Some gems among the muck - The Orca

Some gems among the muck

Dene Moore

Dene Moore: 2021 wasn’t BC’s best year ever – but even in a year many would like to forget, there was still good, and good lessons.

Fires. Floods. A plague.

I’m sure we can all agree that 2021 was not our year. But as we tiptoe gently into 2022, a little worse for wear, let’s not forget the lessons that came from these crises.

When the heat dome spiked in June and the beautiful community of Lytton burned, remember that people and businesses all over this province and this country opened their hearts and their wallets to help.

When wildfires ravaged the Interior throughout the summer, remember that neighbours and strangers alike arrived with a helping hand.

When the rain poured down and flooded the Fraser Valley, Princeton, and Merritt, emergency personnel and soldiers and police and just people who gave a damn became an altruistic army at the ready, delivering meals and transporting families to safety.

As COVID-19 has ebbed and flowed now for two years, and as we face the unknown again with the Omicron wave, our doctors and nurses and hospital staff and health care workers and public health officials have shown up every day and done their best to hold back the deluge.

And when the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc revealed last year confirmation of 215 unmarked graves on the site of the former residential school in their community, as painful as it was, this country and this world did not look away – and by and large, did not look for excuses.

They mourned with Tk’emlúps and the dozens of other Indigenous communities that have since confirmed more than 1,300 unmarked graves at former schools.

It was a long overdue reckoning that must continue.

It was not all bad news last year.

The massive, war-like effort to roll-out COVID-19 vaccines was a triumph of science and collective conscience, despite some challenges. Produced in record time thanks to an unprecedented global effort by scientists, political leaders, and health officials, it was an astounding accomplishment.

The high cost of urban housing combined with the rise of remote work due to the pandemic has led to a rebirth in many rural B.C. communities as many people, young families and small business owners among them, look to less hectic and more affordable lifestyles.

And global supply chain challenges reminded us of the importance of shopping and supporting local, including our agricultural products. I hope this new appreciation for B.C. ranch and farm products stays with us.

A new year is a time for resolutions and new beginnings but no time to forget either where we’ve been or where we want to go. The climate crisis came home in 2021 in very real ways for British Columbia, and these uncertain times are here to stay.

Indian author Arundhati Roy described the pandemic as a portal between one world and the next.

“We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

Let’s fight for the right things this year.