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Margaret Atwood Tweets to Keep Green Space

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Margaret Atwood has been tweeting her support to keep the natural grass field at the University of Toronto (U of T).

Canadian author Margaret Atwood is among the many wanting to put a stop to the artificial turf planned for University of Toronto’s (U of T’s) field hockey pitch for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Back campus DSC 2948

Atwood, a U of T alumna, recently posted on Twitter: “So, @UofTNews: as a soon-to-be dead alum w. $ to leave, am I annoyed by the anti-green plan? Y!” Since then, she has kept tweeting her support to keep the green space, including posting about how plants make oxygen and plastic does not, and about “the astro turf heat trap.”

Several other U of T members agree with Atwood and want to see the field remain natural. The university’s back campus is one of the largest green spaces remaining downtown and a key part of many graduates’ memories, U of T English professor Stephen Scharper told The Toronto Star. He also said Atwood has a long and feisty history of challenging certain traditions at the university that need to be questioned.

“It means a lot not just because (Atwood) is famous, but people have a lot of respect for her,” Suzanne Akbari, a professor of English and medieval studies, told The Toronto Star. “She has this intensely ethical position, particularly with regard to environmental issues. She’s been helping people become more aware of what’s at stake.”

The plan is to build a $9.5-million field hockey pitch to be used for the Games, which will include ripping up the natural grass and replacing it with artificial turf. All required assessments with Infrastructure Ontario and the Pan Am Games were completed for the pitch, and global category pitches like this one are the standard required by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for all top international competitions.

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