers to sell their coffee to large overseas markets.
Other fair trade organizations include: Oxfam Canada, Equiterre, Transfair Canada, and more.
Historically, the production of bananas has been particularly exploitative for workers. Thankfully you can now buy fair trade bananas in Vancouver and I urge everyone to try and buy fair trade products and support the fair trade system.
By: The Interthugs
Although it’s a month late, Happy New Year, guys! Anyway, since a new year, this means it’s time for … a new year full of new gadgets and new technology coming our way! Of course, we can’t tell you all of the neat new things flying onto the shelves, but we’ll show you what we think are in the top five new gadgets for 2011. Enjoy!
1. Blackberry Playbook
Let’s start this off with RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry Playbook. Now, what is the BlackBerry Playbook, you might say? This device is a new, iPad-esque tablet designed by RIM, who also manufactures one of the top smartphones out on the market today. The Playbook is much smaller than its rival, the iPad, though apparently comfortable to hold and very fast. However, similar to the iPad, the Playbook is operated almost completely through a touch screen, with very few physical buttons to trigger volume, power and video features like play and pause.
In my opinion, I think this explosion of tablets is a bit much. Not only is BlackBerry making a tablet, but Microsoft is rumoured to be working on one, along with HP and Google. Does anybody even know what a real tablet is anymore?
A tablet isn’t exactly a funky little iPod Touch on steroids with gigantic apps and Retinal Display. Sorry, Apple lovers. Tablets can be separated into Graphics Tablets and Tablet PCs. Tablet PCs are any sort of computer with a legitimate operating system and usually include a stylus to be used on the touch screen. Most teachers at Windermere use these types of tablets. A graphics tablet is usually connected to the computer through a USB cord. You do not see the screen on the tablet’s ‘active area’, though if you create a stroke on the tablet, the same motion will be simulated on the computer screen. Artists use these for digital paintings, though most professionals use Cintiqs; graphics tablets with a display on the tablet itself.
2. 3D TV
These days, 3D has begun to dominate at movie theatres. When you head to the cinema, intent on catching the newest Pixar flick or latest action-adventure-thriller, you’ll probably be faced with option of viewing in 3D or not. Now you can bring the 3D experience home with you, glasses and all–that’s right, 3D TV’s are here for your viewing pleasure right in the comfort of your own home. At this point, you will still need to wear the ever-stylish pair of 3D glasses to fully enjoy the experience of having those vivid images pop right out at you, but Toshiba plans to release large autostereoscopic televisions (you won’t need glasses) sometime later this year. Companies that have already released TVs with the ability to view shows in 3D include Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung. Something interesting to note on, though, is that companies have been tinkering with the idea of 3D technology a long time ago; in 2004, Sharp already had a 3D computer monitor available.
Personally, if I had the option of buying one, I don’t think I would. For one, I don’t know how long I could stand wearing those glasses every single time I wanted to watch something, especially since I run the risk of a serious headache afterwards. I also like to leave the 3D experience at the theatre when I go home, because it gives me something to look forward to next time I want to go to the movies. However, I think 3D TVs are great for any film fanatics who really want to watch certain movies the way they were meant to be viewed, as well as for anyone else who wants to liven up their programming.
If you thought 3D TV was cool, how about 3D gaming? At E3 2010 (electronic entertainment expo), Nintendo was able to show off the next in their handheld console line, the 3DS. Utilizing the aforementioned technology of autostereoscopy, these visuals do not require the use of glasses to view the 3D effects, which is a point that Nintendo emphasized heavily during their presentation. However, if you’d rather get your game on without the illusion, you can easily turn off the 3D with a switch; another button new to the handheld console will be the addition of an analog stick, or “Slide Pad” as Nintendo’s website calls it. What’s more is that the console will come with three cameras, one just above the top screen for self-photos, and two cameras on the exterior. With these two cameras, the 3DS actually allows you to take your own 3D pictures.
Just like with 3D television, I find that the idea of 3D and 3D gaming is cool, but I also find myself wondering why the new trend is for everything to be in 3D. If you think about it, all you really need to do if you want to see things in 3D is to open your eyes; isn’t everything already in three dimensions? Despite that, I hope to be able to at least try the console out for myself when it comes out before I make any more judgements, since it does sound like a lot of fun, especially considering some of the games lined up for release. Kid Icarus: Uprising was the first game announced, with Paper Mario, DJ Hero, and Kingdom Hearts titles to be released later on.
4. iPhone 5
Apple’s done it again! Another brand new iTouch-turned-phone is coming to stores this year, with a rumoured release of Summer 2011. There has been a lot of speculation concerning the brand new features of this fifth gen iPhone. For example, the 16 or 32 GB iPhone 4 will have a nice, spacy 64 GB iPhone 5 to add to its repertoire. Also, the fifth iPhone will have a sleeker design, along with a new operating system and an 8 megapixel camera. Pretty much, everything iPhone 4 had, but better.
If you ask me, I think that there are way too many generations of the iPhone. Of course, upgrading and updating is nice, but do we really need a new iPhone every single year? Maybe if Apple takes it slow and takes their time to work on the next release, it would be even better. All in all, I’m not excited for the iPhone 5. More like I’m thinking ‘Hello, iPhone 5! Why are you still here? You should be dead.’ But then again, companies will always keep making and designing new products as long as people buy them, right?
