Robert L. Peters

2 January 2019

2019… and high time for unisex toilets.

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All

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Worldwide

Come on, People! It’s high time for unisex public toilets (aka all-gender toilets, gender neutral toilets, gender free toilets or all-user toilets). These are all toilets which can be used by anybody, regardless of gender identity or presentation.

Public toilets and sanitation facilities need to cater for all people, including those who are part of the LGBTI community. This is an issue with respect to the human right to water and sanitation and also from the perspective of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (of the United Nations), which aim for universal access to sanitation and gender equality. Simply put, unisex public toilets provide equal sanitation space for all genders.

Gender segregated public toilets are an outmoded vestige of the Victorian era (200 years ago) where women’s modesty and safety were considered at risk and under constant need of surveillance and discipline. Before that (prudish) time, public lavatories around the world offered room for both sexes.

During the past two centuries public toilets around the world have been frequently been segregated by race, class, religion, and gender — and have often been completely inaccessible to certain people with unique needs or disabilities. Making public facilities universally accessible, and to diverse populations, has long been an issue on our “shrinking planet” — it’s high time for change!

More on the topic here. Images from diverse online sources…
Please treat all others as equals, and please do wash your hands. 


21 December 2018

Happy Solstice!

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10 December 2018

Today is Human Rights Day… and also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Paris, France

70 years ago today, on 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. The date of 10 December was established as Human Rights Day in 1950, and has been commemorated annually around the world on this date ever since.

These days, the advancement and promotion of worldwide human rights are confronted by growing nationalism, a widespread misinformation epidemic, and the ascendency of identity politics which draw strength from ethnic or religious conflict. All the more reason to celebrate (and disseminate) comprehensive statements of inalienable human rights, I say!

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a call to freedom and justice for people throughout the world. Many consider the Declaration to be the most important document ever written, essentially “the international Magna Carta of all mankind.” As such, it has also become the most translated document in the world.

Do you know your human rights? Read the full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here, or download a PDF of the text in English here. Watch an excellent type-and-graphic rendering of the Declaration on Vimeo here.


30 November 2018

No Man is an Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

—John Donne (1572–1631), Meditation XVII

In 1972, I was valedictorian of my graduating high school class at Black Forest Academy. I recited this poem by John Donne as the core of my address. I still feel the piece expresses deep empathy and humanity, welcome traits in a world that seems to skew increasingly isolationist and echoes with ever-louder, exclusionary nationalism. The ‘Brexit‘ issue in particular has (almost daily) put Donne’s wise words “back on my radar”…


19 November 2018

Pay us to kill you…

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Thanks to David Peters (and his friend David Asari)… “Dan Covert is the designer of the anti-smoking poster. He did this when he was a student at California College of the Arts for his Graphic Design 1 course taught by Mark Fox. Impressive work for a GD1 student.”


7 November 2018

There is a crack in everything…

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Montreal, Canada

It’s two years ago today since poet/troubadour Leonard Cohen moved on into the next dimension. I came across this insightful tribute by Maria Popova online (with thanks to Brenda Sanderson for the link)…

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There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions

A generous reminder that we must aim for “a revelation in the heart rather than a confrontation or a call-to-arms or a defense.”

Trained as a poet and ordained as a Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934–November 7, 2016) is our patron saint of sorrow and redemption. He wrote songs partway between philosophy and prayer — songs radiating the kind of prayerfulness which Simone Weil celebrated as “the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

One of his most beloved lyric lines, from the song “Anthem” — a song that took Cohen a decade to write — remains what is perhaps the most meaningful message for our troubled and troubling times: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” It springs from a central concern of Cohen’s life and work, one which he revisited in various guises across various songs — including in “Suzanne,” where he writes “look among the garbage and the flowers / there are heroes in the seaweed,” and in the iconic “Hallelujah”: “There’s a blaze of light / In every word / It doesn’t matter which you heard / The holy or the broken Hallelujah”.

Read the whole post on Brain Pickings


21 June 2018

Natural Reflections (the book-launch was today)

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Winnipeg, Canada 

The launch of our book, Natural Reflections, took place this evening at McNally Robinson’s Booksellers in Winnipeg. I read select texts from the book’s five chapters, Mike displayed a dozen enlarged photographic prints (and provided back-story re: their creation), and we both answered questions from the standing-room-only audience who had gathered for the occasion. Fun!

Earlier in the day, I did a radio interview with Marjorie Dowhos, host of CBC Manitoba’s ‘Radio Noon,’ and Mike did an interview in French earlier CBC’s ‘Radio Canada’

An inspiring and highly original book of photography takes the reader on an unforgettable walk through the vast and wide beauty of “Natural Canada.” Natural Reflections captures natural beauty from the exceptional viewpoint and unique perspective of Mike Grandmaison’s lens.

A singular gallery of images is curated, amplified and informed by the observations of Robert L. Peters. Filled with insightful musings, truisms and parallel quotations from some of the world’s greatest thinkers, this book is bound to inspire and truly engage both halves of the brain. Divided into five contemplative chapters – On Inspiration, On Seeing, On Intimacy, On Order, On Change – this lavishly produced volume comprises a rich and seamless interweaving of image and word.

