Editorial—Hot Times

Summer is well and truly here, as evidenced by how few events we have in the AU-thentic Events column.  Folks at AU are busy with summer holidays and other activities that mean there’s fewer extra activities in the university community itself.

This week, the gestalt seems to be landing upon trains, as the Fly on the Wall presents us with the classic Trolley Problem in an investigation of what creates ethics, while our latest fiction feature involves a chance happenstance on a train and the effects small things may have.

Also this week, our feature article is a Minds We Meet column where we interview Kady, a student who is pursuing her nursing degree from Prince George, BC.  Find out more about what brought her to Canada and into our nursing program.

We’re also finishing up our look into organized crime as a national security threat, and what Canada is doing about it. In the fourth installment Alek notes the RCMP’s involvement in anti-terrorism activities and ponders the wisdom of calls to defund or disband these services because of other problems that have been occurring.  Overall, the series is a decent backgrounder on how Canada’s counter-terrorism effort is dealing with the latest connections between hostile governments and organized crime.  For me, the big takeaway I got is that there’s a lot of interconnected committees and parts, and, surprisingly, those closest to the actual activities, the provincial forces, don’t seem to have, or want, a lot of input into what’s going on.

In a way, this is understandable.  Terrorism, like climate change, is a ‘big issue’ problem, and it feels like local action doesn’t have the knowledge or capability to make a serious dent in it.  At the same time, trying to deal with it from only the higher-level viewpoint can mean things are a lot more difficult than they need to be.  However, unlike climate change, both terrorism and organized crime aren’t as likely to affect us in a direct fashion.

What brings this to mind is noting that scientists are saying that we’ve recently seen the hottest week on record, globally, and that, more importantly, it was actually hotter than was expected and seems to be associated with more extreme weather events than were predicted.  And again, at the local level, it seems there’s little we can do about it.  At least not without seriously affecting our way of life.

But maybe that’s not as true as some would have us believe.  For instance, for your next vacation, consider a “stay-cation” instead.  Or when it gets too hot, consider first opening the windows rather than turning on the A/C. These are very small actions in the face of the global problem, of course, and if you’re the only person doing it, it will amount to nothing.  But what if you’re not?  What if you start doing it and then tell your neighbour about how you saved some money on your gas bill.   What if you suggested to your condo board that the temperature of the building be allowed to go up a degree in summer or down a degree in winter?  What if you doing something makes you a leader, and others follow?  It’s a start at least.

Enjoy the read!