5. HTC Desire
Ahh. I’m sure that most people that are savvy in smart phones have at least seen an HTC Desire. Maybe when you were browsing your favourite phone selling store, you laid eyes on it and fell in love. This Android phone has a large and sharp screen and nice sound quality. The Desire is said to be the cousin to the Nexus One by Google because of its very similar appearance, though the Desire has more RAM than the Nexus. The Nexus also has a second, noise cancelling microphone on the back while the Desire does not.
I would love to be the owner of an HTC Desire, really. The manufacturing is sleek and nice, and the Android software is a dream come true. I have tried it out at Future Shop, but I wasn’t able to look around for long. Some say that it’s much better than the iPhone, and the Desire is simply something to be desired. Honestly, I think that they’re right.
So, for all you techno-geeks or lovers of all things electronic, that’s our list of top 5 nifty gadgets to look forward to this year. Although you may not be able to get your hands on one for yourself, we hope that you’ll at least be able to check them out. Even if you don’t like some of them as much (like us), it might be worth your while just to give it a go and try out some of the impressive technology behind these devices.
Websites to search for free dollars to finance your post-secondary education.
Apply to :
1. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. and Yukon’s High School Summer Research Program for Gr. 11 students who are interested in Biology or Medicine. Deadline is April 15. www.heartandstroke.bc.ca/hssrp.
2. Kindness Foundation of Canada Nadine Marshall Scholarship: $1000 to Gr. 12 students to assist in their post-secondary education. Criteria: students who are inspired by a vision of a kinder world and have character, commitment, compassion. Deadline March 31.
3. The Gulf Islands Film and Television School Contest to win a full tuition scholarship to their school. Create a three minute video or write an essay. www.GIFTSfilms.com/whymediamatters. Deadline is May 15.
4. Triumf High School Fellowship. $3000 and a six week summer research experience at TRIUMF. For graduating students with a passionate interest in science to purse a career in the sciences, especially physics. Requires nomination from the school. Deadline is March 31. www.triumf.ca/outreach/high-school-fellowship.
5. Miller Thomson Foundation – 2011 National Scholarship Program. 100 entrance scholarships of $3,000. Criteria: Gr. 12 students, overall GPA of 87%, planning to pursue a degree or diploma, contribution to school through extracurricualar activities, community service. www.millerthomson.com
. Deadline is March 1.
By: Nicole Yu, Grade 10
Have you ever read your horoscope? Maybe it was in the Province, or the Vancouver Sun, or maybe in this newspaper that you’re holding right now. Let’s say that your birthday is September 29th, making you a Libra. Well, some may tell you that you are wrong, wrong, WRONG! As of January 13th, 2011, you are NOT a Libra! You would be a Virgo! Why is this? That’s because… um… some astrologists said so! And the sky’s moving… yeah! Also, if you were a Sagittarius, you are now an Ophiuchus! What’s that? Why is this happening! I hate science, and astrology is totally stupid! Right?!
No. Here’s a nice tidbit of information to calm people’s nerves. There are actually two zodiacs: the sidereal zodiac and the tropical zodiac. Most astrologers in the west use the tropical zodiac, which has not changed at all. This is because the tropical zodiac is based on where the sun was compared to the constellations, back when the Babylonians discovered them. For example, the sun comes to the first degree of Aries on the first day of spring, thus marking the first day of the Aries zodiac sign. The tropical zodiac is designed to stay based on where the constellations were 3000 years ago so it will never change, unlike the sidereal zodiac. This zodiac system is based off the constellations, and alters as they seemingly ‘move’ because of the Earth’s ‘wobbling’ axis. Both zodiacs were created at the same time, though the sidereal changed while the tropical did not.
Of course, galaxies are always moving; stars shifting and planets tilting as they revolve around their stars. This is the same for Earth. The Babylonians observed the constellations, which became visible, one by one as the year went on. These constellations were the zodiac signs. Each zodiac sign is visible for 30 degrees of the Earth’s revolution, for a total of 12 signs in 360 degrees. And as you should know, the Earth rotates on a tilt, thus causing the seasons. However, that tilt has wobbled a tiny bit in the since the Babylonians created the zodiac signs 3000 years ago. Because of this, the dates where the constellations appeared for the sidereal zodiac changed by almost a month. That is why your zodiac sign is ‘different’ now. But really, it did not change at all, because we use the tropical zodiac. And of course, the good ol’ tropical zodiac hasn’t been altered at all.
And what’s this about Ophiuchus? The thirteenth sign, Ophiuchus, was discovered by the Babylonians back when they established the zodiac signs. However, they only wanted to make 12 zodiac signs, so they did not use Ophiuchus. Recently, in 2009, the Ophiuchus constellation reappeared and became visible once more along with the other zodiac constellations. Only now have astrologers made it public that they have added this thirteenth sign to the zodiac, but by carefully using the right words to make a gigantic fuss about it and causing panic to everyone across the nations. And even if you were following the sidereal zodiac, calm down. The change in dates won’t even affect you, assuming you were born before 2009, which is when Ophiuchus was officially added to the sidereal zodiac.
