Check out the latest ML Blue Mountains here.
In this issue, we take action and build a trail system, stop worrying about Covid, rebound from a tragic accident, spend a night in the Bluffs, and shred the Land of Water & Ice. We also groom some optimism, build a canoe and stay in a cottage with a conscience.
NEDITORIAL: HOW TO BEAT ECO-ANXIETY
During the bleak early days of the pandemic, when authorities advised us to stay at home and go out only for essential trips, even local footpaths were “closed.” This seemed counterintuitive—could you really catch Covid in the woods? I’ll confess today that my five-year-old daughter and I found incalculable solace through our daily visits to a near-home section of public forest, one I knew was seldom visited. We hiked, skied or snowshoed around a pond created by decades of beaver activity, every day hoping for a sighting in the half-frozen shallow water or surrounding cedar groves and fringes of dogwood. But, unlike us, the beaver was doing the right thing for public health and sheltering in place, not risking a face-to-face.
A few years later I remain hopeful that we’re (mostly) wiser for the experience of Covid, though certain problems seem to be magnifying. We may not be feeling the worst of the climate crisis here in Ontario, but anyone with a passing acquaintance with world news can’t ignore the increasing prevalence of heatwaves, wildfires, flooding and drought, as well as the lack of reliable snowpack. Eco-anxiety is now widely recognized as a common disorder. (The Canadian Mental Health Association describes eco-anxiety as “a deep fear of environmental doom and human catastrophe, which can bring on the same kinds of symptoms as anxiety—like panic attacks and sleeplessness—and depression.”)
Those who deny the hard science proving the catastrophic impact of humans upon earth’s systems also suffer from eco-anxiety, in my view. They just won’t or can’t admit it. Reading or watching the news these days is a battering experience and I can almost sympathize with the millions who have reacted by ignoring facts and embracing a zombie-like state of hostile ignorance and delusion. But I need to keep believing that extremist ideology and conspiracy theories have a short shelf-life.
During the lockdown, most of us became habituated to staying inside most of the time. It didn’t feel good, exactly, but it felt safe. Cocooning on the couch with a favourite streaming service is undeniably comforting, especially as temperatures start to drop again.
But finding a higher motivation can be as simple as looking to our good neighbours. In this issue,* we provide inspiration by celebrating those who’ve taken positive action to improve the earth for everyone, even if no one asks them to. Every last one of us can also take action, whether that means donating to conservation efforts, joining a bike club, volunteering for a cause or picking up trash on a trail or beach.
Every unspoiled piece of forest, rock, soil or water is key to humanity’s salvation. We need to work to protect and enlarge it all, and we need to immerse ourselves in it whenever possible. It’s the only effective treatment for eco-anxiety. –Ned Morgan, Editor
Check out the online issue here. For Ontario print-issue pickup locations, check with our local advertisers. High-traffic pickup locations include Blue Mountain Resort and Blue Mountain Village, The Cheese Gallery, Chestnut Park Collingwood, The Collingwood Brewery, Collingwood Loblaws, Corbetts Ski + Snowboard, Creemore Springs Brewery, Forest Hill Collingwood, Minds Alive Collingwood, Market on Marsh, Pom Pom Treat Hut, Property Valet, Remax at Blue, Royal Lepage Locations North, Scandinave Spa, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, Skiis & Biikes Collingwood, Sporting Life Collingwood, Spy Cider House & Distillery, Summit Social House, Surf & Turf Blue Mountains, Thornbury Foodland.
*Every tree harvested to print Mountain Life is replanted through the PrintReleaf program.