When looking at what’s going on in the world around us I often wonder if we are we more connected than ever and saying less in a digital age? The sounds of people screaming resonate in my dreams as I hear machine gun fire or the sounds of buildings collapsing from natures response to human activity. I wonder if a large-scale crisis whether from terrorism, a financial crash, or a catastrophic climate-related event could provide the pretext to declare a state of emergency where the usual rules no longer apply as Naomi Klein suggests. What happens if communication, media and our art, as well as some communities, are forced underground? Has the message been lost because we are too busy, or to the fear of capitalism and tyrants who routinely reduce funding, destroy art, censor, burn books, harass painters, journalists, professors, playwrights and authors? Could it happen here? Are we systematically suffocating these voices in a world distracted by capitalism, climate change, racism and socioeconomic struggle?
There have been significant benchmarks over time that question our humanity and offer a glimpse of our future. As the world seems to be racing out of control, the list of what’s wrong seems to be growing longer. I’m curious when we might give equal consideration to humans, animals and “other,” before more species slide into extinction, more forests and wetlands are obliterated, and more lives are destroyed by hunger, war, and climate change. With a growing homeless population in Vancouver, a city filled with smoke, and catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes only hours away, our world, and our city have changed. If Sally Armstrong is right… “that there is no such thing as an innocent bystander,” what then is my role, and what is yours?