It’s funny how a silly little fact spirals out of control, and we have people complaining, freaking out, spazzing about how the tattoo on their back isn’t what it’s supposed to be; all this pandemonium just from some less-than-carefully phrased words. See? It isn’t that bad, right? This is like the Chilean earthquake last year. Scientists said that the earthquake was so powerful, that it rocked the Earth off its axis, ergo, the days became shorter. What they didn’t mention is that the days were shorter by about a couple decimal nanoseconds and that everyone should stay calm and relax. These days, things are engineered to spark controversy everywhere. Hopefully in the future, people will learn to check their facts and get them straight before spreading false information all over the place.
By: Winnie Liang, Grade 11
As if the “Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch” isn’t bad enough already, similar garbage patches can be found in the Mediterranean Sea, the historic heart of western civilization. Plagued by trash for years, the Mediterranean is now covered with more than 250 billion pieces of plastic. This is equivalent to nearly 500 tonnes of garbage. Yet, the body of water that carries so much garbage also forms the northern and western borders of a number of Middle-eastern countries, and from which many people depend on to earn their livelihoods from fishing, tourism, and other activities.
The research work is completely done by Mediterranean EnDangered (MED), an international organization dedicated to the protection of the Mediterranean Sea. Its marine biologists surveyed the water off France, northern Italy, and Spain to a depth of up to 15 centimeters in July, 2010. Most of the plastic particles found were microscopic, each weighing 1.8 milligrams or less. These particles of micro-debris are smaller than 5 millimeters in size and are often missed in coast clean-ups. As these particles mix in with plankton, they are ingested by small fish which in turn are consumed by larger predators. And by this I mean that they could very well wind up in our own dinner plates.
When you throw out your garbage, you want it gone. Yet, the garbage is now coming back to haunt us, poisoning us by hiding in the food we eat. Floating between Japan and Hawaii is an island of plastic materials the size of Texas. In the Mediterranean Sea is the storehouse of 250 billion pieces of equally poisonous plastic waste. They were both created by the human addiction to plastic. We have reached an era when it dominates our daily lives. It now seems plastic is as important to us as air and water. Sure enough, this magical creation of man brings much convenience to us by providing us with plastic food wrappers, plastic bags, plastic water bottles, etc, etc. However, more than 180 marine species, including seals and tortoises, are paying for our unconstrained use of this unsustainable material. Their absorption of plastic debris can cause death by suffocation or starvation because their breathing or digesting system is blocked.
MED’s research last year had only focused on the surface waters. New research missions in 2011 are expected to give scientists a better understanding of the plastic crisis. Meanwhile, there is already some progress in lowering people’s dependency on plastic; Italy has recently made a decision to completely abolish the use of plastic bags. This sets an example for the other Mediterranean countries and the rest of the world. If all come together in this movement, the amount of plastic going out to the sea will significantly reduce.
By: Valerie Wong, Grade 12
Macleans magazine published an article in November describing the enrolment controversy in Canada; an article better tag-lined as “too Asian”. It attempts to delve deep into the issue of universities and other post-secondary institutions in the U.S. limiting the enrolment of Asian students in order to maintain an artificially high record for Caucasian student enrolment. The article addresses the concerns that this phenomenon may be spreading to Canadian schools. First and foremost, I pose this question to the readers: what does it mean to be ASIAN?
The word “Asian” is used to describe many things. Firstly, it is a common term (used in Canada) to describe people whose ethnic backgrounds trace back to nations in Asia, mostly the Eastern parts. In the last couple of years, the usage of the word has shifted from describing one’s ethnic background to that of a description of someone who is also overtly studious, eats rice at every meal, is a strong advocate of chopsticks etc. Accompanying the humorous connotations that come with being “Asian” are elements of social stigma. As well, Asians are often included as the punch-lines for jokes. Your momma’s so fat – she’s got more chins than a Chinese phonebook!
Jibes like these reflect a poor image of Canada, where racism and prejudice still exists. Frankie Mao, a 22-year-old Arts student at UBC, recalls an encounter with a “Canadian” mother who told him that he was the reason her son wasn’t accepted to a university. He also states that the mother went on to comment that “all the immigrants in the country are taking up university spots”. Robert Sweet, a retired Lakehead University professor, conducted a study to determine the pathways of high school students after graduating. The study reported that immigrant students from East Asia produced the highest percentage of students continuing on to university at 70 percent, while Europeans followed with 52 percent.
These statistics show us where some of the prejudice, as exampled above, comes from. Asians are more likely to enroll in university. It’s part of the Asian culture; Chinese parents, specifically, instil in their children at a young age the importance of a university education, as it opens up more economic opportunities in the future. The underlying vibe of Asian culture emphasizes studying and working hard – all to achieve economic stability as well as success. Going back to the previous example: how could a person blame an Asian person for working hard when that’s all they’ve been taught since they were young? Cultural differences like these have resulted in balkanization within universities. Students have split off into their own social and ethnic cliques. This only adds to the notion of a school being “too-Asian”. What better way is there to enforce the impact of a school’s Asian population than when they all congregate at once?
I ask this question: Why should students be judged and admitted based on their ethnicity instead of their high school transcripts? In this case, I believe that it’s not who you are that matters, it’s what you do. If you get good grades and volunteer a lot, you should be admitted based on that.
