By Xavier Kataquapit
Hints of spring are all about with warmer days now and our record snow banks are slowly melting. This winter is not over just yet but here we are in mid March and it looks like the extreme freezing temperatures are in the past. We may still get some snow, but those huge storms we have experienced this winter are probably gone for the most part. Yes, spring is blossoming with every day.
Gone are the days of getting up early in the morning in the dark and finding ourselves in night time blackness at only 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Hope springs eternal just by seeing and living in more light that makes us happy.
Of course, in the background we have the reality of a still dangerous and unpredictable worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, right wing movements against democracy and the new threat of nuclear war in the conflict in Ukraine.
It is difficult to view the future in rose covered glasses, but we have no choice. In order to continue and find hope it is up to us to listen to our medical experts with advice and news on this virus, push back on threats to our democracy and encourage our leaders, politicians and military people to find peaceful solutions to problems rather than opt for war.
We have so much to be thankful for in this world. We are at the point in our civilization where we in the First World enjoy many wonderful things thanks to the ingenuity of mankind. We have lots to eat. We are cozy in our places of residence. For the most part in cities and town we are safe. We have clean water to drink, transportation available to us and lots of technology to keep us informed and entertained.
However, if you are an Indigenous person or someone living in Third World conditions, life is much harder. Although, things are getting better for my people, there are still many First Nations without access to safe drinking water, decent housing and opportunities for education and employment.
We here in Canada are in the top 10 per cent of the lucky people who for the most part benefit by a social democracy with a good education system, public health care and employment opportunities. However, most people in this world live in Third World conditions where there is much poverty, the citizens are oppressed by their governments and they do not have access to safe drinking water, enough food to eat or a roof over their heads. We are for the most part the lucky ones, so perhaps it falls to us who live in First World conditions to do more to encourage our leaders to work for peace rather than conflict and to find ways to make the world a more fair and equitable place for everyone.
Here in North America we have never really experienced the horror of war first hand, although many of our family members in the past were killed or injured in conflicts in other parts of the world. Shockingly we have just experienced and continue to deal with a worldwide pandemic that has killed many millions of people and this time this was not something that was happening in far off lands but occurring right here in our cities and towns. Everyone in the world has felt the wrath of the COVID-19 virus and that means every city and town in every part of the world.
Hopefully, world leaders understand that if conflicts are not negotiated in peaceful ways then the next shared experience we may all have to deal with will be a nuclear war. A nuclear war through either accident or intent could affect the entire world with millions of lives lost, cities and towns destroyed and the possibility of a nuclear winter where it would be impossible to produce food to eat and access safe drinking water. If you think this is a fictional type of scenario just think back to two years ago before the pandemic. Imagine back then if someone told you the entire world, every city and town, would be hit by a pandemic and it would kill millions and make many more millions sick while restricting our daily lives? That would have seemed fictitious and unbelievable but yet here we are in the midst of dealing with that reality.
A nuclear war is also entirely possible as thousands of nuclear weapons are ready to launch at a moment’s notice, mainly by the United States and Russia. We need to get rid of these insane weapons. We have a responsibility to encourage all leaders to negotiate peace rather than war or we are doomed. Doomed is not a way forward.