Praying for Australia

I recently read a news story with the headline about the apathy toward the horrific bush fires and loss of life in Australia. I don’t know who wrote the story (my apologies to the writer, but I’ve been reading so many stories about the fires there and I simply do not recall) but it has not been my experience. On my social media every third or fourth post concerns that country and the people posting are filled with concern and compassion. The story focused on the outrage displayed throughout 2019 toward the climate crisis and the lack of political will to do something to address it. The author wondered why there was not more news coverage in media outside Australia, with the climate crisis in mind. So, of course I had to google it and to my dismay the author was absolutely right. I scrolled for a few minutes but found nothing on the ongoing battle to contain the blazes, nor anything addressing the climate crisis. That was yesterday (or was it the day before?).

 However, I don’t think people are apathetic. At least, if social media means anything, there is an outpouring of caring and praying for the island nation. Having been forced to flee forest fires here in my city of Fort McMurray my heart goes out to the people of Australia and the national disaster they are facing. It is heart-breaking to see the devastation and loss of life these bush fires have wreaked. Naturally people do not have to have had experience with fleeing forest fires to feel empathy for the Australians, or for that matter any nation dealing with a natural disaster. I am praying for the people of Australia and I hope you will join me.

I took this shot as we were driving out of town on May 3, 2016 as the forest fire caused the evacuation of the entire city of Fort McMurray, AB, Canada. It would be a full month before we were allowed to return. As I see photos of the horrendous fires in Australia I cannot help but remember the terror of trying to escape the flames that encircled the city. May the people of Australia receive all they need, now and afterwards so they can pick the pieces and rebuild their lives. My heart goes out to you.

A fine mess we’ve gotten our world into (on the climate crisis and the blame game)

I’ve been reading stories about climate change and following Greta Thunberg’s progress as she addresses the powers that be concerning the climate crisis. I don’t think it helps to throw young people under the bus for voicing their concerns (and ours as well). I read a very acrimonious response to this young woman’s impassioned plea that was filled with adjectives that shamed and blamed young people calling them “entitled” among other things.

We’ve all heard the barrage of messages on both sides. On one hand baby boomers and their parents are blamed for the present sorry situation we find ourselves in: tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other weather bombs that have left cities and often whole nations in ruins. On the other hand, people are quick to point out the dependence on cell phones and high-tech toys that are updated frequently, which also has an impact on climate change. It’s all very disheartening. And none of it productive.

Attacking one another achieves nothing but a simmering resentment and blinds us all to the matter at hand. We cannot make a difference as long as our energies are focused on the blame game instead of holding big business and governments accountable and taking personal responsibility for our own actions that contribute to the problems – like buying things we do not need and sending stuff to landfill instead of recycling or re purposing items. In Canada we are in the midst of trying to make a decision on who to vote for in the upcoming federal election – climate change is high on the agenda. Thousands are gathering in every major city across the country to participate in the global climate strike even as I write. We cannot afford to continue burying our heads in the sand. I just pray for divine guidance when it comes to this global crisis that affects all life on earth, and also for wisdom and insight as we mark our ballots

A very serious Sunday

I have been thinking much more serious thoughts of late – likely due to all I have been reading: about the death knell on democracy; about the climate crisis; about mental health issues, and so forth. Sometimes I just have to wade into those dark pools of human realities.

I like to keep things light, as much as I possibly can. But that is difficult when I allow myself to read all the doom and gloom. I worry about what we are leaving for future generations, because, let’s face it my generation, the “baby boomers,” are quickly entering our twilight years. Meanwhile the powers that be seem bent on operating like its business as usual while the planet seems to be rushing headlong into catastrophe or quite possibly total oblivion.

I was reading one article that discussed the responsibility of journalists to forego using the words “climate change” and instead to call it what it is – a full-blown climate crisis. Perhaps it is well past time we woke up to the reality of all the damages done to the environment in the last hundred years. Yup, it seems pretty bleak.

Then there is the whole issue of democracy and the war on media. Nothing is quite as simple as it seems – there is no black and white but many gradients of gray. Social media has made elections much more devious and based on character (or perceived character traits) of the candidates and, as Ontario illustrated in the last provincial election, platforms that are thin if there is any at all. We vote more with our emotions than with our heads.

And our heads have been inundated with social ills from overcrowded prisons to waiting lines in hospitals. Mental health issues are wide spread with little hope of an answer to the many plagues, such as depression, that abound these days.

I don’t know what to say about it all except that it is very worrisome. I’d like to stick my head in the sand until it all gets magically better. But magic is a mirage – much like the smoke and mirrors that is politics.

I do believe in the inherent goodness of humanity. At every turn in history when push came to shove the despots and tyrants never won – they may seem to in the short run, but in the long run cooler heads do prevail. Perhaps it takes a period of chaos or the imminent destruction of the planet for people to stand firm and shout out a decisive “NO”.

Please, let those cooler heads come to the fore now. May God grant us better leadership and more applied intelligence than we’ve been witness to in the past number of years. Please, God, let it be so.