Around the world there are several crucial items to people’s well-being in short supply. In many places the air is not breathable, the water is either non-existent or not fit for human consumption, the food supplies are scant or tainted, and medical care is a distant dream.
We, the citizens of the Sunshine Coast, are so incredibly lucky. In the game of life we drew the long straws. However, this doesn’t mean we should be complacent. Most of the world started out the same, but human need and human greed have sullied even the greenest of Edens.
On the Coast, the Clean Air Society diligently monitors the quality of our air and works hard to protect our lungs. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots and realize that without their ongoing education of the value of a smoke-free environment, things could be very different. For many of our neighbours who struggle with asthma or chronic lung diseases, the news that backyard burning and inefficient wood-burning appliances are becoming less and less the norm is great news.
Although the weather this year has brought a respite to the chronic water shortages we’ve seen over the past few seasons, all it will take is one hot dry summer to bring back the angst we felt in 2012 when the water reservoirs were at an all-time low. Of all the gifts Mother Nature has bestowed on us, our pristine water is perhaps the greatest. It behooves each and every one of us to never take this asset for granted. Keep on taking pride in your golden lawns every summer — ironically, now folks are feeling guilty if their grass is green through some quirk of topography. If you have the means, use that precious soil to grow food for yourself and your neighbours. It’s a much better use of a limited resource. And continue to advocate for control over our water supply. Who better to do so than the people who use it?
For some folks on the Sunshine Coast, food is not in great supply. The local food banks are constantly appealing for produce and dry goods to swell their meagre supplies — another good reason to use your yard for food not foliage. For those of us who are blessed with enough to eat, this weekend would be a good time to share with those less fortunate. In the meantime, all of us should consider ourselves fortunate to live in a country where strict controls exist to preclude the addition of poison to babies’ formula or other food-related horror stories.
And we know that if circumstances demand it, we are able to access some of the best medical care in the world. The hard work of many folks on the Coast has been realized in a state-of-the-art hospital. For that we can thank the generosity of the Sechelt Indian Band in supplying the land, the foresight of several medicos — doctors Swan, Paetkau and Burtnick to name but three — and the fund-raising wizardry of the hospital auxiliaries and foundation.
This weekend is a good time to reflect on our good fortune and a great time to resolve to share that bounty. We are privileged people.