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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Darwin Day, 2009

We are excited to inform you that we will be hosting the 2009 Darwin Day event in the Noel Ryan auditorium of the Mississauga Central Library on February 10th at 7:00pm.

Our speaker is Dr. Jason Wiles, biology professor at the University of Syracuse and co-director of the Evolution Education Research Centre with Dr. Brian Alters at McGill University in Montreal. He will be speaking to the public on the topic of evolution in education and why this basic tenet of biological life on earth is still misunderstood and refuted by a majority of the general population.

2009 being the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, one would have thought that evolution would have been as common a concept at that of gravity or heliocentricity. However, this is not so as evidenced by current polls.

Understanding why required appropriate research, funding for which was denied by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) a major source of funding for such research. It was the focus of an issue of Humanist Perspectives and a source of major embarrasment for the Council.

Prior to Dr. Wiles presentation, we will have Dr. Douglas Currie, Entomology curator at the Royal Ontario Museum, give us a sneak preview into the new Schad Gallery of Biodiversity portraying the natural history of a planet in peril.

HPHC November meeting

Our November meeting was held in the boardroom of the Creditview Animal & Bird Hospital in Mississauga and was attended by several members.

The topic of discussion centred around our mortality as recent celebrations at the beginning of the month revered the souls of the dearly departed. Death is a topic not very often visited in daily conversations and it is an issue that all too often is swept under the rug unless confronted through reality.

The 'spirited' discussion covered much ground from dying with dignity to living wills. It was resolved that we should invite members of the Canadian group Dying with Dignity to one of our next meetings to hold a workshop on preparing a Living Will.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Humanists celebrate seasonal and life events

This months meeting will focus on how the non-religious celebrate life events and special occasions. With Thanksgiving having just taken place and Halloween around the corner heralding the arrival of Christmas, there is a need to acknowledge the event without necessarily believing in the dogma. All these festivals have pagan origins and together with pivotal life events fulfill a human need.

We hope to have a Humanist Officiant describe some of the ceremonies they perform and discuss the origins of other universal festivals. In the spirit of the season, we will have a small 'pot-luck' with bite-sized finger-foods (or Thanksgiving leftovers ;-). However, we cannot imbibe in the spirits as this is a municipal facility.

Most religious festivals have been co-opted from previous pagan or other traditional feasts of the natives prior to introduction of religion. Typical Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter both have secular origins.

With Halloween coming up shortly, we will again be thinking of the secular origins of this popular kids festival which is celebrated by all. By most accounts, it has several counterparts world-wide and was preceded in North America by a native Mexican festival called the Day of the Dead.

As a Community, there are certain traditional life event celebrations that do not require religious ceremonies but are never-the-less pivotal to our passage. Baby naming ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies, weddings and funerals. All these need to be appropriately marked but not necessarily blessed by a supernatural deity.

We hope to explore the need for these celebrations in our secular lives and how we can maintain a healthy relationship with all these events without going overboard.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sept 16th Restaurant Meeting

The next meeting of the Halton Peel Humanist Community will be held at Montfort Restaurant on Iroquois Road, just south of the Oakville Town Centre in Oakville on Tuesday, Sep. 16th at 7:00pm.

The topic of discussion at this meeting will centre on how our personal dietary choices affect others, whether those be humans or animals.

This topic is becoming more important for our emotional, physical and planetary well-being as we are currently much more removed from our food sources than we have ever been in the short history of humankind. With diverging issues of health ranging from cardiac to social and environment, it is important that we discuss the implication of our personal choices.

As with everything else, whatever we do... or eat, we need to do it conciously with the ultimate goal of reducing our 'foodprint'. That involves eating locally and, whenever possible, organically.

Besides improving the quality and taste of the food, it is more healthy for our bodies as well as our environment.

Looking forward to seeing some of you at the meeting.

Kevin Saldanha
Halton Peel Humanist Community.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Public Meeting May 20th, 2008

Peter Orphanos, chair of the Peel Region chapter of the Sierra Club, will be speaking at our public meeting on May 20th, 2008 on the topic of the 'The true cost of fossil fuels' in relation to the environment.

As we see gas prices reach new heights, we need to understand how we have arrived to this level of dependence on fossil fuels and what this means for the environment which is changing so rapidly due to human activity.

Peter, who retired from a successful teaching and administrative career five years ago, is now an active environmentalist, with expertise at several levels of governmental administration. He is regularly called upon by municipalities for advice on how to create sustainable neighbourhoods while reducing our dependency on non-renewable resources.

We encourage you to attend this interesting evening which starts at 7:30p in the Acorn Grill of the Oakville Town Centre.

Kevin Saldanha
Halton Peel Humanist Community