Brookman: A New Year's wish for less drama and more positivity in our lives

As we start this New Year, here is one wish for all of us. Slow down, enjoy the ride

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Do you remember when it was a full year between New Year’s Day and Dec. 31? When Christmas took forever to arrive and those last 60 days felt like they would never end?

Here we are at the end of December and I still cannot quite figure out what happened to 2023.

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When I was young I tried to calculate how old I would be when the year 2000 arrived. Many will remember the Y2K frenzy and forecasts that the world’s computer systems would shut down at midnight. That night and the horrors of 9/11 and the World Trade Center attack are now more than two decades past, and there are people creating industry who were not born when those two dates occurred.

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Time seems to fly by so very quickly these days. People say that the older you get, the less percentage of your life is represented by one year. Perhaps that is true. Others think the pace of our lives has accelerated, and social media and cellphones have sped up our ability to communicate.

Watching historical movies, I think about their ability to make laws, create nations and even fight wars when decisions might take weeks or months as they sailed across vast oceans. The first Transatlantic telegraph cable must have seemed a miracle, and it’s been suggested that if the telephone was invented after emails and texting, we might be saying: “This is amazing, we can actually talk to each other.”

Think about how incredible it is that you can drive down the highway in Alberta, calling someone who is driving down a highway in Europe — and still be annoyed if the call doesn’t go through fast enough or drops during the conversation. Among the brightest minds of the late 19th century or even the early 20th century, there would be disbelief in all that we have accomplished, changed and adapted to in our lifetimes.

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It recalls that great Simon and Garfunkel song, Feelin’ Groovy, with its special line: “Slow down, you move too fast, you got to make the moments last.”

The human mind and our ability to adapt to changing conditions is incredible. Most innovations were created not by politicians forecasting disasters or economic collapses, but by individuals and industry that identified problems, and then set out to find solutions that were practical and affordable. There were no government alarmists or forecasters that told Henry Ford to invent the Model T, and we can assume that governments not only did not encourage the Wright brothers to invent an airplane, but bureaucracy likely stood in their way.

Today, we have reached a stage where governments think they can resolve any problem with additional taxes. Scientists are studying the changing climate and how to produce more food from fewer farms, while governments think raising taxes will somehow reduce the temperature and give us new ways to carry home our groceries. It is such alarmist nonsense and, perhaps, if we all just slowed down for a moment and thought about it, we could also slow down the panic-driven policies we are being forced to accept.

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If there is a wish for 2024, let’s ask that cooler heads and less drama prevail, and words such as “climate crisis” are struck from our vocabulary. I cannot help but wonder if during the Dirty ’30s, when little rain fell on the Prairies for seven years, anyone thought it was a climate crisis or just a drought.

So, as we start this New Year, here is one wish for all of us. Slow down, enjoy the ride, give all thoughts and drama the time to digest in your brain and ask yourself whether you seriously believe what you are being told.

The climate will always change, we will always adapt, the world will survive and we will not run out of food or fresh water.

Look forward to 2024 with optimism and positivity, and hope for leadership that is rational and thoughtful, and leaves the panic behind.

Happy New Year.

George H. Brookman is the chair and company ambassador of WCD Ltd.

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