On a snowy afternoon this past holiday break, I saw the following video.
Rachel's message did something to me. You see, I've been taking part in the first year of a wicked new program out of Toronto called The Next 36
. The excitement of being a living experiment is tied to tools and opportunities to make a sizeable impact on Canadian reality and ideally the world at large. Essentially, this is entrepreneurial bootcamp. The program carefully selects 36 undergrads from across the country and puts them in teams of four with money and mentorship, then says, "Go do something awesome." No pressure.Anyway
, I saw this TEDtalk and kind of flipped out in the best way. You may or may not know me, but I really dig BIG
projects that make the world a better place (to use the most cliché phrase I can compose). Quickly, the whole team realized that they would love nothing more
than to fire up the collaborative consumption movement. It just makes so much sense! After a fateful meeting in Toronto, we marched straight into Grand & Toy for a flipchart. Pizza was ordered, beer was cracked open, and smelly markers squeaked pleasantly in the moonlight.
We came up with tradyo
and we shall continue to work very hard to make your participation in the collaborative consumption movement the best time you've ever had on the internet. Furthermore, we are developing a platform that builds community offline too. All of this amounts to happiness for you, for your lonely forgotten stuff, for your trade homies and for society in general (which will see fewer perfectly good items thrown out and fewer unnecessary items purchased when you can trade that shiz fo' free, yo).
Just think for a minute. Look at your bookshelf, now back to me, now back at your bookshelf, now back to me. There are many items on that shelf you have read or watched a few times - they were great - but honestly, you won’t be lugging them around with you forever. However, someone out there has a dust-gathering boxset of LOST that they would love to trade for your dust-gathering psychology textbook. We want to make that easy-peasy lemon squeezy so the world looks like this -> :)
and not this -> :(
We're not ready to launch publicly quite yet because we're still primping our backend (tehehe) diligently, but we DO have a fun little activity for you
. Scroll around; refresh
the page; and think of all the things you own that could use a new loving home, and all the things you can avoid buying by trading with a pal or online acquaintance. Sharing for the win!
Well, that's that for now. I really hope you are likewise excited about this new movement (which is coincidentally an ancient movement - barter - made possible instantaneously and over distance because of technology. WOOHOO!)... excited enough to sign up for an invitation to our launch! I'll be there, winking at you in the crowd. We'll be in touch as soon as our site is ready for your loving eyes.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback on tradyo and collaborative consumption in general. Talk to me ;)
Many people have wondered why I haven’t written a seething op-ed or a response to some of the criticisms voiced regarding vote mobs. Yo, where’s the venom, girl?
Answer: No need, bro. I find most of the commentary is nonsensical enough to delegitimize itself. Moreover, no amount of negativity and skepticism will soil the fact that in our books, we’ve already scored a mission accomplished. Personally, if even one new voter was persuaded to get informed and get to the polls, everything was worth it for me. That battle has been won dozens of times over just on our campus. Right now, we’re as curious as anyone about the consequences nationwide as May 2nd rolls around. We didn’t expect the movement to resonate so far and wide. We did not foresee the enthusiasm and creativity that youth would infuse into this election. The entertainment value of it all is a huge bonus.
I’m happy. Yvonne is happy. Our participants are happy. Poke fun and deride all you want, critics. I’d argue that you look sillier than us crazy-pants vote mobbers. Sticks and stones, baby.
Have a great day. I’d say, “See you at the polls!” but I’ve already voted. :)
I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on youth engagement in Canadian politics. More specifically, how does one interest kids in Canadian democracy at a young age? This is a challenging conversation for me because, try as I might, I cannot actually remember what sparked my interest in the political proceedings of my country. I recall watching municipal, provincial, and federal election results stream in on the TV with the same excitement as someone watching a horse race, even as a little whippersnapper. A personal hero of mine has been a city councillor for many years and I remember begging my parents to let me stay up late for the final election results so that I could sleep soundly knowing she had won by a good margin. Years later, far from popular grade ten lament, I would honestly identify Civics class as one of my favourite courses in all of highschool. That said, I’ve been forced to outsource perspective on this one.
This Easter brunch, I found myself situated with an optimistically large pile of food and my favourite company - my young cousins Keegan, Maddy, and Raelyn. I’ll be the first to admit that these kids are bright, but even their biggest fan was surprised at how quickly the conversation fell into politics and how comfortably a couple of grade-schoolers launched into a friendly debate over election predictions. My habit of casual journalism led me to pry into the story. Where are they getting this stuff from and why did Maddy just orchestrate an elaborate NDP campaign in class, complete with an orange-clad cheer crew?
It’s hard to know how to feel right now. Rick said, if nothing else, we should vote out of spite
but I’ve spent weeks immersed in the youth voting wave
crashing over Canada and have required no such motivation. I say good morning to my inbox and find a sizable crop of new vote mobs giving me a heads up and earnestly seeking advice. I just about lost my marbles when Yellowknife
checked in. So far, the movement has run on pure excitement and determination for my part, but after the special ballot fiasco I feel twinge of something else that I can only liken to defiance.
