A Park Threatened, A Movement Born

On Terra Informa this week: when the bulldozers came to demolish a park, a movement was born. We ask one of the protesters from Turkey’s Taksim Square what’s at stake in the park there. Then, Marcus Petersen explains Biophilia on this week’s Ecobabble, and writer Ronald Wright warns about the progress trap we’re in.

Police in Istanbul fire at protesters rallying around Taksim Square (Photo: Alan Hilditch)

Police in Istanbul fire at protesters rallying around Taksim Square (Photo: Alan Hilditch)

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A Park Threatened, A Movement Born

It began with a familiar story. A city decides to demolish a park to make way for a new mall. Protesters show up to stop it.  Police arrive to break up the crowd. But things escalated quickly when police marched into Istanbul’s Taksim Square on May 28. They started firing water cannons and tear gas at demonstrators. The brutal treatment of the protesters outraged many people in Turkey. Before long, thousands of people began demonstrating against the national government all around the country. Deniz Erkmen teaches political science at Istanbul’s Özyeğin  University. She’s been visiting Taksim Square since she was a teenager, and now she’s joined in the protests there. Events have been changing rapidly by the day there, and on June 5th, she told Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips that the issues at stake go far beyond the park.
Protesters in Istanbul stood up because of their connection to the place they live. But what do we call it when we feel attached to all the parts of our planet’s biosphere – ferns, geese, even landscapes?
On this week’s Ecobabble, Marcus Petersen explains what it means to feel biophilia.
The Traps of Progress

Last November, The Parkland Institute kicked off its sixteenth fall conference in Edmonton, Alberta. The theme was Petro, Power and Politics, and the opening keynote was delivered by writer Ronald Wright. Wright is best known for having delivered a CBC Massey Lecture which he called A Short History of Progress. For his lecture at the Parkland Institute, Wright drew on this earlier work to discuss our modern environmental crisis, including climate change and loss of biodiversity. To chart our possible future, Wright looks back to examine the collapse of civilizations all across the world. It’s depressing business, and more than one audience member asked the obvious question: is there any hope at all?

As Wright sees it, a little progress is good, but too much progress can be deadly. Over the past few centuries, the whole world has seen so much progress that it boggles the mind. Have we seen too much? Too fast? Progress of the right or the wrong kind? To understand Wright’s answer, we asked Terra Informer Trevor Chow-Fraser to walk through the beginnings of the progress trap humanity—and the planet—are struggling to escape right now.

More on the story :

What’s Happening

Bikeology Festival – Edmonton
Edmontonians, did you know that June is bike month?!  Riding your bike around Edmonton, especially in the beautiful summer weather, is an excellent way to live a healthy lifestyle.  It also decreases the detrimental effects transportation in vehicles can have on the environment.  The Bikeology Festival is going on all month in Edmonton, however, the best chance to interact with fellow bike-enthusiasts will be on June 15 in Sir Winston Churchill Park from noon to 4pm.  There will be entertainment, prizes, and many opportunities to speak with Edmonton bike experts about how to get started or maintain your environmentally friendly bike riding.  

Learn-to-Camp – Victoria
Residents of Victoria, BC, the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites, in collaboration with Mountain Equipment Co-op, is inviting young families and newcomers to Canada to a first-time camping experience. Learn-to Camp will teach camping basics such as how to set up a tent, how to cook outdoors, what to pack, and other real Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op staff tips to make your camping adventure a success. Participant fee: $88.00/family of up to four (plus $22 for each additional person up to a maximum group size of 6 people). Dinner, breakfast and snacks are included.

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