Editorials - Dec. 16, 2021
With the news from the Huron Perth Health Unit that the Omicron variant has very possibly arrived in Huron County, everyone seems to be a little more on edge. With cases across Ontario on a steep rise, the thought of losing the opportunity to enjoy the upcoming holidays with loved ones is a real possibility. The health unit has already issued a letter of recommendation to limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and that everyone over the age of 12 should be vaccinated. Non-vaccinated people should restrict non-essential contact to their household.
It has been established that this new variant is up to three times as infectious as previous incarnations, and we don’t know whether it’s any less severe than the Delta variant. We are told that the vaccines are still working, but what doesn’t get captured is the severity of the illness. The reports include new infections and the number of vaccinated versus unvaccinated, but the statistics that relay severity are hospital admissions and ICU cases and there is a lag between the cases spiking and the hospitals seeing more patients. By the time we understand the severity of this new variant, it may be too late for the health system, again. – DS
Glimpses of the past
In last week’s issue of The Citizen, reporter Denny Scott profiled Jane White, the subject of a new book entitled Plain Jane, written by White with the help of her grandson-in-law Greg McClinchey. White said, in the interview, that the project began as a way for her to commit her memories and the stories of her life to paper so they would be there for future generations of the family to read and understand.
Now, White’s memories are a full-fledged book that can be bought here at The Citizen, but the foundation for the project is really what’s most important. Too often, elder members of families and communities pass on before sharing their stories. Everyone has a “what if?” story in this regard; a head-shaker about a family member with a trove of tales to tell who died before the story of their life was memorialized.
Why the story of White’s journey is important is the reason behind wanting to tell it. She didn’t necessarily want to create a book and sell copies to people she doesn’t know, she wanted her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know what life was like for her, coming of age in an era they’ll never be able to fully understand. Too often, people will wonder what’s so special about their story.
Karen Webster’s new Citizen column, “Glimpses of the Past”, does just that - telling the stories of those who, in the moment, weren’t necessarily doing anything special, but all these years later, that history is fascinating to a whole new generation of readers.
So, whether it’s a book or a video, a journal or a binder full of notes, clippings, recipes and memories, connect with those who should be telling their stories, because life is short and there isn’t always a lot of time to do it tomorrow, or next week, next month or next year. And if you’re an older member of the community who thinks they haven’t lived that extraordinary of a life, you’re wrong. Talk to your children and grandchildren and make sure your story has a home for years to come. You never know just who might be interested in it. – SL
We all have to eat
We’ve all noticed the prices at the grocery store going up, sometimes every trip. And now Canada’s Food Price Report is predicting a further increase in 2022 of between five and seven per cent. Much of the increase is driven by supply chain disruptions and can be traced directly to the pandemic. Harder to quantify, but just as impactful is climate change and how it is affecting agriculture. Droughts and storms are wreaking havoc on yields and the long-term effects of events like British Columbia’s floods could be devastating on crop production.
The report also highlights how our relationship with food is changing and how food literacy and reducing food loss and food waste can make a big difference to our grocery budgets.
As part of a coping strategy, one of the recommendations notes the importance of working together to make food more affordable. Community collectives around food, such as community gardens, will be a key factor in combating the discrepancy between low wage increases and high food inflation. Buying local and taking advantage of the bounty in our area is also listed as another important factor in food sustainability. Fortunately, Huron County seems to be ahead of the curve on community support and local food availability. – DS