People You Meet: Dan Cooper
Dan Cooper is an energetic entrepreneur on Queen West, with a goal to change the world.
Who are you?
I'm just a guy trying to make my way...living. I sell jewelry on the side of the street. It's a part time thing - making money to get out of this cold, cold country.
Where will you go?
What's the interest in Machu Picchu?
I saw a couple slides as a young child and I've had reoccurring dreams. So, that's one part of it. But also, me and a couple friends are going to go work at an orphanage down in Cusco, which is right by Machu Picchu. So it's half humanitarian half extremely selfish, but all in all it should even out.
What motivates you to be compelled to help others?
Well actually working on the street helps quite a bit 'cause I see the apathy that is so rampant with people in not just North America but in the world. People are apathetic and I think it's because they're not exposed to enough. Well maybe they're exposed to enough but not in the right way, not in the way that captures their imagination and really forces them to act. I'm gonna be trying to bring some of what I learn and the way I feel about these things through people I meet and with things that I do.
What are some ways you, or we, can help combat this apathy?
Well I think we're on our way. I'm from Guelph, which is a little gated community of hippies, so everybody there talks a big talk. They know what's going on and they have a good idea of how to help, it's just that people don't want to put in enough action. I know that I'm putting out an opinion that's not very popular, but I'm really happy about the recession. I'm looking for depression myself, because it's those really catastrophic things that force people to act. And I think that in this day-in-age, with all the things that are going on, once you scrape away that level of profit and money that everybody sees, then they'll actually see the problems. It will bring the people closer to the issues and hopefully force them to act.
What do you think needs to happen with the recession for this change to take place?
To be completely honest, I have no idea. It's purely speculation. I don't even know if it could help. But I have already seen the fact that there is this thing that everybody is involved in - seeing that they have to change society to change this event. I think that it's already doing that, it's already pushing people to think creatively about how they live.
If there was one thing that you could ask every person to do to make a difference, what would that be?
You've stumped me. There isn't one thing that everybody could do to help the world because if everybody did that one thing it would just become common place and everything else would go to shit. It has to be a cohesive effort on different levels. It just can't be one thing. Because it's not just the environment, it's not just the economy, it's our whole society that's kind of ill designed. It's really a total rework of that that we need.
Does this whole cohesiveness start with understanding?
Of course. Everything starts with education. You have to know the faults before you can change them. I hope.
If you had 24 hours to spend with someone new to Toronto, what would you do?
In the winter or the summer? because that depends. I'd bring them to Allen Gardens, no matter what season, because it's just a great place to hang out - do your thing. Depending on who it is, bring them up to The Gem; just sit down, have a pint, relax. Go to Trinity Bellwoods. Just show them the city. If they're only here for a day, show them Toronto, the beauty of Toronto, not the concrete.
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