Not long now

It seems it wasn’t days ago when school let out. Here we are at the end of August, heading into a long weekend. School opens on Tuesday.

Most kids have had a great summer. Between camps and hopefully some family holidays, everyone should be rested, ready to start fresh this fall.

There will be something we call butterflies – that uneasy feeling in young tummies when they enter a new setting with new people. Often that is overcome in the first week. Routines develop, friendships re-kindle and worlds open up for discovery with new educators.

It will be important for parents to keep a watchful eye during this process. Some students don’t just get the butterflies. There can be elements of dread as the new social order settles in. Talk with your kids or grandkids and see how their year is starting.

As we typically warn at the end of the school year, drivers also need to be vigilant for students so excited in the next chapter of their life that they forget some safety rules. Drivers need to be cautious and pay heed to school bus traffic morning and afternoon.

We hope 2019-20 will be a great school year – and we wish everyone a successful start.

Southern firestorms

It may seem unusual to have started this week’s column with a greeting to students considering the importance of the next subject,  but our publication aims to be local first.

That does not however diminish the severity of the next topic. In fact, it is a catastrophic occurrence that every person on the planet should hope ends soon.

Firestorms are raining down on South America. Brazil has made the news and was a major talking point at the recent G7 Summit meetings in France. Other neighbouring countries like Bolivia and Paraguay face similar problems as fires ravage the Amazon rainforest and its periphery.

A large part of the problem appears from what we have read to be about the clear cutting of land for agricultural and industrial production. Massive tracts are leveled by purposely set fires to open up fertile ground for commercial enterprises. To be clear, it isn’t like early civilizations carving a homestead out of the bush – this is massive appropriation of tracts as far as the eye can see. Granted, this activity has apparently slowed in recent years.

The problem of deforestation is not new. It’s been on the go for decades. We recall as a relatively young voter wondering how such obvious carnage could be stopped. Is it realistic to think other nations should be prepared to subsidize countries with rainforests, because they are so critical to global ecology? Or is that yet another first world, patronizing approach that would limit those countries’ ability to participate in the global economy?

What we do know for certain, is this situation is calamitous.