Column: Good time to light the way to a better world

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

With the injustices the pandemic has revealed, now is a time to carry a torch to light up the world. (File photo)

The autumnal equinox is coming in one week’s time. But we know full well already that the days are shortening – at the alarming rate of three minutes and 45 seconds each day.

This is not what we would have chosen as we navigate this new season with COVID-19. Increasing, rather than diminishing, light would be much more preferable.

Therefore, we have to find sources of light elsewhere. And there are plenty out there in the world, from individuals to innovative organizations to some progressive facets of government.

Thousands of B.C. professionals, offering a wide range of expertise, are working diligently and daily to understand the behaviour of the Corona virus, to develop protocols for personal and community safety, to protect the vulnerable, to ensure that all sectors in society are abiding by regulations.

The Ministry of Education has been researching best ways to reopen schools, advising school boards who then instruct principals and teachers as to the best practices for returning children of all ages to the educational system, be it in schools or at home. There are no absolute right answers, as the world has not been in this particular type of crisis before.

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B.C. public health officials are in almost daily communication with other provinces, sharing expertise and ideas. They are gleaning insight from other countries, where children returned to school some time ago. We won’t know for a while whether the protocols established here will work well.

During times of uncertainty, when so much is yet unknown, calculated risks have to be taken. Time will decide which regulations in what sectors of society will require modification. There are so many lessons yet to be learned.

These are some lights in our midst, even though they are not always visible to us. None of them claims to have all the answers, and we should not expect them to. They, as the rest of us, are dealing with a moving target.

And what about the light at the end of the tunnel? What can we count on? Hopefully within several months a reliable vaccine will appear that will be made available to both rich and poor countries.

But can we hope for more light than that? The pandemic has blatantly revealed to us the underbelly of our world—the other rampant societal ills of opioid addiction, increasing mental health issues, racial inequality and homelessness, to name a few. The light that now shines on these issues has created an immense opportunity for everyone from governments to agencies of change to individuals to work towards meaningful advances in these areas.

Do we have the will, and are we prepared, to carry these torches to light up and better the world once this dreaded virus is behind us?

There’s no reason we can’t start lighting the way right now.

Nan Dickie is a local author, speaker and former facilitator of a Salmon Arm depression support group.
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