Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle meets Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in today’s Toronto Star. The paper sent a writer to work at a large industrial bakery in Toronto recently. Her findings should shock us.
Wages are low. The pace is fast. Safety is a hit-and-miss affair in a profitable establishment making bread products for corporate clients. There has been loss of life at the plant where most of the workers are female newcomers. Their employer has received grants, loans and praise from the government. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board gives them rebates. Through their lawyer the owners say that safety is important.
Temps pick their wages up in cash at a payday lending office thirty-five minutes away by bus. Their employer drives a Bentley and lives in a mansion.
On Twitter alone, mentions of this feature have grown steadily all day. This feature deserves a wide audience and is exactly the kind of reportage the Star should be coming up with.
Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005. Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier. If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
Media largely blind to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor Communities.” Hurricanes don’t care if you’re rich, poor, white, or black—but that doesn’t mean that every person is equally vulnerable to a storm.”
Houston’s human catastrophe started long before the Storm. Decades of neglect, inequality, and disenfranchisement mean that all Houstonians, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have been left utterly undefended
Consider how inappropriate regional development makes Houston so vulnerable.
See also: (1207) Hurricane Harvey
image: screenshot of newsreel from Texas Archives holdings
The poor need a guaranteed income, not our charity.
Community gardens, cooking classes, and food banks may make us feel good, but they don’t solve the problem of food insecurity
image: jamie via Flickr/CC
As with food and fuel we can attach hygiene to the word poverty more easily than we like. Making poverty a plural may be pushing it a little at the moment but if we continue with our present economic systems we might just have to. This UK item squares with our observations of a busy drop in centre in the Greater Toronto Area where personal care supplies were always very popular.
Poverty driving people to choose between eating or keeping clean. In Kind Direct charity warns of ‘hidden crisis’ facing thousands after it distributes £20.2m of hygiene products in one year
(1094) Period poverty
(597) Free tampons!
Even a moderate increase in food insecurity and difficulty with one’s mental health can notch up quite alarmingly.
For a series of recent papers on the topic:
PROOF: food insecurity and policy research
image: Vintage Canadian Supermarkets via Flickr/CC
Mobile food bank expands in Windham County
Enormous pressure will soon be placed on the world’s croplands as they are exchanged for human habitat. Mind boggling stuff, even without consideration of climate change!
An elegant monochrome map of the world’s settlements.
German scientists made this excruciatingly detailed simulacrum of the “global urban footprint”
image: Duncan Rawlinson via Flickr/CC
For the love of God, stop giving canned goods to the food bank
vancouversun.org (video 2:41)
image: GM Wellness via Flickr/CC