Dec 122011
The Sun, Our Savior

I first met Joel Bellenson in my Commercial Drive neighborhood when I was working at a café where he was a regular. I overheard him on more than one occasion talking about hydroponics and I knew that he was a scientist and geneticist. So when it came time for me to write about food systems and the Occupy Movement I knew Bellenson would have some interesting insights for me. Originally from a very conservative suburb of LA, Bellenson was a computer programmer as a child. He went to Stanford University [Read More]


The following is taken from a class discussion that was held by our Ecological Anthropology 360 class (the creators of this blog). We thought it important to have a group discussion about the Occupy Movement to get a sense of people’s thoughts, and share our ideas with each other. We had previously spent weeks researching what others thought and said about the movement and hadn’t had a chance to find out what our own thoughts were as a class.   We opened with a very general question:   Do you [Read More]

Crisis: Part of Ecological Cycles?

.          The Occupy Movement, above all is a cry for help.  When it began it was leaderless, without demands, without social prerequisites to join in the call of distress.  The only agreement everyone can make – across the board – is that change needs to happen.  The system needs correction.  How to do this and where to start, is another matter.  What should come first and who should do it are issues with a plethora of differing opinions. .          In my interview with Joel Bellenson, a genetic engineer, computer programmer [Read More]


Lisa’s letter has inspired me to take a broad perspective in our society and look at what it is that is leading us to forget the future.   Judging from the recent popular movies on apocalyptic scenarios of collapse and destruction, people in our society seem to really believe we are heading towards the end, or something like it. Alternatives and options are not contemplated much (see Zizek). Perhaps, the centuries of Christian faith have truly instilled in us the prophecy of apocalypse. But now, instead of praying we consume, [Read More]

Would Collapse be Preferable?

  The Occupy movement can be characterized as movement to alter the course of society. Predicting dire circumstances in the future (economic and environmental), individuals are consciously attempting to change the path that our system is on. Perhaps this is all for not though. When we look at classic adaptive model used in resilience theory, comprehensive reorganization only occurs when the system has completely collapsed. The protests and the changing that they want to see implemented in my opinion will prevent or at very least postpone the eventual collapse that [Read More]

American Ideological Narrative: A Graphic Model

The myth narrative that informs American society is “the American Dream.”  The Dream is essentially a belief that the United States of America is caste free and therefore anyone and everyone has the opportunity to succeed.  There is an emphasis that this success can be achieved independently through hard work and that success is in the form of material goods, landownership and social status.  The “rags to riches” theme is reiterated often in popular culture from Cinderella to the recent film Pursuit of Happyness.  The desire to achieve the Dream [Read More]

Guest Op-Ed with Natasha Gowda

For our project I would like to share a conversation I had with Natasha Gowda, a Community Outreach Representative for BC Hydro. I believe that her experience within the corporate world provides a different insight into our Occupy Vancouver project, as she shares her personal opinions with us through this guest ‘opinion editorial’. A transcript of our conversation is posted here with her permission.     Q: How would you describe the Occupy Vancouver movement?   A: I would say that Occupy Vancouver is a public display of dissatisfaction with [Read More]

Dec 092011
The Others

When media produces images of certain groups of people, it wields a power to shape public opinion of that group.  When the Occupy movement is discussed by those not directly involved in one of the protests, the occupiers are regularly referred to as “they.”  Dividing them from us in this way is a profound example of the power of media to make people with new ideas into the other.  This is not new, an ability to assign other status.  This image is intended to display that tendency to othering in [Read More]

Dec 082011
The Future?

Occupy movement grappling with “new phase of life” – David P. Ball   Since the displacement of the camp outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, it’s evident that some people are wondering, what’s next? Here is an article from The Vancouver Observer detailing some of the possibilities that may arise even though the physical encampment has been dismantled. Despite the fact that the tents are no longer where they used to be, the ideas for change remain.   Some major points: -” ‘Organic’ global protest will continue highlighting economic inequality without [Read More]

"The High Price of Materialism"

This is a short animation narrated by psychologist Tim Kasser. Kasser describes the vehicle of the American dream and how to shift to a ‘new dream’ more which is more “socially just and ecologically sustainable”. He discusses: 1) The effects of marketed materialism on citizens a) The illusion of happiness b) Insecurity c) Depression 2) How to counter materialism’s effects a) Protect yourself and your community from the media b) Promote and build a life embedded in “intrinsic values” (personal growth, being close to family and friends and a sense [Read More]

Technological Space, Contested Space

The virtual realm of the internet is an environment of humankind’s design.  In this environment, just as the natural environment, there are all sorts of social interactions and these interactions can produce narratives and counter-narratives.  Anyone participating in a study of ecological anthropology should be able to trace this web of narratives in order to fully understand the “big picture.”  The symbolism of this image is intended to show how the “official” narrative of the internet seeks to dominate those counter-narratives seeking change.  The red fist of uprising, clutching the [Read More]

The Myth of Progress and the Need for Social Change

In November 2004 Ronald Wright partook in the Massey Lecture series on CBC radio. His contribution was titled A Short History of Progress and it relates to both the Occupy Movement and ecology. The premise of his lectures are based on our perceptions of “progress” and uses theexamples of Easter Island and the Roman Empire to highlight the point that “progress” does not always equal success. The point that Wright raises is that lthough both civilizations would have been able to foresee the inevitable collapse of their societies, the citizens [Read More]

 7 December 2011  Posted by mikhelsa Ideologies & Beliefs No Responses »
Challenges in Systems Change: Environmental Inaction

Public discourse often focuses on what the individual can do to make a difference, using catch phrases like “Think Global, Act Local.”  As information about the climate crisis continues to spread, more and more people are choosing to make changes in their lives.  However, these changes are generally fairly small, like using cloth grocery bags or buying organic fruit.  Most people know that cars produce CO2 emissions but not many of them would consider trading their vehicle in for a bicycle.  If everyone seemingly realizes that the system needs to [Read More]

Growing Wealth and Disconnectedness in the West & The Organic Movement

Growing Wealth and Disconnectedness in the West For many of us today who are living in urban areas, it is uncommon to think about where our food is coming from, how it is grown and produced, and by whom. Moreover, although environmental consciousness has been gaining popularity, many of us still do not necessarily question where waste is going and how it is being handled. This distancing and disconnection are closely linked to the political climate and to the capitalist system in which we live. Those influence not just our [Read More]


First Official Declaration of the Occupation of New York City “As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not
lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by
the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. “As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation,religion, or lack thereof, political party and cultural background, we acknowledge 
the reality: that there is only one race, the human race, and [Read More]


By sociologist William Robinson, a good historically contextualizing piece on global elites and their reaction to change.


Listen to CBC’s Ideas interview with Chris Hedges on The Empire of Illusion “We dare not become disillusioned because our illusions are the very house in which we live” —–D. Boorstein