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We need to enlarge our circle of compassion, says Naomi Klein

 

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

There is no doubt that climate change is real and contributing to natural disasters around the world: our global temperature has risen by approximately one degree since the preindustrial era; recently we have seen how the Fort McMurray wildfires have displaced thousands of families; and the current extreme heat wave in India and Pakistan is expected to cost many lives. Climate scientists have said that this is the decade to make significant changes in order to prevent global warming. Urgent and swift action is needed. Award-winning author and journalist Naomi Klein believes that nations must take a leap, rather than small steps, in order to shift the world to a place where climate change does not pose the level of threat it does today.

Klein emphasizes an important point: climate change is not only a cause—a cause of disaster and the Earth behaving in strange ways—but also a symptom. It is a symptom...

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Margaret Atwood: Compassion under contemporary conditions

 

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

How can you describe a talk by Canadian literary icon and living legend Margaret Atwood? To do it true justice would take the literary chops of Ms. Atwood herself, something I will never claim to have. What I can say is that she is an intellectual iron gauntlet under a velvet glove of quiet dignity and razor-sharp wit.

As part of her keynote address today for the University of Calgary Faculty of Nursing’s Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions Interdisciplinary Symposium, Atwood dared to ask the question, “compassion: how much is too much?” Those of us who see compassion as a universal good might bridle at this inquiry; but in laying out a popular history of the nurse in Western culture (wives and mothers kept locked out of public life because of their “natural compassion,” near-angelic Florence Nightingale carbon copies, passive and sexually available objects)...

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The Power to Change: Leadership, community and resiliency

 

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

“Aho Mitayyuke Oyasin.” Mayor Naheed Nenshi greeted a full auditorium of Congress attendees with a traditional Indigenous greeting: “greetings to all of my relations.” This phrase, taken from the Lakota language, emphasizes the oneness and entwinement of society. Nenshi used the importance of this concept to deliver a gripping lecture on creating prosperous, resilient and functioning communities. He emphasized the necessity of people from all walks of life to work together in order to make good ideas a reality within their communities.

As arguably the most well-liked mayor in Canada, Nenshi was in a good position to speak on this matter. Recounting a tough moment in Calgary’s history, Nenshi told of his experience in responding to the 2013 floods in the city. A few facts that highlight the severity of this include: the Elbow River usually flows 30-40 cubic metres per second and at the time of the...

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