Let’s face the facts. Schools being referred to as “too Asian” are just ridiculous. How many Asians students must be enrolled to qualify as “too Asian”? It’s true that some universities might have higher Asian student enrolment but there are also universities where the numbers are not as prevalent. In the Macleans article, Alexandra (name changed), a girl described as looking “like a girl from an Aritzia billboard”, chose to attend the University of Western Ontario instead of the University of Toronto. She explained her decision based on the fact that UT has a “reputation of being Asian”. In other words, the school’s academic reputation was a turnoff for both her and her brother. Her choice was a common one among her peers and upperclassmen.
Here’s what I propose: being “too-Asian”, although sometimes said in a joking manner, should be transitioned into its truly humorous roots. Schools in the U.S. are using reports of being “too-Asian” as a weapon toward justifying their limitations on Asian student enrolment, which might rub off on Canadian institutions. Let’s give being “too-Asian” a new definition. Instead of being used to characterize areas or institutions with high populations of Asians, here’s what it should only be used to describe a person who:
- Is a very studious person that is very serious about school OR
- Is excessively good at video-games OR
- Is exceedingly skilled at Math or Science OR
- Eats too much rice OR
- Knows about twenty different ways to incapacitate someone with nothing but a pair of chopsticks
By: Kaitlyn Fung, Grade 10
Revolutionary United Front, or RUF, for short; what does that name suggest to you? The first word, “revolutionary,” seems to imply that there is great change taking place, while the word “united” is synonymous with “combined.” The last word “front” seems to refer to a movement or campaign. Strung together, all these words create a definition along the lines of “a group fighting together for something completely different.”
Does that seem familiar? It should be, because it’s a thought that surrounds us every day. You can find it in the political parties of the countries around the world, all competing to promise things to their people. You can see it in all the environmental activists demanding a sustainable future, as well as in the homosexual community advocating for their legal and social acceptance. It can even be found in the groups of students fighting for their education to be properly funded. Most of those are all problems of today, though; what about before that? This idea is not new. In fact, it is an idea seen constantly throughout our world’s history. In the past, women had fought for their right to vote (and by extension, their equality), and the poor peasants in the 17th-century France eventually rose up to fiercely protest for their starvation. People had always been fighting for change; the Revolutionary United Front is just another example from the past.
The original ideal of the RUF was to bring equality to their people, as they claimed that the government was greedily managing Sierra Leone’s rich mineral resources (particularly diamonds) while the rest of the country rotted in poverty. It sounded like a good cause; “No More Slaves, No More Masters. Power and Wealth to the People.” was the slogan put out by these rebels. They planned to overthrow the corrupt government. It must be ironic, then, that the rebels quickly became interested only in gaining power and controlling the diamond industry, just like the corruption they had initially fought against. Now there were two power-hungry groups looking to dominate Sierra Leone, which only set the stage for massive conflict.
The RUF first made their move to overthrow their country’s corrupt government in March 1991. Invading from Liberia, they violently attacked the towns bordering the two countries, with former army corporal Foday Sankoh as leader. Sankoh was following the example of Charles Taylor, who had overthrown former Liberian president Samuel Doe the same way in 1989. They killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children and displaced about half the population, sending many to refugee camps and neighbouring countries. Easily crushing any weak government troops sent out to stop them, their unstoppable conquest continued until 1995, when they were almost at Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown. It was then that the government hired EO (Executive Outcomes was a South African military company) mercenaries to counter the rebels. Additionally, the Kamajors (local Mende hunters as militia) were also instrumental in successfully repelling the RUF. After a failed peace agreement in 1996 and a few effective interventions by ECOMOG troops (the joint armies of multiple African countries) in 1998, the civil war seemed to drag on endlessly. In January 1999, the rebels captured Freetown, leaving many civilians devastated or killed. However, on July 7 of that same year, the Lomé Peace Accord was signed by Sankoh. Foday Sankoh and other members of the RUF were given positions within the government that they didn’t hold for long once RUF forces swiftly broke the agreement. It wasn’t until January 18, 2002 (after British intervention and disarming the disbanded rebels) that the war was officially declared over by Sierra Leone’s president.
With the war (just over a decade long) finally over, you would think that it no longer affects anyone. Yet, the RUF left a lasting impression on the world in various ways, notably evident in their trademark practice of amputating limbs. As they went across the country in their horrific campaign, the rebels not only killed a great deal of people, but they maimed them, too. With elections planned for a new government during the 90’s, citizens were told that “the future was in their hands,” so the RUF chopped off hands to stop people from voting. Using machetes and axes, they frequently amputated feet, legs, arms, and hands of thousands, including children. Sometimes they didn’t, though. Instead, one might be kidnapped and turned into a child soldier. Given cocaine and other drugs, child soldiers were made to do atrocious acts of killing and maiming. Young girls were often taken as sex slaves in addition to being child soldiers. While some have escaped or been freed, all are left traumatized by what they have witnessed and done.
