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The Scales Project

The wonderful Bethany Gibson recently honoured me with an invitation to contribute something literary to her online art project, The Scales Project, “a conversation between artists … a call-and-response, a provocation, and a forum for connection and communication through art about the climate crisis and ecological collapse.” Going through the posts from other artists, I was blown away by the quality of the work, the depth of thought and insight, and the emotional power of the conversations.

 I contributed two pieces. One, “Blank Vision Board,” is an excerpt from a short story called “Mulch Glue,” about a teenaged aspiring activist who finds little support in town, where the toxic mill has economic control. The other, “Terrible Twos,” a response to Tom Cull’s excellent poem, “Anthropocene,” is about frivolity and being confronted with the knowledge of its destructiveness. At least, that’s how I read it.

If you’re an artist with something to say about climate and ecology, consider submitting something to the conversation.

Chris Benjamin Discusses Big Books of 2020

Author Chris Benjamin’s 1-Minute Reading from BOY WITH A PROBLEM

Chris Benjamin & David Huebert Discuss Boy With A Problem and Humanimus

The ReCover Initiative

ReImagining the Energy Efficient Building. ReBuilding a Sustainable Economy

This story first appeared in The Laker News on November 19,2020.

BERWICK: Lorrie Rand remembers two pivotal moments leading to the creation of the ReCover Initiative, which aims to reimagine energy-efficient buildings in Nova Scotia. The first was in 2013, at a passive-house conference in Maine, where she was learning how to use smart design to build a house that uses 80 to 90 percent less energy. She attended a presentation about a program in the Netherlands that had successfully retrofitted thousands of homes to become net-zero—meaning they generate as much energy as they use for heating, hot water and electrical—at no extra cost to homeowners.

“I was like, ‘oh my gosh this is what we need!’” Rand recalls.

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CTV Spotlight on Boy With A Problem

Chris Benjamin Presentation on the Shubenacadie Residential School

Why I Wrote Indian School Road

indian school roadThis is from my introduction to Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School, regarding my thought process on why I felt compelled to write a very difficult book:

Here is what I found first: a recurring nightmare. Me wandering the black and white halls of the old building, as seen only in photographs, pristine but steeped in an old rotten stench. The facts playing hide-and-seek within the walls. Finding only a sense of lurking, dishonest evil. What fool’s mission was this? What right did I have to come here?

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Indian School Road is a Nova Scotia Book of Influence

150BooksReadingListIndian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School has been been included on the Reading Nova Scotia: 150 Books of indian school roadInfluence list,  a list of books deemed influential and culturally relevant by Nova Scotia’s readers, librarians, and publishers.

Read the full list here.

 

 

Exclusive by Design

Originally published in Coastlands: The Maritimes Policy Reviewin December 2007, on pages 26-27.

By Chris Benjamin

In August I moved back to Halifax after an eight-year hiatus in Toronto. I was surprised to find that not much has changed. The north end is gentrifying somewhat and I see a few new buildings going in, but, by and large, it’s the same, slow-paced, well-spaced city I remember and love.

When I was 24, that slowness was killing me too quickly. After eight years of rushing around Toronto trying to prove how productive and hip I was, this place seems perfect. Yet, having suffered the teenaged doldrums without so much as a decent shopping mall where I could blow off steam (and money), I can appreciate the desire to liven up the place. Looking at the white flight out of this city, I can even understand the HRM by Design team’s ambitious “build it (up) and they will come (back)” dream. What I can’t understand is why they think building a bunch of steel and glass commercial towers, albeit buffered by trees and pedestrian lanes, is the way to do it.

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