This is a book not to be missed by anyone interested in the natural world (and its preservation), the art of outdoor photography, the creative process or this vast land called Canada. The photographer and author, long-time friends and avid nature-lovers, share the humble view that, like a Mother, the Earth both bore us and sustains us, asking little in return but love and respect. This book is their reciprocal tribute and holistic offering.

The book is available at McNally’s and other book-sellers worldwide ( ISBN-10: 1771602546 / ISBN-13: 978-1771602549 ) as well as from online vendors such as Amazon and Chapters, etc…

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25 November 2017

The Rebel… end of the cyberpunk triolgy.

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Winnipeg, Manitoba

My good friend Gerald Brandt’s third novel in the San Angeles trilogy, a thrilling “near-future cyberpunk sci-fi series,” has just been released by Penguin/DAW. Gerald’s “darkly gripping vision of the future” offers a tense, fast-paced, “impossible-to-put-down” tale that keeps readers on the edge of their seat, with a very relatable young heroine as the embattled protagonist. The Rebel is launching locally at McNally Robinson on Monday evening, and we look forward being there for it!

I first got to know Gerald in the 1990s when I took up rock climbing — he and his lithe twin brother were good instructors and a decade younger than I was — we bonded almost immediately (in that way that only those who put their lives into each other’s hands can do) and we became good climbing mates, with countless weekends on nearby cliffs along with unforgettable climbing expeditions in the Rockies. (Yes, Gerald’s climbing prowess makes an appearance in his San Angeles narratives).

Ev and I were pleased and honoured last night to be able to host Gerald and his partner Marnie for dinner — a real shock (and a sudden wave of tears) came when he presented me with a signed copy of The Rebel and I opened the book… Talk about chuffed! I’ve never had a book dedicated to me before…

Thanks Gerald!

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23 November 2017

Decolonizing Community Engagement

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Guest Blog by Dr. Derek Kornelsen

Recently, terms like decolonization and community engagement have become buzzwords in popular discourses about Indigenous health research. But what does decolonization actually mean? How can we really try to decolonize community engagement? If this is to make any sense, and provide any kind of realistic guide for action, we need to start by gaining some sense of how colonization has impacted — and continues to impact — Indigenous communities and Western academic/research institutions. Only then can we consider why community engagement matters and what a decolonized form of community engagement might look like.

Settler Colonialism in Canada

A good starting point for understanding colonialism in Canada is to recognize that there is a distinct form of colonialism at work here — both past and present. This form is called settler colonialism. Typical understandings of colonialism usually refer to a situation where a colonial entity oppresses and manipulates foreign peoples in order to extract wealth and resources — India and South Africa are key examples. In these cases, there is a point at which we see the colonial power officially leaving, and the colonized peoples achieving some level of independence. On the other hand, in cases of settler colonialism, the colonial entity doesn’t leave, but continues to bring in more and more settlers in order to reproduce itself in the colonized space — Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand are the usual suspects here. The particularly horrifying aspect of this practice — as scholars like Patrick Wolfe have discussed in depth — is that, in order to reproduce itself in a given place, the settler colonial entity must ‘destroy to replace’. In Canada, we’ve seen this through overt genocidal acts that morphed into the kinds of cultural genocide that have occured throughout the residential school era.

Read more here…

Dr. Derek Kornelsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. His research focuses on examining/contrasting Western and Indigenous philosophies and institutional frameworks, with a particular emphasis on developing a theoretical framework grounded in an understanding of the dynamics and impacts of Settler Colonialism. This theoretical framework enables a sensitivity to 2 key under-researched areas in Indigenous health and wellness research: the impacts of the disruption of Indigenous peoples’ relationships with land and environment; and strategies for decolonizing key institutions that Indigenous peoples must access (health as well as political, legal, educational, economic institutions). Broadly speaking, this theoretical frame contributes to the development of robust Indigenous determinants of health and wellness. He is currently involved in developing a number of local, national, and international research projects and partnerships in areas of environmental health and Indigenous health and wellness.


17 November 2017

Over two million biodiversity illustrations… online.

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The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an “open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives,” has for many years been making it easy for people to connect to nature through nature writing and illustration. Its “first stream,” currently at 122,281 images, has been carefully curated, and includes searchable galleries and albums divided by book title or subject, such as “Exotic botany illustrated,” “The Birds of Australia v.1,” and “Bats!” Its “second stream,” consisting of over 2 million images, is a massive grab-bag of photos, illlustrations from nature, advertisements, and imaginative renderings.

This digital library offers potential for chance discovery through “the aimless wandering that often leads to serendipitously sublime experiences.” The image archives “offer expansive views of humanity’s encounter with the natural world, not only through statistics and academic jargon, but through the artistic recording of wonder, scientific curiosity, and deep appreciation.” Many of the images allow “zooming in” to carefully observe details of the artists’ illustrative processes.

Enjoy! (source)

 


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