With all the activities it undertook during the civil war, there is still a missing piece to the puzzle, which is how the RUF was able to fund all of its efforts. The answer to that lies within the land of Sierra Leone; the rebels, or more appropriately, the people they kidnapped, mined diamonds to sell for weapons. These diamonds were infamously termed conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds. It was odd, because Sierra Leone was ranked the poorest country in the world at the time. This was most likely due to the immense amount of smuggling these diamonds underwent to countries where they could be illegally certified. These diamonds became an extremely controversial topic during the late 90’s, when their existence gradually began to be revealed through the media. When shoppers discovered that their favourite jewellery stores were supplied by companies (De Beers being the biggest one) who knowingly bought these stones, they were outraged at the unacceptable exploitation of the source countries and their people. The Kimberley Process, started in 2000, was created in hopes of preventing blood diamonds from entering the mainstream diamond market.
Indeed, the effects that the RUF had had on their country and the world still linger today. The masses of amputees and child soldiers left scarred by the conflicts are all dark reminders of that turbulent war. Foday Sankoh was never formally punished for his actions, though, but died quietly in jail in 2003. Three other prominent rebel leaders within the RUF had not been sentenced until February 2009. The failed RUF political party that formed after the peace accord eventually merged with the All People’s Congress in 2007. Despite all that, it seems as though they were able to live up to what their name represented: a group of people fighting for things to be completely different. While they may not have achieved all the things they had set out to do, the Revolutionary United Front had indubitably managed to turn thousands of lives upside down during the course of Sierra Leone’s civil war, and beyond
By: Cassandra Ly, Grade 12
It’s a weekday afternoon and you go down to the local supermarket to pick up some chicken for dinner. You take a look at the prices and the wide variety of brands that are available for you in the meat aisle. You also catch the expiry date before making your choice. You pick up the plastic-wrapped tray containing five pieces of chicken breast with the best-before date…eight days in the future. To you it’s acceptable, but what the label is not telling you is that it has been re-wrapped. Recently, trays of numerous meats at a Real Canadian Superstore in Coquitlam were discovered to have been given new best-before dates. Think again: Are you going to pick up that tray now?
A frequent customer by the name of Roidon Lamb is shocked by the finding and contacted CTV after a hidden-camera investigation caught employees rewrapping salmon steaks. What does this mean for all meats then? Are they all re-wrapped? Are all best-before dates extended beyond the original time? As Roidon continued to question the freshness and, most importantly, the health effects of the meat, the employee that was asked mentioned that it will be okay as long as they are stored in the fridge. At the Superstore in Richmond, salmon steaks were stamped with a best-before date seven days into the future.
If you consider the freshness of all foods, even other Metro Vancouver butchers and Food Specialists approve that eight days is a very long time. Aaron Pighin, a butcher at the Windsor Quality Meats located on Main street, mentioned that chicken is best moved in about two days’ time…and definitely not eight. Superstore defended its name by stating that their shelf-life frequently goes through “microbial testing and sensory evaluation.” However, this isn’t enough to fully know whether the meat is fresh enough and sanitary to consume. According to the government, store managers are their own judges in regards to the freshness of the meat; in other words, no packaged-on and best-before dates are required.
This changes the way we view meats at big-chain supermarkets, like Superstore. The livelihood of people could be greatly affected. Roidon Lamb is hoping to see a push for regulations for both packaged-on and best-before date labels on all meats. So, now, before you take that tray of chicken breast to the check-out, look at the best-before date, question and consider if that time is appropriate for consumption.
By: Nicole Yu, Grade 10
Over the years, I’ve noticed how much quieter the Skytrain or the bus is. Not because of fewer people using the public transit system… but because all of the people plopped down in their seats are either listening to their mp3 players or texting. Sometimes, scattered people will be calling their friends, but that’s not very likely nowadays. Ten years ago, the cars of the train would be packed with people, split into groups. Friends would talk and chat about the latest gossip or sports. Even if most people sat alone, it was still noisier back then compared to now.
Back to the people on the Skytrain; iPods, gaming systems or cell phones clutched tightly in their hands. Almost all of these people will be booting up their computer or turning on the TV once they get home. Some will start using both, and most wouldn’t be turning either device off anytime soon. As the evening goes on, at least one phone call will have reached the house. Whoever was the closest to the nearest phone would have most likely dropped everything and booked it to the phone as soon as possible. Because we can’t miss a phone call, right?
The point is that we tend to rely on technology a bit too much. Remember my last article, ‘Addicted to Technology?’ Wouldn’t you think that perhaps we may be far more than just ‘addicted’, but maybe even ‘slaves’ to technology? Just think. How many times do you use technology in a day? With most teenagers owning cell phones, computers, TVs, gaming systems and iPods, that number most likely has two digits, or more. Some don’t even think that they’ll be able to survive without their phone or iPod. But remember, there was a time before all of these devices barged through into our lives.
Imagine today, 25 years ago. The first PCs were just recently invented, one by IBM, two by Apple and an OS by Windows. Back then, there was no email, instant messaging and there definitely wasn’t Facebook. A cellular network was established in the United States for the first time three years ago, but not many people used them. They preferred to use the phones that they had at home. Instead of wasting the day away chatting with friends on Facebook, they instead wasted the day away talking with their friends in person. Back then, you didn’t rely on technology for entertainment. Teenagers would go out to eat, or hang out at the park, or go watch a movie.