Guelph is a campus changed. I won’t presume that our vote mobs
are solely responsible for the election spirit that seems to have infected even the most politically timid of my peers. Twitter and Google Notifications are always sending me good news of youth coast to coast who have answered the first call
we threw out to Canada via YouTube on April 1st.
Seeing the lengthy queue for voter registration and ballot-casting as a permanent fixture in the UC for three days warmed my heart. I watched as students proudly studied for hours in line - my little martyrs of democracy. I love them so much for it.
The ballot-challenging monkey business
that transpired on Wednesday was shocking to me. To begin, I cannot fathom how such a stunt could be considered good PR...
I had the pleasure of joining Steve and some very clever panelists on The Agenda this Thursday evening. Here is the footage if you are interested. I would love for you to weigh in on the discussion as well! There is a comment box for a reason.
You're great. Have a wonderful day.
Oh, and I'd just like to say the Steve is indeed as nice as he appears on the show. I could not have asked for a better experience. His children are very impressive too. I would honestly love to chill with them - you know, make crafts, play kick-the-can. They are COOL cats.
For the sake of clarity, I'd like to share my experience in greater than 140 characters. After this, I'm done. The story needs to be told, but I'm more interested in the enthusiasm we're seeing across the country for the youth vote. Yip yip yippee!
My account of getting locked out of the Guelph CPC tour event:
- Twitter informed me prior to the event that students were being rejected from the London CPC stop for innocent facebook ties to other parties.
- I'm not committed to any party, although I've had interactions with all through my job as a children's educational tour guide in Ottawa, climate change work, and general citizenship. I have voted once before and will vote in the Guelph riding again, this time for a different party (as of now - this may change). My loyalty is to candidates, not parties. I have often made clear that I'm willing to support any party that does the right thing.
- I registered for the private CPC event before this story had even surfaced. I jumped at the chance to see Stephen Harper in person. I still covet a clearer understanding of who he is. Mr. Harper fascinates me.
- Upon seeing that London students were ejected for harmless facebook ties to other parties, I suspected that I might have some difficulty gaining clearance given my involvement in promoting the student vote and (always peaceful and positive) advocacy for climate action. Curious, I told twitter that I would keep the world abreast.
- In an interview regarding our non-partisan surprise party for Stephen Harper, I informed the media that I was a registered attendee, I hoped to meet Stephen Harper, and "we'll see if I get in."
- The RCMP allowed me access to the conference centre, and even thanked me for hosting a positive and trouble-free gathering of students. I think they enjoyed our little marching band in the rain and 'O Canada' choir of more than 500 bellowing students.
- At the registration, I was sent to the Info Desk where a smiling young woman told me that I had been flagged by the RCMP and was not allowed to attend. I asked why and she said she did not know. I did not put up a fuss and left the line to wait for my friends, Izzy and Cara, who were speaking with a stern man.
- I was surprised that Izzy and Cara were not accepted. I learned in conversation afterward that they had passed registration and had received stickers, only to have them torn off before they could enter the room. I overheard the stern man saying that this was a private event and they were not invited. Izzy and Cara held out their confirmation forms in disbelief.
- Eventually, Izzy and Cara joined me off to the side to explain what happened. At that point we were quite brusquely asked to leave the premises immediately by the man who had prevented Izzy and Cara from entering. We were told if we did not comply, the RCMP would forcibly remove us.
- My friend and classmate, Gill, was admitted. Joanna MacDonald experienced the same treatment that I did, however was offered at least a partial explanation for her rejection (association with an environmental organization). I still do not know on what grounds I was deemed a threat.
- Over the next few hours I encountered one other student that had been admitted (but chose not to attend without Joanna), and three other students who I was very surprised to discover were not let in. Each student seemed to have an additional friend or two who was denied entrance, though I cannot vouch for those names. This means, from first-hand experience I can confirm that 7 out of 9 of us students did not make it in, and from second-hand experience several others were locked out as well.
My commentary on the matter:
I feel that denying me access to this event is entirely unjustifiable. I am not a physical threat or a rude and disruptive person. The RCMP that monitored our non-partisan surprise party
were kind and friendly to me, and wished me luck to get through. They thanked me and our other organizers for being cooperative before, during, and after the event. I came to learn and to meet someone who has indirectly had a very great impact on my life. Honestly, I've never been flagged as an undesirable in my life and had I not been prepared beforehand by the news from London, I would have been shocked, embarrassed, confused, and scared that I am on some sort of CPC watchlist. I don't see how such tactics could possibly be seen as a smart move by the Harper campaign. I keep rolling it over in my head and I just don't understand. In any case, above is my account in writing. I share in hopes that it will help someone get to the bottom of this. What are these CPC tour organizers afraid of? Certainly not a smiling girl with "vote" facepaint and an evident love for democracy, I should hope. The worst I could do is ask a hard question, but even that would be hard to achieve if Mr. Harper is as tight lipped as the reports portray.
In the meantime, I will continue to energize youth to vote in the upcoming election. Count on it.
Thank you for reading and have a superb week.