Opinion » Editorial


Reflect and stay involved



Looking at Whistler and Blackcomb mountains during Earth Hour this past weekend was like going back in time.

Not a light could be seen except for a random snowcat diligently getting the runs ready for morning.

Between the translucent clouds a star could be seen - light pollution, for just a moment, switched off.

Our mountains were in good company for around the world The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Big Ben, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CN Tower in Toronto and Rome's Colosseum stood in darkness as they do every year during Earth Hour.

British Columbians saved 117 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the provincial electricity load by 1.8 per cent during Earth Hour night - almost twice as much as in 2010.

Power saved during Earth Hour was the equivalent of turning off about 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs, according to BC Hydro.

The community with the highest reduction in consumption - 5.7 per cent - was Pitt Meadows. Whistler was third at 4.35 per cent.

As hundreds rocked to the music of the Boom Booms at the first post-Olympic concert to be held at the Plaza, four residents took turns pedalling bikes in time to generate the power needed for the sound and light systems.

Under a cover of darkness, visitors chatted about how great it was to have come across the music as they walked, how this made Whistler special. Others talked about the quirkiness of pedalling for power - but it made them think.

Around the edge of our new community gathering space, candles twinkled inside brown paper bags, the shops dimmed or turned off their lights - it felt like a simpler time. It was a time to reflect.

The Japan fundraising event at Myrtle Philip Saturday was also a time to reflect. For many attending their wish was that their homeland could go back in time - to a time when 10,668 people had not perished and another 16,574 were not missing in the magnitude 9 earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Our Japanese friends in Whistler, heads together, spoke of the guilt they feel being here with food to eat, shelter, warmth - safe.

But the focus wasn't on grief, except in the collective way humans gather to share heartbreak. It was on remembering the strong and vibrant culture that is Japan. It was about celebrating a country that has lived through calamity after calamity and stayed strong.

Traditional dance and songs were performed, comfort food was plentiful, kids played - it was about community. As I stood and reflected I was struck, as I have been so many times in the past, by the strength of Whistler's community, about how we look out for one another, about how giving back for us is a way of life.

The event was about local businesses, and everyday people remembering that it's only if we work together that we can overcome adversity and create change.

Funny that in so many ways this is also the same message as Earth Day - as we face the challenges of climate change it is only by working together that we will find solutions.

Hold on to that thought because it might be a good idea to keep it front and centre as we look ahead in time to the future and the federal election called for May 2 - an election that has put our own provincial election on hold and added a wrinkle to the referendum on Harmonized Sales Tax to be held June 24.

It is also likely to dilute interest in the leadership race now under way for the provincial NDP, which will culminate in a vote April 17.

But it seems now that all four federal parties have decided that it is no longer time to work together.

The ruling Conservatives state that the $300 million election has been forced on Canada by the failure of the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois to work together.

For their parts, each of the other parties argue the Conservatives tipped the scales themselves by the party's action or inaction on key issues such as health, seniors, economy, environment and ethics.

It is likely that B.C. will play a major role in the outcome of this election - and as with so many other things, it is only by getting involved that change can be affected.

The right to vote is not to be taken lightly, though I'm sure we will be hearing much about "voter fatigue" as the year rolls by, what with federal, provincial and municipal elections to be held this year.

We need to remember that just as many of us take time to reflect on global tragedies or threats, we need to take time to reflect on what is best for each of us personally and at a community level and stay involved.



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