As the years went by, many services and such handled by humans became dominated by machines. For instance, most products are manufactured by machines, compared to the workers assembly lines back then. Many people have also left it to the internet to tell them the latest news about current events, instead of a newspaper. Email is replacing snail mail to the point where most of a household’s mail only consists of bills. Sometimes, packages may find their way to someone’s house since the recent boom of online shopping. Sure, technology is helpful to us; but is it affecting us in negative ways? Some say that this burst of technology is disconnecting families and is ruining our chances to enjoy life in simplicity.
However, this current revolution of technology isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. Better, faster, more desirable versions of current gadgets will always be pumped out by companies, and corporations will always be copying each other to be the best. Once Apple comes out with the iPad, other companies are suddenly designing their own versions of the famous Apple device. These devices will be constantly updated with a new version of the hardware almost every year; the iPhone, for instance. This cell phone by Apple currently has four versions, though a fifth one is scheduled to be released this year. Also, it seems like almost everything comes fragile and breakable, too. Have you ever had a phone or laptop you loved and have it break right after its warranty expired? And then you have to buy a brand new phone or computer to replace the broken one, thus shelling out more money. And as long as we keep buying these companies’ products, they’ll keep designing to keep us happy and to make sure that we’re buying their stuff.
And if things are getting scary now, what’s going to happen later? People have already been working on contact lenses that project computer screens onto your retina. Does this mean that everyone will be plugged into the computer 24/7? What if they create a type of cell phone that is implanted into your brain, sending waves to your friend wirelessly with your thoughts? Has anyone else wanted a holographic computer? We are capable of amazing technology, but everyone knows what happens when you have too much of a good thing. What would happen if all technology disappeared? Satellites rebounding cell phone signals stopped working, the internet ceased to connect everyone around the world? Perhaps electricity might not exist in a hundred years, rendering all of these devices useless? I know, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but really. What would you do if you couldn’t go on the computer, couldn’t text your friend, play video games or watch TV? Would you even think to go and read a book? Maybe hang out with your friends in person? Or would you just sit in your room, pouting and twiddling your thumbs, anxiously checking your favourite device every five minutes to see if it was working again?
People watch science fiction films and sometimes, they mention the fact how real the plot in the film could become in real life. “Wow… That could actually happen! We could actually become so advanced of a human race that we don’t even need laptops. We would just go on the computer through glasses!” Humans are so capable of doing anything we want to. We could be a race of advanced technology, like in books and movies. But aren’t we capable of accidentally destroying ourselves in the process? We have so many opportunities. However, the question is… what will we do next? Will we become such slaves to technology that we can’t tell between digital life and real life anymore? Or will we ever realize that we honestly don’t need to be this dependant on technology to survive? I know that I’m one of the most ironic people to write this article, with my many hours spent on the computer, but I want to ask you. If you had a choice to direct the human race, what would you do?
I was curious if Windermere Secondary students were slaves to technology, so I went around and asked some students some questions.
- How many electronic devices do you own? Do you use them on a daily basis?
Navi Rai, Grade 10: Does a computer count?
Nicole: Yes. iPods, phones, computers, TVs, stuff like that.
Navi: I own 5 and yes, I do use them allllll the time.
Nicole: Would you be able to specify?
Navi: iPod, camera, phone, computer, TV.
Nicole Andrade, grade 9: Uhh, I would say 4-5 things and yes, I do use them on a daily basis. :)
- 2. How much do you rely on your electronic devices?
Darius Davidson, Grade 11: Umm, a lot.
Nicole: What do you mean by a lot?
Darius: Okay, here. Let me rephrase that. I use electronics daily, so I guess I rely on them a lot.
Tammy Lee, Grade 11: I like to rely on my electronics because I am way too accustomed to using them daily. If I had to, I could live without them.
- 3. Would you be upset if I took away all of your electronic devices?
Eric Lam, Grade 11: No.
Jenny Ho, Grade 12: Only if you took away my cameras.
- 4. What do you think would happen if all technology disappeared?
Hannah Gee, Grade 10: Well, we’d have to start from square one, pretty much. Because a lot of people wouldn’t have supplies and most don’t have gardens.
Nicole: What do you think would happen if we couldn’t restore anything? Even from starting over?
Hannah: What? Like, if we couldn’t pull together?
Hannah: Communities would have to work together. We would obviously lose communication with people from around the world. Actually, not just communities would have to work together. Countries would have to work together and become more independent.
Tony Kim, Grade 12: We become cavepeople and live in a united cavepeople nation!
King Of Hearts
Boys, it’s your time to win the girls’ hearts! Once again, Student Council is putting on King of Hearts on Wednesday, February 9th . In this voluntary event, girls will receive a pin and a paper heart when they come through an entrance of the school. They are to wear it on their shirt and completely avoid talking to any boys throughout the day (excluding class time). However, if a girl talks to a boy, she is to give her heart to him! Boys, your goal is to collect as many paper hearts as you can. The King of Hearts will be determined by the male student who collects the most hearts onto their shirt. Good luck, boys!
Did you fill out your IFlurtz questionnaires? Interested to see who you’re most compatible with in your grade and in the celebrity world? Come by the foyer on Thursday, February 10th at lunch to purchase your IFlurtz print-out for only $2. Listen out for reminders over the PA!
