Episode #115 — How can Peterborough get ready for a turbulent future?

The future is always a secret cache of promise and menace. But Spring 2022 finds us in Peterborough awash in a unique flood of unknowns.  We are facing two elections:  the Ontario provincial vote on June 2 & the municipal election on Oct 24.  The ongoing war in Ukraine is upsetting markets and adding to supply chain woes, thereby inflating the prices of everything.  Prices for real estate, rent, fuel and food were surging before the war, and now they are going through the roof. Salaries are not keeping up. Homelessness is on the rise. Inflation is climbing.

We are done with the pandemic but the pandemic may not be done with us.  Most people are adhering to the guidelines issued by Peterborough Public Health, but a vocal minority refuses to abide by those guidelines.  The pro-vaccine / anti-vaccine issue is dividing friends and families.

In 2021, Peterborough had 44 deaths due to opioid overdoes or drug poisoning. As of the end of April, there were 14 additional deaths. Despite progress with a safe consumption site and perhaps a clean drug supply, the opioid crisis is still with us. Many businesses have struggled during the pandemic; some have had to close. Our downtown needs help. And on Saturday, May 21st, our region was hammered by a highly destructive wind storm; some Peterborough residents are still without electricity.

And all of these trends and dilemmas are taking place under the
looming thunderclouds of the climate crisis.  The IPCC Report released on February 27, 2022, says “This report is a dire warning on the consequences of inaction…It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet”.

So many of these issues are far beyond our local control. While we cannot “future-proof” Peterborough against all of these issues, what can we do as a community to play the hand that the immanent future is about to deal us? The future is here right now. And the future always shows up locally first.

Listen to what our guest panel says about the issues we should address in order to improve the resilience of our community and our region. The panel grapples with the issues of poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity, urban planning, community solidarity and climate disruptions. I need to thank panellists Stephen Wright, Annie Jaeger, Dane Bland and Cheryl Lyon for their enthusiasm and their provocative ideas. This panel discussion was recorded online on Sunday, May 29th.

The two musical interludes in this episode were sourced from the Creative Commons. In order of appearance…Artist: LukHash – Music: “The Other Side”; Artist: Le Conquerant – Music: ” Guitar

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