As the world started to open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and return to normal, we’re faced with the question, what is normal? And the even more important question, should we return to normal or create a new one.

Let’s explore what normal was pre-pandemic times. It was a time of everyone going to work, going to the bar and taking a tropical vacation whenever they could. Rush hour, late nights out with friends and waiting the whole year for the white sand all come to mind. It seems a far cry from the life we’ve been living here in Canada for the past 18 months. Being based out of the Toronto area, we experienced the longest lockdown in the entire world! It’s only been now in the last month or so that some semblance of normal is returning, and things starting to open back up.

But again, we come back to the question, is normal what we should want? Things might have seemed well and dandy for us Canadians, we without a doubt reside in one of the best and move liveable countries in the world. People of all ethnicities, faiths and views are welcomed here more so than any other country. We have amazing health care, fantastic schools and universities and a job market which offers opportunities to anyone that wants them. We are, no doubt, very lucky to be living in a country in which we are left wanting for very little and better off than the vast majority of the world.

And that is where we need to delve deeper. We are living in an increasingly global world and country borders should not be the end of our worries and cares. What we do in every country affects the rest of the world and that is where we need to begin. Look at some of the biggest issues we face and how they work.

Climate change and the loss of our wildlife and wild areas are perhaps the most important issues we’ve ever faced. Climate change will render many parts of our world uninhabitable, kill billions of people and even more animals. It will change the face of our planet and cause destruction we haven’t even begun to understand. The most understandable indicator for human drive climate change is the average global temperature, and that is has risen by 1.25 degree Celsius in the past few hundred years. It may not sound like much, but when you consider the earth’s temperature has varied by almost nothing during human’s time on earth, it shows just how much impact we are having.  The loss of biodiversity such as wildlife and forests aren’t just moral issues, because our planet is made up of little ecosystems which will collapse as species are lost, and ultimately collapse our global ecosystem for which we are dependant for food. The numbers now show that the species extinction rate of the 20th century is 1000 times that of any known time before that. 1000 times, just fathom that number. It is estimated every hour, 3 species go extinct, 72 every single day. But we need not look at the scientific evidence, take a look outside. At the time of writing this article (Aug 2021), there are massive wildfires raging way beyond the norm all around the globe, including in every province across Canada. The fires have been so bad it has reached cities like Toronto which had never before seen wildfire smoke. The entire drive across Canada has been smoke ridden for the past few months. There are devastating floods, record high temperatures and storms like we’ve never seen before. If we as a country decide to take a firm stand and real action on this, it will likely have rippling effects to other countries to do the same. But if we do this just in our borders, and the rest of the world does nothing, well then, our efforts will come to nothing because the natural world knows no man-made political borders.

Continued in the next journal entry.