Publisher’s Letter – Finding Unity

By Lisa Bland, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, The Green Gazette –

Dear Readers,

What a crazy past few months we’ve been through! The collective landscape is dramatically different than it was when the spring Green Gazette went to press in early March.

Like many people and businesses, at first, we weren’t sure how to proceed. Once the initial chaos and letting go of the old way of doing things passed—along with a time of adjustment and reflection—a path tentatively emerged as we got on top of COVID-19 cases and BC gradually re-opened. Here at The Green Gazette, we’re pleased to be back with a summer issue to support and promote Cariboo communities and businesses as they adapt, transform, and re-engage with the collective. Now more than ever, it is time to dig deep, connect, and unite with the network of people we hold dear—our families, communities, and region. Together, we can create positive change and forward movement in our lives.

Our world is in upheaval, there is no doubt. In addition to the global response to COVID-19, every other issue that has been pushed aside or hidden underground has come up for review. In the news and social media, it is as though the lid flew off of Pandora’s box, and we’re facing at once many of the personal, political, and collective problems unravelling in society’s fabric. At the time of going to press, the death of George Floyd has ignited global protests and riots against racial injustice. Things need to change, this is certain.

Humanity is being forced to look at how we conduct human enterprise on a finite planet.What is truly essential? How might we live within our means and create sustainable local networks? Who is privileged and included (or absent from) the conversation? Do we want to act individually or collectively, and are we in a position to help others? Do we want to work within or outside of societal structures to push for change? How might we attempt to fix what is broken, and how much do we trust a process led by leaders, scientists, experts, or corporations vs. our instincts for a life of our own design? Add to the mix the co-opting of conversations by those who seek to advance personal, corporate, or political platforms during crises, and the waters get muddy. If history has anything to say, times of crisis are times of danger… and opportunity.

In light of the overload we’re collectively carrying, personal, community-based stories and perspectives provide a valuable context in which we may find meaning and a sense of belonging.

In my own confusion and solitude, I drew on strength gained from my experience living on Haida Gwaii, where I felt part of a larger, caring collective. I watched a few webinars (okay, dozens of webinars in March and April), including a regular Islands’ online community forum led by Haida and community leaders to help Islanders connect and navigate changes in the community related to COVID-19. I was reminded of the value of creating unity and respect within a community.

Although there is no perfect world and many have and will continue to suffer losses and hardships, witnessing communities come together and build strategies to protect the elderly and immune-compromised, weighing in with and respecting Indigenous communities and elders, and trusting community leaders to act on behalf of the whole, can bring calm and balance to a time when some feel they are facing a threat alone. In the Cariboo, there are many examples and reminders of the way communities and individuals are coming together to support one another, and they include businesses, organizations, health and service workers, families, and neighbours.

With this in mind, our summer issue is filled with articles written by community voices—thoughtful, kind, and engaged people who might be your neighbour, weighing in with what this new reality looks and feels like and how they are finding hope, meaning, and purpose. Rather than wade into heavier topics of the day, we wanted to focus on positive themes such as local food security, supporting farmers’ markets and local businesses, trying out new recipes, home gardening, healthy food choices, getting outside, reflecting on what is essential, and remembering that we are all in this together.

We’re also excited to announce a new (ad)venture and transformation of The Green Gazette website this June, with our brand new, local and green business directory listings where businesses across the Cariboo Region can promote and sell products and increase their reach and visibility. As we navigate the unknown, including new distancing measures, businesses are increasingly moving online, and the timing is right to build and strengthen our community networks and local economy. For more info or to sign up for a business or organization listing, visit www.thegreengazette.ca or www.greenlisted.ca

In these uncertain times, I’ve found it helpful to ask, “Where is my agency?” Seeking and finding unity keeps me inspired, and remembering to think globally and act local keeps my feet on the ground.

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