Hope, apathy and forest fires

Manitobans are currently sandwiched between provincial and federal elections. It would be a precarious position in ordinary times, but in 2019, with the Amazon rainforest burning and a mid-September Winnipeg heat wave signifying the growing global climate disaster, the future can seem particularly dire.

But looking toward tomorrow with hope is a necessity. It’s also sort of the unofficial theme of this issue. City reporter Alex Neufeldt’s cover feature explores how the youth of today are taking concrete, direct action to combat the mistakes of the past and build a better future. Volunteer writer Leia Patterson explores how individual actions can combat climate anxiety, while columnist Christina Hajjar looks at how food and love can counter prevailing narratives about scarcity.

On Sept. 8, The New Yorker published an article by novelist Jonathan Franzen (whose work has been the source of both praise and derision) in which he argued that we need to stop worrying about climate change and accept our doom. The article was derided by press and climate scientists alike as both inaccurate and irresponsible.

But there is perhaps no better a repudiation of Franzen’s out-of-touch fatalism than the work being done by today’s young activists and thinkers. It’s an important reminder that, even if baby boomer inaction got us into the mess we’re in, it’s not what will get us out.

- Thomas Pashko

Published in Volume 74, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 19, 2019)

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