Golden Hearts Fundraiser
Variety is non-profit charitable organization dedicated to raising funds and distributing grants through BC to inspire hope, enrich lives, and build a better future for children who have special needs. Variety’s Gold Heart Fundraiser is coming to Windermere. Student Council members will be selling special golden hearts for the next few weeks for $3. By buying one, not only will you be able to help children with special needs, but also get a great and meaningful gift for a special someone….this can include your mom! Over 1300 families are helped by the Heart Funds. By doing so, you could also be helping Windermere’s very own special need students. Look for out council members in the hallways!
By: Claire Fergusson, Grade 9
In war-ridden or unethical countries around the world, the people who can will usually immigrate to safer and more ethical countries. Some leave places like Mexico, China, and India to get away from sweatshops that believe in and support child labourers. But the question is; are we, as consumers, really doing any better by supporting sweatshops here in Canada and North America by buying their products?
In many countries around the world, there are horrific examples of sweatshops. Workers are in a position where they are subject to exploitation, with no living wage or benefits, terrible working conditions, and may face verbal or physical abuse. Many make less than needed in order to support themselves, let alone the ones around them, so there are very few options to enrich their lives with something better. They usually work between sixty and eighty hours a week, not including overtime, in gruelling conditions. Many are offered little or no way out, without much knowledge on how to get out of the business. They are under an umbrella of a few who make millions in the trade, while the labourers suffer to put food on the table. And yet here in the western world, we buy the goods they produce.
How does our dollar affect what we buy and sell?
If the American dollar is low compared to other currencies, they will not be able to import as many goods for the same amount of money. It will, ultimately, force companies to spend more money, while not making as much of a profit. And in turn, it will force the employment wages to stay low, and continue to deprive many of basic needs, in what the world considers a leading nation.
In Canada, our dollar has been as strong as it has ever been. The rising value of Canada’s currency means that more Canadians would make a profit on their sales if they continue to buy things for cheap from other countries. A strong Canadian dollar would also mean that we would be able to have more buying power in places like China and India, where a lot of the cheap goods are manufactured. It would make it easy for us to import, but have a harder time of exporting goods, such as lumber, to other countries. However, with a higher buying power, and a greater chance of higher profits, it would enable the resources for a higher minimum wage.
One of the places that people search for better opportunities if they can leave is in Canada and the United States. But still, many cannot get away from sweatshops.
For example, many dollar store managers put in long hours, but don’t get much out of it. Many have escaped poverty in places like China, India, South America and Mexico, but are then taken advantage of. How can they compete against the ones who have been in the trade for longer, and have grown up around ones who make their life this way? It is almost impossible.
In the United States, managers of dollar store chains work long hours, up to eighty hours a week, making just $550 per week, or just under $6.90 US per hour. On the other hand, the CEO of the same company raked in $5.38 million or roughly $103 460 a week in 2010. All the while, this CEO probably just sat in front of his computer and watched his stocks rise, while store managers scraped to pay their mortgages and support their families.
Sound familiar? It almost mirrors the reality of many in low-wage centres around the world. Is it not ironic that we are supposed to be a leader in the world’s pursuit of freedom and equality?
In a society so based on consumerism, we can choose to buy ethically. It is a difficult situation, because the ones that work so hard in dollar stores for so little have to be supported too, even if they are supporting sweatshops by selling their products.
All the exploited are trying to do is make a living. They’re just trying to make it by, and hopefully put food on the table. It is a recurring reality throughout our world, even in countries like our counterparts across the border, and our own. We walk a fine line between choosing to support them and deciding to buy ethically.
What do you prefer? Should we continue to buy more cheap products produced by sweatshops, or pay more for goods that are made by people whom are paid a living wage?
Although ethically made products might mean a less bang for your buck, it will help discourage sweatshops. It may help bridge the gap between rich and poor, and in time, find a solution for a line we have to decide to cross or not.
By: Emily Chan, Grade 12
How is a bill even passed through the House of Commons in the first place? First, an idea is brought forward and created into a bill. After the bill is debated and successfully passed by the House of Commons, the bill is sent to the Senate. This group of wealthy, appointed members is affectionately called the “sober second thought” as they have the final say on whether or not the bill will be created into law.
Bill C-311’s required regulations were to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020, and to bring emissions down by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Based on the bill’s summary, its purpose was “to ensure that Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing to a long-term target to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions…”. It was the only legislation in the world to pass through a democratically-elected parliament that promised strong reductions of greenhouse gas emissions at Kyoto (although we have broken this promise; emissions have increased instead).
Some background information first; the Senate is a highly debated topic in Canada, as many argue that the Senate is not needed in the process. As the House of Commons has already decided to pass the bill, many believe that we don’t need an extra veto power to have the last word on these policies. As well, the 105 members are appointed by our governor general with the advice of our prime minister. Of course, seats are allocated based on the region; the four largest regions receive 24 seats each, and the remaining seats are assigned to the less-populated regions. However, supporters of the Senate will defend that it’s needed in case the House of Commons passes a bill that shouldn’t be passed. Did I mention that members in the Senate can stay in until they’re 75 years old?
On November 16th, 2010, the Senate voted against Bill C-311, AKA the Climate Change Accountability Act. AKA Canada’s only piece of federal climate change legislation.
