I’m used to hearing about natural disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes. Of course, they have always occurred in other places. Somewhere tropical, along a coast, or over a fault line. I would shake my head sadly at the news broadcast, feel deeply for the suffering people, and thank my lucky stars that I live in Canada. And then, out of nowhere, Alberta.
Their tremendous floods added weight to the conversations I was privileged enough to have over the days leading up to this issue. Conversations with people who care deeply about environmental conservation, accountability, sustainability and clean-air transportation. Their voices, heard throughout this issue, speak to the little things that make big differences. Differences I have often faced cynically. How does my small effort to switch off the lights not be rendered futile by the office highrise that leaves every single light on? So what if we plant trees to improve the air if the factories will keep pumping out more poison than we can keep up with?
On a daily, individual basis, the bigger battles – against business practices, industry standards and global politics – cannot be won. And if those are the only pieces of the puzzle one focuses on, then disillusionment and infantilization are instant byproducts.
But if we make room in our lives for the little things – the recycling and the composting and the biking instead of driving – and make room for them successfully, then inpiration, determination and a collective desire to start tackling the big things will follow.
Yes We Cannon, the Street Tree program and LEARN-CC are just a few of the initiatives happening in Hamilton that are worth learning more about in this issue. Yes, they’re local, little things. And together, with other similar movements around the city, province and country, they’ll make a big impact.


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