In Our Darkest Times, We Humans Can Be The Most Destructive Species On The Planet

A Commentary by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Never mind locusts, great white sharks and hungry packs of wolves and hyenas. 

When it comes down to it – when we get tribal and let the darkest side of our nature drive us – we humans have proven over and over again that we can be the most destructive force on the planet. And our propensity to kill doesn’t seem to be governed by how intelligent or civilized we think we are either.

The smoldering wreckage of Flight 17 in east Ukraine among the most recent expressions of our capacity, as humans, to destroy.

The smoldering wreckage of Flight 17 in east Ukraine among the most recent expressions of our capacity, as humans, to destroy.

In his book ‘The Nightmare Years’, chronicling the rise of Nazism in the 1930s, the late journalist and historian William Shirer reports how “with increasing fascination and horror, I watched Hitler crush freedom and the human spirit in Germany, the country of Luther, Kant, Beethoven, Goethe, persecute the Jews and prepare to massacre them, destroy all who opposed him, and drag this great nation toward war, conquest and destruction. To my consternation most Germans joined joyously in this Nazi barbarism.”

But this is most certainly not about singling out Germany, which has turned out to be a country less militaristic than many others these days, and which also has some of the toughest laws in the world against hate crimes. This is about the whole lot of us, collectively, as a species. Continue reading

Buffalo’s Garden Walk Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary This July 26th & 27th

By Doug Draper

It is quite rightly billed as the largest garden tour in America. And it is free!

One of the many Buffalo neighbourhood homes that opens its yards to GardenWalk each year. File photo by Doug Draper

One of the many Buffalo neighbourhood homes that opens its yards to GardenWalk each year. File photo by Doug Draper

But GardenWalk Buffalo, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th, it is much more than that. It is also an opportunity to experience some of the very best urban landscape and architecture any town or city on this continent on this continent has to offer. Continue reading

Battle Against Using Enbridge Pipeline To Carry Tar Sand Poisons Through Great Lakes Region Not Over

News from Catch, the Hamilton, Ontario-based group called Citizens at City Hall

(A brief foreword note to this news from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – Although handpicked stooges for the Harper Government, through the rubber stamping federal Energy Board, has given its approval to this, let’s continue to put pressure on the new majority Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne applies a full environmental assessment review, at the provincial level, to this plan to pipe this toxic crud from Alberta’s tar sands through our Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes are a source of drinking water for tens of millions of Canadians and Americans, and as a fishery, recreational and tourist draw – let alone a habitat for countless species of wildlife – are vital to the health and economies of Ontario and several U.S. states that surround them. A pipeline project that could pose a significant risk to the Great Lakes should not be decided by a Harper government with an open record of gutting environmental protection efforts at the behest of its tar sands.

 Residents across Great Lakes region must not allow Harper’s pro-tar, anti-environment government to have the final say on piping this toxic material through one of the world’s largest, life-sustaining sources of fresh water.)enbridge pipeline

A Line 9 worksite occupation launched this past July 17th is only the latest challenge to Enbridge’s plans to expand the flow in its Sarnia to Montreal pipeline and begin shipping diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands.

There was a similar action earlier this week in Etobicoke, and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has won the right to appeal the March National Energy Board decision that had seemed to clear the way for the controversial project. Continue reading

New Democrats To Honour Jack Layton On National Day Of Action In Welland

News from the Welland Riding’s federal NDP representative Malcolm Allen

WELLAND, Ontario – On July 19th, New Democrats across the country will be honouring Jack Layton for the National Day of Action by speaking with voters in the riding about the importance of tackling climate change.

Click on this image to make it full screen.

Click on this image to make it full screen.

“Jack was a fearless advocate when it came to protecting the environment,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland). “It’s an honour to celebrate Jack’s birthday by taking on an issue that was close to his heart. We will never forget his commitment to the environment and our responsibility to the next generation.”

New Democrats are also calling out the Conservatives for their failed record on the environment; particularly, Stephen Harper cancelling the Eco Home Retrofit Program that helped cut emissions and saved money on energy bills for Canadian families. Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario Group Calls On You – And All Of Us – To Fight For Protecting Farm Animals

From Catherine Ens, veteran Niagara, Ontario animal activist and founding member of the non-profit Niagara Action for Animals

Niagara Action for Animals (NAfA) will once again host the Niagara Walk for Farm Animals.  Last October we raised over $8,000 for Farm Sanctuary. We hope that we can encourage some Niagara-at-Large folks to to donate, or indeed, register to walk!niagara action for anjimals one

Farm Sanctuary is the largest farm-animal shelter in North America.

Farm Sanctuary operates three sanctuaries and runs the largest farm-animal rescue and refuge network across North America. Over the years, more than 8,000 animals have called Farm Sanctuary home, and they have found safe and loving placement for nearly 3,000 more. The animals who come to their sanctuaries have been rescued from factory farms, stockyards, natural disasters, and abuse & neglect cases. When you Walk, the donations you raise help us rescue, feed, administer urgent care, and provide permanent homes for farm animals! Continue reading

You’re Invited To Sunday Afternoons At RiverBrink Art Museum – A Talk With Artist John Abrams

Niagara At Large is pleased to post this news from Niagara, Ontario’s RiverBrink Art Museum, one of the region’s best venues for exhibiting and advancing the arts in our small piece of what can be, at the best of times, and when we get our shit together and reach out foor the best in ourselves, this wonderful world.

QUEENSTON (NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE), Ontario – On Sunday July 27 at 2 pm, RiverBrink Art Museum hosts an Artist Talk with John Abrams. The museum is currently exhibiting his Land Mark Combine (2000 – 2001), on loan from the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Renown artists John Abrams to speak at RiverBrink Art Museum in Niagara, Ontario.

Renown artists John Abrams to speak at RiverBrink Art Museum in Niagara, Ontario.

Mr. Abrams holds an MFA from York University and is an associate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto. He carries out an active practice as a painter, sculptor and filmmaker.  A founding and current member of Loop Gallery in Toronto, he exhibits there on a regular basis and is also an active A Space Gallery member. His work may be found in both public and private collections in Canada and internationally. Abrams is represented by Boltax Gallery, New York. 

Landmark Combine (2000 – 2001) is a multi-panel installation of paintings depicting both natural and man-made landmarks. Niagara Falls taken from an elevated position is the central image, and this iconic landscape is paired with forty small landscapes. The individuality of each landmark is muted by the red underpainting visible throughout, a strategy that aligns the paintings with cinema and photography. As Abrams explains “my project engages the language of painting as a way of interpreting the language of film, not dissimilar to the way a book is made into a film or a script is turned into living theatre.“ Continue reading

Ontario Taking Further Action to Reduce Auto Insurance Rates

News from Ontario’s Liberal Government

Queen’s Park, July 15th 2014 – Ontario is moving forward with its plan to help reduce auto insurance rates, by introducing legislation that would, if passed, protect the province’s nine million drivers and fight fraud in the auto insurance system.

In case some of you so locked into your fucking social media sites don't know, this is the Queen's Park legislature. You might want to engage sometime.

In case some of you so locked into your fucking social media sites don’t know, this is the Queen’s Park legislature. You might want to engage sometime.

As the next step in the Auto Insurance Cost and Rate Reduction Strategy, today, the government is introducing the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014, a combination of two pieces of legislation that died on the Order Paper when the 40th Parliament of Ontario was dissolved. The bill, if passed, would protect consumers and continue its crackdown on auto insurance fraud by: Continue reading