Bill C-311 was originally brought forward in October of 2006 by the leader of the NDP; Jack Layton. By a 148-116 vote at third reading (the Liberals, Bloc Québécois, and NDP supported the bill while the Conservatives voted against it), the bill was murdered by the Senate while Parliament was dissolved for the 2008 federal election. Amazingly, it came back to life on February 10th, 2009 and after a 169-93 vote on October 21st, 2009, the act sat there past its allotted 60-day timeframe for the House of Commons to read the bill and therefore wasn’t ready in time for the 2009 Copenhagen world meeting. Before the government could respond to the Senate’s votes, the bill was defeated on November 6th, 2010, by a vote of 43-32.
Before this bill, the Senate had only defeated one bill since 1988, which was respecting abortion. The David Suzuki Foundation emanated frustration in November of 2010 as they explained, “and so, just as Canada prepares to join world leaders at the UN climate change negotiations in Mexico, a group of unelected senators have decided, without any debate, that the future of Canada’s youth is not worth the bother. It’s a shame these elderly senators may not be around to face the most severe consequences of their actions.”
As the DSF eloquently states, the bill is dead. Along with it, some would claim that the chance of strong objectives to address climate change has gone down too. For now at least; I have an inkling that the enviros of our society won’t give up that easily.
Taurus: This month, things won’t be going your way at all for about a week. But never fear; things will be great afterwards!
Gemini: For some reason, you’ll have a strange urge for everything to be as symmetrical as possible. Also, remember your technology problems last month? Still haven’t been solved yet. Sorry!
Cancer: The spring time is coming and you just can’t wait. However, as soon as you start really looking forward to it… the winter will shove itself into your face and remind you that it’s not gone just yet.
Leo: You’ll be going through an artistic streak this month. You will feel more creative and you’ll want to express yourself in all sorts of artistic forms!
Virgo: You and your closest friend may be getting into nasty little spats this month. Just remember that if your friendship is strong enough, it’ll survive.
Libra: Maybe it’s because it is February, but this month you’ll have a strange fixation for the colour red. All sorts of red, but bright red is your favourite. Who knows why? You don’t really care.
Scorpio: Your inner prankster will be calling for you this month. Sure, it is fun to pull a little prank on a friend every now and then, but don’t go too far!
Sagittarius: It’ll seem like everyone has wanted your attention lately. It might start to stress you out, but relax and calm down. It’ll be alright! It’s just you being Mister or Miss Popular.
Capricorn: Have you been feeling sleepy lately? Was it because of the nights you spent staying up for homework? Maybe you should start going to bed earlier. After all, it is better for your health!
Aquarius: You won’t know why, but you will be attracted to anything that has to do with wizards. Perhaps it’s because the next Harry Potter movie is coming very soon?
Pisces: This month, your locker will seem to hate you. A lot! It’ll jam, slam onto your fingers, pinch your arm, and does all sorts of nasty stuff. Maybe it’s time to finally tell the janitor that your locker is broken.
By: Max Miller, Grade 11
During a public meeting in a Tucson, Arizona Safeway on January 8, 2011, US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head in an apparent assassination attempt. While Giffords is well on her way to a full recovery, twelve other people were shot and six of the victims, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge, were killed. Giffords is a ‘rising star’ in the Democratic Party, hoping to eventually be elected as Arizona’s senator. The shooter, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, claims to have planned and executed the attack alone, though police are searching for a possible accomplice.
While the tragedy is too fresh in our minds to think of laying any blame, the events in Arizona are a chilling reminder of the political climate in America at the moment. Extremist groups – groups who follow a rigid set of ideals and who will go to great lengths to enforce them – have always existed on the fringe, but they have been making headlines more and more recently. The group getting the most press is the “Tea Party”, who believes the government has too much power, and that this power should be given to corporations. Giffords got on the Tea Party’s bad side by voting for Obama’s Health Care reform – Sarah Palin, an American politician and political news commentator, went as far as to mark Giffords’ district (as well as those of nineteen others who voted yes) with a crosshair on a map; the picture bore the caption “Take a Stand.”
Extremism is becoming more prominent with the Democrats as well, though their movement doesn’t have a nifty name like the Tea Party yet. President Obama came in at a dark time for the nation, riding in on his promises of “Hope and Change.” Of course, this motto left out a rather important point that ought to have been included: “and also Years of Hard Work before Our Goals Are Realized.” Many people expected Obama to be an instant cure for their country’s problems, and since, of course, he wasn’t, he is being criticized for accomplishing nothing but breaking election promises in his first years of office. These Democratic supporters have become less trusting of their party and their country’s government.
So, which side does Jared Loughner belong to? Well, that’s not an easy answer. If his Youtube page is to be believed, his favourite authors include Ayn Rand, Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx; political philosophers with very different, conflicting views. He has gone on various political tirades, saying he believed the government was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and are trying to brainwash the public by controlling grammar. He has been described as emotionally unstable by those who know him personally. So it’s easy, and perhaps comforting, to write him off as just one more ‘crazy’ who, unfortunately, got his hands on a gun. At the same time, however, people have suspected Loughner to have been influenced by extremist rhetoric such as Palin’s map.
Whatever your opinions on Loughner may be, the fact remains that such a divided public will only create more tension in our neighbours to the south. If the American people don’t find some way of meeting halfway, tragedies like this may very well become more commonplace.