January 2012 Archives


By Celia Ste Croix

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The following article does not make claims of expertise on the subject matter.

The world's oceans are full of garbage.

There is no plan to clean it up and the problem is growing.

In 1997, scientific researcher Captain Charles Moore was the first to report witnessing huge collections of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean. GyreCleanUp.org estimates that 11 million tons of plastic pollution is floating above and below the surface just in the North Pacific Gyre alone.
Eighty percent is of this garbage is land-based refuse and the remaining 20% is discarded directly into the sea or at the coast by pleasure cruisers, the military and maritime industries. Less than 5% of all plastics in the world are recycled. The rest go into landfills, clutter the landscape and pollute the gyres where they break down where marine life ingests them.

In 2006, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) reported that there were approximately 46,000 pieces of floating marine debris in every square mile of ocean. It is extremely difficult, however, to measure the exact amount of garbage floating in the world's oceans because the area is so vast and the debris moves, making it impossible to accurately map. The North Pacific Garbage Patch was estimated in 2007 to cover an area slightly smaller than the province of Quebec. It is assumed to be larger now.

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On Friday January 20, Concordia University hosted the national premier of Education Under Fire, a powerful and evocative 30-minute documentary on the struggle of the Baha'i students in Iran from director Jeff Kaufman and producer David Hoffman. The documentary, sponsored in part by Amnesty International, profiles the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), its students and professors. It shows, in depth, their growth and their struggle to provide and receive a higher education in Iran. The audience was welcomed into the auditorium by volunteers distributing informational brochures. People slowly trickled in, but by the screening time, there was a diverse audience of around 60 people, eager to know what exactly Education Under Fire was about.

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Genetically Engineered Salmon: A Soon-to-be Delice?
By Catherine Daccache

Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, with its frightening visions of a future filled with comestible transgenic pigs and chickens is now far from being called fiction. The University of Guelph has already taken the first dreaded step with its Enviropig™, "a genetically enhanced line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability of digesting plant phosphorus more efficiently than conventional Yorkshire pigs." The university is competing with AquaBounty, a Massachusets-based aquafarming and biotechnology company, in the race of being the ones to introduce the first genetically engineered comestible animals into our plates. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the verge of approving AquaBounty's genetically modified salmon AquAdvantage® and serve this apparently "table-ready" fish to its consumers. The only thing stopping them right now is Canada, but the question is: how much longer will it stand in their way?

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QUIZ: How well do you know Montreal's environmental rules?


How to Survive the Village


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**Note: This is purely a farce comic strip for entertainment, not meant to offend or berate anyone.

by Tanya Ayala

Damiano.pngDamiano Raveenthiran may appear to be your average university student, hunched over a MacBook, iPad or iPhone updating his social media accounts, but he uses his extensive knowledge and experience with social media for the greater good: human rights awareness. Better known around the internet and radio as DamianoR, this fall the Political Science student was promoted to VP Social Media & Promotions for Concordia's chapter of Journalists for Human Rights. Through his dedication, the chapter has developed a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr in only a few short months. "I have been trying to get JHR Concordia on every social medium and we have made a lot of great connections with people in the human rights field in Canada and overseas because...we are the next generation of rights journalists." His goal for the chapter is to learn and teach as much as possible "for ourselves and our future".

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