Letters: Oil Sands, School Lunches & Vibrators

It's mail day. We find out what you've had to say about oil sands, school lunches and vibrators. Plus we talk to our Friday host this week, Nelofer Pazira who is in New York City getting ready for tomorrow's program about the legacy of the attacks of September 11th, 10 years later.

Part Three of The Current


This week, we began our new project season long called Game Changer about the people, ideas or events that forever change the way we live, and the world we live in. With the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th this weekend, we're dedicating tomorrow's program to reflecting on that day and how it has shaped our lives.

Nelofer Pazira will host this special Friday Edition of The Current from New York City. She is an award winning director, actor, journalist and author who grew up in Kabul during the Soviet occupation before coming to Canada. Nelofer joined us from New York City this morning.

The Anthropocene: Yesterday on The Current we looked at how humans have altered the face of the Earth...vast forests replaced with pavement and concrete...massive dams...tops blown off mountains to get at the coal underneath. And we spoke to the renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has been chronicling the impact humans are having on Earth for more than two decades.

Sadly, we ran into some technical difficulties during the broadcast, and those of you in Ontario and Quebec didn't get to hear the whole two-part segment. We apologize for that and encourage you to have a listen on our website.

The segment covered some territory familiar to Garth Lenz. He is an art photographer and environmental photo-journalist whose work on the Alberta Oil Sands won first place in an international competition called Ten Years After Nine-Eleven: Searching For A 21st Century Landscape. Garth Lenz wrote in to tell us about his work. And this morning, he joined us from Victoria, B.C.

We'll be taking our own look at the oil sands on Tuesday, when the The Current will broadcast out of Calgary. As part of our project, Game Changer, we'll examine how the oil sands have changed our lives and what our lives might be like if they hadn't been developed.

School Lunches: Overwhelmingly, the topic that flooded our inbox this week was school lunches. For many parents, September means dusting off the Spiderman lunch bags and returning to the sometimes tedious chore of packing a lunch.But increasingly, making a lunch is becoming more of a challenge as schools implement more restrictions on what's allowed in those lunch bags.

Litterless lunches have long been encouraged but now, healthy eating is also being made the rule. So along with restrictions on foods due to allergies, that means a lot of other things are banned from the lunchbox. Monday on The Current we put the politics of the lunchbox to Katherine Mangu-Ward, a senior editor at Reason Magazine and Sharon Azim, principal of North Agincourt Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ontario.

The story raised lots of issues and we got an earful in the mail. Many listeners were concerned about the role that teachers play in policing the lunchroom We shared some of our listeners comments.

Arab Spring Revisited: It's been nine months of upheaval throughout the Middle East and North Africa ... as unprecedented hope for change has inspired a wave of uprisings. First Tunisia .. then Algeria and Jordan and Sudan. And then in February, Tahrir Square became the focal point as Egypt rose to its feet to evoke change. Monday on The Current, we checked back to find out if the hopes raised during the Arab spring are being realized. This segment prompted many of you to write including Smadar Carmon of Toronto who wrote:

During my recent visit to Israel, I witnessed the beginnings of an Israeli Spring -- an uprising which is active and growing. Tent cities were just starting and the movement of mostly young people was growing daily. This has never happened in Israel before!

What is happening in Israel is largely influenced by the Arab Spring -- Israelis have realized that they too are suffering from their governments. The gap between the middle class and the rich is growing .... as the gap between the middle class and the poor shrinks. I hope that you can find some time to cover this uprising, which is still active and growing, in one of your programs.

Those thoughts prompted us to reach our next guest, Hagai El-Dal. He is the executive director of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and he was in Tel Aviv.

The Vibrator: Well the season-long project on The Current this year is Game Changer and Tuesday on the program we presented the vibrator as one of them. The vibrator was invented in the Victorian era as a treatment for a female condition called "hysteria". It was rather an unorthodox topic but it tickled the fancy of at least one listener. We gave the last word in our mail segment to a caller named Betty near Parry Sound, Ontario.

To add your thoughts to anything you hear on The Current, contact us here.

Other segments from today's show:

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