Change the climate

We’re in the middle of an exceptional, record-breaking January thaw (or, for those who measure the passage of time in chunks of granite, it’s a bonspiel thaw). Though the weather is usually unpredictable, change seems to be the only consistent factor these days. And even as we return to so-called normals, there’ll be a new layer of choppy ice to navigate.

We can’t control the weather, but what can we do about our human environment? We’re living in a time of unprecedented social and cultural change. But ultimately, we are all responsible for the world we live in and create through our everyday interactions.

In this week’s cover feature, we take a more in-depth look at a growing climate of fear, hostility, division and outright hatred. We examine the local impacts of global trends and some possible locations to disrupt troubling trends. 

Whether we’re covering politics, arts and culture, or those working to improve our communities, there’s a trend emerging in the solutions offered by all those experts we talk to. Usually, they say that the root of most solutions to social ills lie in understanding our differences and connecting to others around us.

We see this reflected in a musical collaboration between artists who may not even share a common language but work together to evoke a feeling. It also exists in a campus-based Cultural Celebration Evening, which offers students experience in event planning as well as opening up a space to build community. This can even come across in a play created for young minds. 

It’s not always possible to see that a project, or a moment in time, will become legendary while in the building or figuring-it-out stage. 

Take Hardy Groening, for example. He didn’t set out to cultivate local delight and collect a degree of infamy with his unique renovation projects. But today, most of the West End knows how to find the Hobbit House.

While it may seem that we’re at the mercy of the whims of freeze and thaw of larger systemic forces beyond our control, we’re not without agency. The stories we’re telling in this week’s paper are proof that everyday Winnipeggers can impact our local ecosystem.

Published in Volume 71, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 26, 2017)

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