Editorials - Sept. 22, 2023
Use it or lose it
Metroland Media’s announcement last Friday that it was laying off 600 employees, including 68 journalists, and ceasing print editions of 70 community newspapers sent a shockwave through the industry. While the media giant filing for bankruptcy protection might seem like the proverbial canary in a coalmine for the industry, it doesn’t have to be.
Independent weekly newspapers like The Citizen are struggling, but still working hard to maintain a partnership with the communities that we serve. We just need a sustainable level of revenue to pay our bills and especially our hardworking staff who cover your news, municipal councils, organizations and events.
A recent meeting of the group working on the Blyth history book, who are poring over newspaper accounts of daily life in the village over the last 50 years, reminded us of how important a newspaper is in documenting the life of a community. Will social media be able to preserve the schools, businesses, festivals, events and community growth in quite the same way as print or digital newspapers?
What can you do to help us remain sustainable? Buy a subscription for yourself and give a subscription as a gift. Shop at our loyal advertisers. Encourage the businesses that you work with and for to advertise with us. Are you having an event? Use a small part of your budget to place an advertisement, which in turn helps us send a reporter and/or a photographer to cover it. Weddings, birthdays and anniversaries can be celebrated for a reasonable cost with the entire community.
Our publication is owned by a group of shareholders who live and work in Huron County and, for the last 38 years, they have been adamant that this community deserves a thriving newspaper. The Citizen’s staff and shareholders invite you to be part of that sustainable solution. – DS
The neverending pandemic
While people like Dr. Theresa Tam are cautioning about a fall and winter that will see high levels of influenza, COVID-19 and RSV, the years-long COVID-19 pandemic remains a concern for many for other reasons, such as mental health, especially in our youngest population.
On Monday, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published two studies that showed higher-than-expected numbers of emergency room visits and hospitalizations in children between the ages of 10 and 18. More specifically, the studies show a focus on self harm among adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 14.
Locally, access to mental health and addiction support has been top of mind for many, both through individual cases of tragedy and the likes of the Tanner Steffler Foundation. The long tail of the pandemic continues and our young people need our help and they need access to resources. The housing crisis, inflation and a lack of political will to take action on climate change are like storm clouds gathering above the future for our young people. They may have a hard time believing in a better tomorrow, which is why we need to help them in any way we can and prioritize their mental wellbeing. – SL
The time to act is now
A report commissioned by Premier Doug Ford’s government back in 2020 highlights the substantial climate change risks facing Ontario, affecting agriculture, infrastructure and businesses. Despite being presented to the government in January, the report was only made public in late August, without an official announcement.
The Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment predicts more extreme heat days, increased flooding and more frequent wildfires in the province. The report provides a comprehensive overview of climate change impacts in Ontario, including declining agricultural productivity, heightened risks for businesses and the exacerbation of existing disparities among vulnerable populations, while also emphasizing the need for swift action to protect residents, ecosystems, businesses and communities across Ontario, with a particular focus on the vulnerability of the agriculture sector. Reduced yields, livestock health, water availability and quality and soil health are among the concerns outlined.
Prepared by the Sudbury-based Climate Risk Institute, the report utilizes historical data and projections to inform its findings. It anticipates a significant rise in extreme heat days, which could impact growing seasons, businesses and public health. By the 2080s, southern, central and eastern Ontario may experience 55 to 60 days per year with extreme heat, a fourfold increase from the current average of 16 days.
The report concludes that Ontario must enhance its climate resilience. However, it raises questions about the delay in its release and the absence of a companion report on climate change adaptation practices.
Ford may be too busy navigating the fallout from his Greenbelt land swap scandal to provide necessary and urgent leadership on this file. Perhaps Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson, could fill the leadership void and let Ontarians know the government’s plan to protect the future of the province’s agriculture sector? – SBS