Polluted in Toronto by Deb Danielle Younge-Ullman

The Oppressor and I have a love-hate relationship with living in the city. We hate the expense, the smog and the stress of rushing around all the time. We often rhapsodize about the acres we could live on in the country for the same $ we paid to live on our postage stamp piece of property in Toronto. The air would be cleaner and we would all run free and barefoot, grow our own vegetables, etc, etc.


Problem is, he’d have to commute (further polluting the air) plus we would suffer from a lack of coffee shops within walking distance and be totally without friends. Not to mention I am a plant killer and not much of a cook and we could, in theory, grow vegetables in the city if that’s what it’s all about.

So we’re stuck with Toronto with all the wonderful and terrible things that entails, including a whole lot of pollutions and bad environmental habits that need to be worked on by us and everybody else.

I don’t have much more to say but I thought I’d write a sonnet…

Polluted in Toronto

Poor polluted Toronto, on Earth Week,
A serious subject, no tongue in cheek!
We are a disaster from east to west,
Don’t kid yourselves that we’re doing our best.

Ontario’s lake: a disgusting mess
Never to be swum in, I must confess.
The longed-for summer is smothered in smog,
No air for the flowers, the kids, the dog…

We’ve got the recycling, the local food,
Fair trade coffee, if we’re in the mood,
The ugly light bulbs plus the Green Bin too,
Reusable grocery bags out the wazoo.

And our one windmill sure does look pretty,
But poor little thing won’t save our city.

Have a thoughtful Earth Week!

Deb Danielle


17 Replies to “Polluted in Toronto by Deb Danielle Younge-Ullman”

  1. Although your sonnet is delightful, I think it’s a definite cry for help. You know, there is a lovely place just down the 403 where coffee shops are ample and the air is actually cleaner than Toronto’s (don’t laugh, it’s documented). Housing is much cheaper and you would have ample friends – okay, friend. But Finn would have someone new to hang out with. Think about it.

  2. You crack me up, D! I love your sonnets. And seriously, I had the impression that Toronto was one of the cleaner, more progressive cities (as far as environmental things go)!

    Around here that badge would go to Madison, where Gail lives. I just read a cute article this morning about how Madison’s ‘underground chicken movement’ talked city managers into repealing a ban on city chicken coops. So if you can’t garden, maybe you can … chicken! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. As one city girl to another I know what you mean about thinking about what you could live in if you moved away. But then you’d be away. gasp.

    I’m not sure I can see you raising chickens….

  4. Jess: yes, we are progressive in the sense that we’ve got a composting program, etc, etc, but the traffic is outrageous and we’ve got serious smog!

    Eileen, I think you’re right about chickens–I can’t see it. They would drive the dog out of his mind. Plus I’ve heard chickens aren’t very nice.

    Michael: high praise indeed, from someone who dislikes poetry!

  5. Danielle, in doing a virtual tour post of Toronto last Friday, I found that: “Toronto may also well be the cleanest, greenest, and safest metropolis in North America.” Go figure! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. This made me laugh SO hard because like you, I have this romantic notion of me Living Off the Land but have absolutely no gardening skills AT ALL!! Also, loved your sonnet. You really should look into sonnet writing as a side-job! Meant to tell you that I saw an interesting film about Toronto at the Wisconsin Film festival a few weeks ago called, THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Have you heard of it?

    Jess, that’s so funny about Madison because someone in our neighborhood was keeping chickens in their yard and people complained!

  7. Gail–that made me laugh out loud!!! I’d LOVE to get chickens, but it would be a bloodbath with all the cats & raccoons prowling around at night. Plus, our yard is the size of a pat of butter.

  8. Larramie, what a cool coincidence that you were just blogging about Toronto! It really is a great city–it’s just that everyone who lives here likes to complain about it. And we do have gross smog all summer long.

    Gail, you mean you don’t think we’d survive if we did a deb collective living thing? I’d love to be off grid but, you know, I need my laptop, my microwave, a coffee shop to walk to, etc. I wish someone would pay me to write sonnets. That would be serious fun.

    Jess, I hear chickens are not the nicest tempered creatures. Just saying…

  9. Oh no, D, I think a deb collective house WOULD work. One of us must have tilling and hoeing skills.And I would lead yoga every morning and you would serenade us to sleep reciting original sonnets and Lisa would give us all relationship advice and Jess IS the gardener, right? And Jenny would be our spokesperson in the world (and our driver) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have you heard of THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, btw? Very powerful movie.

  10. I vote Eileen for hoeing and maybe I could till. Or maybe hoeing and tilling comes under gardening and therefore Jess?

    RE The Beautiful City, no I have not seen it. I’ll keep an eye out now though. It’s all about Toronto?

  11. Um, sorry Joanne, but Hamilton does have a bad rap for bad air.

    On the other hand… I had a choke on bad truck fumes moment today that had me thinking the same things as Danielle… but I, too, don’t know what I’d do with myself if I couldn’t get to the 50 odd movie screens within 5 subway stops from my home…

  12. Gail… I have not heard of that THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY film… but at the Toronto film fest last year their was a movie called EVERYONE HATES TORONTO. It was a tongue in cheek film about how everyone in Canada who doesn’t live in Toronto, hates Toronto. And they mostly do. (We often think it’s jealousy. Big city frustrations aside, it’s a very livable big city.)

    And sorry for the Hamilton slap, Joanne. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Coming late to this post D! But I really loved it (as always), especially your sonnet.
    I was in my hometown of Pittsburgh last week, and yes, I’m originally a city girl, who was riding the 61A bus when she was 9 years old all by herself. I was SHOCKED to drive in the direction of my old neighborhood to see a man in front of his house with his dog and his…CHICKEN! Where I live now it’s common for folks to keep chickens, but certainly not in the city! Though I did hear recently there is a chicken-keeping movement in Brooklyn (and illicit roosters, but how does one keep a rooster under wrap?).
    I would have to stick with publicity in that Deb co-op. I kill everything I try to grow. I’m reduced to faux plants in the house, the shame of it.
    My teen son is in a Walden mode. He’s under the impression that he’s going to return to the land, till the soil, raise his own vegetables (after building a log cabin). I told him that idea was great but for the constant need to text message his friends and IM on the computer and oh, that Nintendo Wii thing…

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