We recently attended another in a series of “The Walrus Talks” sessions with the theme of “Living Better”. The sessions are put together by the Walrus Magazine and Concordia University. On the most recent talk 7 speakers talked about living better from their personal, business, social or scientific perspectives.
Living better was presented though our identity, song, low tech social media, loss, babies and architecture. Because of the lack of space and to keep the word count down to keep you the reader engaged here are thoughts on the speakers that left the greatest impression on me. Where there was info available I have included some Twitter ID so you might look further into the speakers I have for you.
Our individual Urban Community is recognized as a core to our living better; presented by architect Donald Schmidt, it discussed the science, politics and culture of how we live now. Exploring Ottawa’s architecture he gave 6 examples of buildings that bring better living to Ottawa; his list of six included the recent renovations of the National Arts Centre, The Ottawa Train Station, educational institutions uOttawa and Algonquin College, the Science and Tech Museum and the last of the six, but the one with the greatest potential – the new Ottawa Public Library and National Archives building that will rise in Lebreton Flats.
Going straight for the heart, Christa Couture, writer and broadcaster (Twitter ID @christacouture), brought the idea that personal loss can bring a ‘living better’ quality to our lives. In loss we often think and hope about life getting better, Couture made us think that sometimes life cannot get better, but that life can be different. Different is an alternative to better that sometimes we need to embrace. Different gives us all a grounded hope, not for better but for different – an alternative to live better.
With enhancements to how we communicate, it was enlightening to hear Nanveet Alang (@navalang) talk about how we can dial back technology. Tech is essential in today’s world but finding the human in technology allows everyone to make decisions that are our decisions, not technology’s or social media’s. Two options we have to give us the ‘opt in’ decision are the online group chat rooms. The earliest of these group chats was launched in 1983, a very adopter of social media, but the ideas often stayed in the group forums. In today’s social media, people’s thoughts are too often public, when they should be kept private. His second roll back in tech communications is the newsletter, they used to be delivered by email. The newsletter gives us the human reaction od deciding to opt in to receive a newsletter. Too often, by simply purchasing something we are automatically part of an email group and added to a newsletter distribution – the opt out is something that should part of history. Alang publishes his own newsletter, The Purposeful Object and is available for subscription at buttondown.email/TPO.
Finally, how about a song to celebrate living better? Sean McCann (@seanmccannsings), former member of Great Big Sea described his days post-alcohol through his song “Stronger” – how now being stronger he is living better. Have a listen: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=sean+mccann+youtube+stronger&&view=detail&mid=768E994AC200C8ED1B97768E994AC200C8ED1B97&&FORM=VRDGAR
Of course, we all make decisions on our personal ways for living better, listening to the others provides insight and perspectives how our community and personal experiences play a part in us living better – if we choose to.
NOTE: For more of The Walrus Talks: Living Better, visit their You Tube Channel for all the speakers of this event and other talks, https://www.youtube.com/user/walrustelevision.
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