Celebrate community as we head into 2020 

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We have all been busy shopping and baking and decorating—enjoying the festive season.

Christmas, the season—not necessarily the religious celebration—makes most people feel cheerful and bright.

But I have to admit that it seems to get harder each year to capture the fairy dust of life that lets us contemplate the many, many gifts we all have and share as opposed to letting the Grinch steal our holiday spirit.

There is the associated guilt with buying gifts in a world where consumerism seems to have gone mad, there is a global awareness that billions of people—including people in our own communities—are struggling to survive, and there is a growing communal anxiety about the climate crisis we face.

Looking at national and international headlines doesn't help if you are trying to stay festive.

It was rather horrifying to read at the end of December that a teacher in Alberta had come under fire for introducing a learning module around climate change to a Grade 4 class. This fact ended up on a community Facebook forum where adults decided it might be a good idea to show up at the school dance that week and give the teacher a telling off for saying anything against the oil industry.

So, the school cancelled the dance!

In another recent, though unrelated, circumstance, a teacher was called out for having a question on a Grade 10 Socials test that asked, in a multiple-choice format, questions about why it is a valid stance to not the develop the oilsands.

Parents sent the questions to Alberta's education minister, who promptly slammed the teacher for bringing politics into the classroom on social media.

Then we have the landslide win in the U.K., giving Prime Minister Boris Johnson a full mandate to break up with the European Union. It's true that the world is a bit sick of the on-again off-again cha-cha of Brexit, but in a country that is considered to be six meals away from food shortages, the change could wreak havoc creating even more instability.

It was interesting to note that in the U.K. vote, Johnson faced a real battle of his own to retain his seat against the Labour Party's Ali Milani, a 25-year-old Iranian immigrant who many saw as a closer representation to the growing diversity in west London as compared to the upper middle-class, white, Johnson.

We have headlines about the genocide of the Rohingya population in the southeast Asian country of Myanmar, the violent protests in Chile and Hong Kong, continuing military clashes in the Middle East and the almost daily shootings in the U.S. and elsewhere.

It sometimes feels like throwing up your arms and turning away is the only way to stay sane.

But there is another way—turn your lens from wide to close-up. This is not to say that the global picture isn't important, or that these big issues don't deserve real thought, action and solutions, but as we head into 2020 consider the goodness that resides in our families, our friends, our neighbours and our community of Whistler.

We have seen some heartwarming and jaw-dropping examples recently of community support for organizations, groups, families and individuals in Whistler.

I believe this is in part because there is a global understanding that only by helping each other can we really help ourselves.

I was reminded of this when I was researching the editorial I did recently on shopping locally (www.piquenewsmagazine.com, Dec. 5)—take a look around at all the amazing businesses that are celebrating milestones in the decades—this wouldn't be possible if we didn't eat, shop and play locally.

We also have an amazing system of social support through the Whistler Community Services Society, which we all support by shopping at the Re-Use-It and Re-Build-It centres.

So let's think globally and act locally as we raise a toast to those we love and appreciate in the new year.

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