This being our Halloween issue, we here at the Martlet have been looking to lighten the mood. Everyone is bustling to find a scary costume for their evening festivities, but as we look for scary rubber masks, besieged health care workers are trading their now-inadequate surgical masks for respirators as Ebola spreads across West Africa. Yes, officials tell us that Ebola is unlikely to spread in North America, but there is plenty more to fear than just a deadly pathogen that liquefies your organs, which CNN dubbed “the ISIS of biological agents”. There’s also actual ISIS.
Sweeping across swaths of Iraq and Syria while leaving a trail of mass murder, religious persecution, and several high-profile beheadings, ISIS is up against a weak Iraqi army, and coalition forces are reluctant to co-operate. Many Canadians and Americans don’t even want to get involved at all in what they view as a domestic dispute, recalling the misguided 2003 invasion. For those who do not want to commit Canadian resources to an Iraqi dispute, why not fear an issue that affects everyone?
A recent report released by the US Department of Defence acknowledges that the effects of climate change will be an increasing source of global instability due to mass migration, crop failures, and water shortages, which could foster extremism. Consecutive UN climate conferences have been unable to adequately curb carbon emissions, and the upcoming summit in Paris is viewed as the last opportunity for nations to avoid a tipping point of irreversible climate change and the financial risks that come with it, not that market fluctuations aren’t already starting to happen.
A significant drop in the European stock market points to another continental recession, and analysts insist that the Canadian housing bubble is set to burst, depleting retirement nest eggs and college funds. With the B.C. government reducing its post-secondary funding and instead tying it to employment outcomes, those smaller nest eggs won’t be welcome as tuition isn’t expected to decrease anytime soon.
Speaking of tied education funding, it’s worth mentioning that many of the people writing this editorial are in the fine arts or social sciences, where employment outcomes are not guaranteed. In fact, if you’re reading a physical copy of this article, you are well aware of the sorry state of the print media industry, where jobs are being slashed left and right. This is not the time to think calmly and carefully.
So go on. Put on your costume and party it up on Halloween night. Try to scare the pants off your friends and family. We’ll be here, huddled under our desks, trying to defend ourselves from disease, climate change, financial ruin, and also hobo spiders. Those things are scary as shit.