There is a saying that when times get tough, the tough welcome the new year with renewed hope.
2017 marked a challenging year for BC when Mother Nature unleashed her worst yet. December of the previous year started us off with one of the heaviest snowfall, which extended its stay until March 2017. The final 2.6 centimeters of the season fell on March 7, in what will go down as one of the coldest and snowiest seasons on record. It will also be remembered as the year that salt became a hot commodity for the city selling as much as $40 to $50 per bag, and kitty litter all of a sudden becoming a cheaper alternative. The 2017 winter was a reminder of how climate change in Metro Vancouver, when snowier, colder winters, were the norm just a few decades ago.
This was the year when BC experienced the worst wildfires in history, with 50,000 evacuating their homes and fleeing for their safety. It led to the longest and “most disastrous” fire season in the province’s history. The BC Wildfire Service reported 1,265 fires, which led to a province-wide state of emergency after 15 years. And with the fires, came smoke. After more than a month of aggressive wildfire activity in B.C.’s Interior, smoke drifted westward, prompting air quality warnings as far away as the Lower Mainland, causing concern for those with heart and lung conditions. Parts of the province, like the Kamloops area, had off-the-charts Air Quality Health Index measurements. A few weeks in July and August, when otherwise perfect beach weather was expected, it was replaced with fiery sunsets, a burning orb for the sun, and orange haze all day that irritated eyes and burned throats, worse than the air in Beijing.
B.C. Interior saw the rapid growth of grasses that then became explosive tinder during one of the driest summers on record. Add to the mix a couple of big wind events and we had a recipe for extreme fire weather conditions from June through to September. November was a time of week-long heavy rains, with Metro Vancouver experiencing twenty-two consecutive days of rain, with rain falling on twenty-seven of the thirty days.
Aside from pouring rain, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s eyes also poured buckets of tears this year for many unnecessary moments, but was steadfast on his defense of Governor General Julie Payette who derided every Canadian citizen with her snide comments in her speech in Parliament. Payette never retracted nor apologized for her remarks, which proves how arrogant she truly is. It was also the year that the NDPs beat the Liberals, with the seats won by the Green Party in the BC Parliament, making John Horgan the new Premiere of BC, prompting Trudeau to make a quick visit to BC in June, and meet with several communities, including the Filipino community, to make sure his votes still count, and his selfies still work their charm.
2017 was also the year Filipino-Canadians lost its only Filipino senator, Conservative Tobias Enverga. The office he vacated is a big gap in the involvement of the Filipino community in Canadian politics, and much is lost with the passing of the senator, especially that he was moving towards legislation for Overseas Filipino Workers and caregiver issues.
While it feels as if individuals are powerless to enact the big changes, especially when one is against nature or politics, 2018 will be a new year, and there is much hope in what is to come. This is in spite of impending doom and gloom on the legalization of marijuana, and the ever-increasing cost of real estate, to name a few. People turn to what they can fix and make new year’s resolutions. They usually abandon those resolutions because that’s human nature, however, it is interesting that the word “resolution” is a synonym for “resiliency”, and no matter how bleak things may appear, people will just get through the day and deal with what is in front of them. Resolving to express gratitude for the good things in life, to show more compassion for others, to volunteer to help the less fortunate are all worthwhile and achievable goals for the new year. And although they will abandon some goals, British Columbians will certainly uphold others that are truly worthy of retaining.