Words

Here are a selection of articles and essays. Scroll down and if you want to read a piece, click “Read More”. You’ll find video links along with readings on globalization, Jane Jacobs, craft beer, ecology and imagination, health and human rights, street kids, Oliver Sacks, virtue and vice, green business, art therapy, Thoreau, war, drugs, sex and money…

Essays

— Jane Jacobs: Prophet of Globalization? Yes, but with a (local) human face
— Jesus of Guadalajara
— A Conversation with Northrop Frye about William Morris
— Please Pull the Baby out of the Fire: The Fallacy of Protecting Children in Armed Conflict
— What do you mean by green?
— The Exile of Poetic Imagination
— Children, War and the Forgotten Ground of Healing
— Camping on Walden Pond

Research Papers

— Sustainability In Action: People, Planet and Prosperity
— Karate Kids: Reaching the Unreached
— Play, Learn, Work, Struggle, Suffer, Belong: Children and the Dynamic of the Street
— The Last Humanitarian

Articles and Reviews

— An Altered View of What it Means to be Human
— Conversations with Laurens Van Der Post, Marion Woodman, Ross Woodman and Thomas Berry
— The Future of Travel
— A Taste of History: Toronto’s Craft Breweries

24 May 2013

Sustainability In Action: People, Planet and Prosperity

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Sustainability In Action: People, Planet and Prosperity

Metcalf Research Paper by Chris Lowry, August 2012

“Any cultural movement will fail if it can’t paint a picture of a world where people want to go to.”

– Martin Luther King

The objective of this paper is to identify examples of sustainability principles in action and to gain a greater understanding of how initiatives that demonstrate sustainability principles come into being and continue to be successful overtime.

31 Mar 2011

The Future of Travel

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Train station, Amsterdam (Photo by Chris Lowry)

Many of us enjoy traveling to far-off places – usually by air – sometimes for only a weekend. Southern Ontario attracts large numbers of visitors arriving by plane. Heck, they just expanded Pearson Airport to accommodate increasing traffic. It’s normal, it’s a way of life that’s taken for granted…and it probably won’t last much longer.
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30 Mar 2011

A Conversation with Northrop Frye about William Morris

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Interested in Frye, author of The Great Code? Ever heard of Morris, the English arts and crafts radical of the late 19th century? William Morris was a multi-disciplinary designer, poet, social activist, translator of ancient Icelandic sagas, and a central member of the Pre-Raphaelites. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was perhaps the most famous of those, and Morris’s wife was the model for the heroine in many of Rosetti’s gorgeous medieval scenes. Read more

29 Mar 2011

Jane Jacobs: Prophet of Globalization? Yes, but with a (local) human face

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Inspired by the Ideas that Matter conference celebrating Jane Jacobs in 1997, this essay is an effort to place her work within the continuing debate about how globalization works, and where we go from here. Read more

28 Mar 2011

A Taste of History: Toronto’s Craft Breweries

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It may surprise you to know that in the mid-19th century, every town in Ontario had a brewery and a tavern or two. During the 18th century, British soldiers in Canada were entitled to six pints of beer a day, and it was often quite strong beer, as much as 12% alcohol by volume! In The Canadian Settler’s Guide, the19th-century Canadian writer Catharine Parr Traill wrote that beer was the best beverage to provide “some cooling and strengthening…much required by men who have to work out in the heat of the sun.”
Mill Street Brewpub in the old Distillery District
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26 Mar 2011

Jesus of Guadalajara

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During the ten years that I worked with Street Kids International, I met a lot of cool, big hearted people working in the field around the world. This is a portrait of one of the best: Rogelio Padilla.

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26 Mar 2011

An Altered View of What it Means to be Human

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Photos of Oliver Sacks by Angela Radulescu

Oliver Sacks is simply a delightful writer, and this essay partakes of that pleasure. Oaxaca Journal crackles with botanical and ecological information framed for its meaning, not merely presented as scientific factoids. Science, it has been remarked, has no meaning. It is up to wise scientists to frame the facts meaningfully, as Sacks does.

This is a short essay about Oliver Sacks’ Oaxaca Journal, published in National Geographic Directions (Washington, 2002).

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26 Mar 2011

Please Pull the Baby out of the Fire: The Fallacy of Protecting Children from Armed Conflict

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Child alone, Kabul River (Photo by Chris Lowry)

The title, ‘pull the baby out of the fire’, comes from an 18th century English satirist named Mandeville. In The Fable of the Bees, Mandeville explains the nature of Virtue and Vice with a story. The story goes like this.

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26 Mar 2011

Conversations with Laurens Van Der Post, Marion Woodman, Ross Woodman, and Thomas Berry

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Four of wisest people who have shared the planet with us agreed to be interviewed by film maker Nancy Ryley for a book. Two of the subjects, Ross and Marion Woodman, are also friends of mine and both appear in my 1981 film about Jack Chambers. My first published book review was in praise of Marion’s first book, The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter (Obesity, Anorexia and the Repressed Feminine).

“In times like these,” says Thomas Berry, “…we need people who realize that we are shaping a new order of things.”

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26 Mar 2011

What Do You Mean By Green?

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Green filters, certification, screening criteria, eye of the green needle—how do you know if you’re ‘green’ enough?

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26 Mar 2011

The Exile of Poetic Imagination

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This essay looks at my work promoting the use of expressive arts therapies with war-affected kids, and the challenges we faced in this work.
Boy with kite, Bamian, Afghanistan (Photo by Chris Lowry)

I am interested in the transformative power of theatre and ritual. “At its deepest level this is what theatre is about, the ability to frame and control, to transform the raw into the cooked, to deal with the most problematic (violent, dangerous, sexual taboo) human interactions.” (Schechner)

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25 Mar 2011

Children, War, and The Forgotten Ground of Healing

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This essay deals with ways to focus on the strengths and gifts of communities, and especially children, in war and other adversity. It comes out of the many years that I worked in the field of child health and rights.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

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25 Mar 2011

Karate Kids: Reaching The Unreached

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The Karate Kids AIDS education project was famous in development circles, because it defied the conventional wisdom with its explicit sexual information for children, including the f- word. It was also famous because it went on to be translated into about 30 languages, and the video was distributed at street level all over the world. Produced in 1990, it is still in use today. I was a co-producer and Managing Director of the project, which included language versions, as well as editing and publishing books and comics with partners in many countries.

Karate Kids, Derek Lamb, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


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25 Mar 2011

Play, Learn, Work, Struggle, Suffer, Belong: Children and the Dynamic of the Street

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Illustration by Bernice Schwartz

‘le plus ça change…’
Not much has changed for the prospects of street children worldwide since I wrote this research paper in the late 90s for CIDA and Street Kids International. The work remains rewarding, and the need is increasing (check out the new book, Arrival City).

This paper deconstructs some of the common images and assumptions that cloud the subject. “Pity would be no more/ If we did not make somebody poor.” —William Blake.

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24 Mar 2011

Camping On Walden Pond

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This fresh look at Thoreau’s life in the woods may surprise you.

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24 Mar 2011

The Last Humanitarian

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After I left Médecins Sans Frontières in 2002, it took me some time to sort out my thoughts and feelings about that extraordinary organization. This work, the major paper for my Masters degree at U of T, provided me with the needed catharsis. I was invited to publish an abridged version in Disasters Journal (UK), a leading publication in the international relief field, but other work drew my attention away from these issues.

What if greater transparency and consistency of words and deeds leads to greater effectiveness, or at least greater moral authority in difficult situations?


Pakistani gun merchant (Photo by Chris Lowry)

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