Reporting and risk

Tis a very cold, snowy day here in the Gatineau Hills. I don’t know how many of you experienced the great ice storm of 1998 but since that time, weather reports here seem to have changed. Many criticized ‘the system’ for not being able to predict the severity of the storm, but how do you predict an event that is so atypical and happens about once every hundred years? Life is random and chaotic, and if we are lucky, we will die in our sleep well into our eighties. Our perception or risk can be so distorted by what we hear, take the misinformation about crime currently being put out by our government and its impacts on seniors. I keep trying to convince my aging mother that crime rates have steadily been decreasing, but she doesn’t believe me, how do we get the real information out there when our political leaders rather than leading, are contributing to a culture of fear?

Our perception of risk is so shaped by our media and the integrity of our leaders–the information given to us. For example, going back to the weather, we now have temperatures reported with a wind chill factored in. We have severe cold warnings, I have never felt so cold! What has changed, in fact, temperatures and winters here in Ottawa appear to be getting milder. Winter is a magical time, when things slow down, a good time to reflect and write, to ski, to skate, to snowshoe. Yes, it is important to know weather conditions, but the context in which information is presented is so critical.

There is a tendency as we age to become more conservative, but I refuse to become fearful of my environment, of the magical natural world in which I live. What does an induced culture of fear do to our lives and how we play?

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