One thing that 2017 isn’t lacking is choices… at least when it comes to which fiery threat to worry about on any given day.
"With crossed arms and a cold stare, Donald Trump uttered the most threatening words of his presidency" yesterday, Alexander Panetta of Canadian Press writes, "warning of a strike of unprecedented 'fire,' 'fury,' and 'power' against North Korea in an escalating, nuclear-themed standoff."
I don't know about you, but for me this is the scariest yet to come out of the mouth or Twitter feed of the "President".
He's a terror... that leader of the biggest military power in the world.
I don't really know what it all means. Is North Korea or the United States really capable of dropping nukes? Kim Jong Un allegedly ordered the killing of his own half-brother, so what's he capable of doing to complete strangers?
There are problems that seem so overwhelming it's almost impossible to prepare for them. On the west coast, we always hear, 'Hey, get ready for The Big One', but as documented by Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker, few heed the warning to earthquake-proof their homes.
Similarly, we keep hearing the planet's climate is getting hotter, but our political leaders keep caving to the demands of Big Oil, like it's just another summer.
Here in Vancouver, we keep breathing smoke.
Fire and smoke over the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2017: Wikipedia creative commons photograph
As the weekend approaches, British Columbia Wildfire Service braces for more unpredictable weather.
Visitors from polluted cities like Mexico City or Beijing who anticipate the usual relief of Vancouver's beautiful air will be painfully disappointed.
And what we’re experiencing in the Lower Mainland pales next to the smoke that’s choking communities in B.C.’s Interior. The air quality health index measures risk from 1 (low) to 10 (very high). It registered a 49 last week in Kamloops.
Around 150 wildfires rage today.
And 20 new fires ignited yesterday as result of lightning activity in the southeast part of the province.
Which 'fire and fury' is the biggest threat: Donald Trump's, North Korea's, climate change?
Time to chill out!
The swim in the sea. Ice cream. Outdoor theatre and concerts. Cycling through the city or racing down a mountain pass. Canoeing on the St. Lawrence River, skateboarding Toronto, running on the beach in Halifax or prawning in the Georgia Straight. Picnics and laughter with family and friends. Enjoying a concert in a park in Winnipeg or a music festival in Fort McMurray or a lake outside of Ottawa.
I revel in those things around me, here in Vancouver, knowing full well: when I come back to the fray, the smoke and fire will still be here. So will leaders who will take us into their choice of apocalypses if we let them.
So rest, rejoice and regenerate — and then return and resist, ready to demand that our leaders cool the flames of climate change and warfare alike.