I was moved by Mr. Sticklandâ€™s personal experience of the decline of community and his opinion that â€˜Calgary is becoming one of the least friendly cities in the nation, and one of the most violentâ€™.
Community is a sense of â€˜common unityâ€™ and surely is the foundation of a healthy society. Relationships are the basis of trust and trust enables people to care for each other and work together to solve problems. We are talking of the essentials of civil society.
I am conscious in my own neighborhood â€“ Sunnyside – of the challenges of reaching out to new people, especially more transient neighbors including students and renters. I have allowed my life to become fast-paced but I try always to make Â time for a brief greeting on the street. Iâ€™ve discovered some fascinating people and even business opportunities this way.
High rates of homelessness, addiction, suicide, anxiety, depression and family violence in Alberta reflect many factors surely but that includes the price we are all paying for the lack of community. And these problems clearly contribute significantly to the burden on our health care system. Especially with economic growth, the influx of many new Albertans, we are in danger of worsening trends. What can the average person do about this?
Whatever else we do as family members, business associates and employees if we do not contribute to healthier communities we, and our children, will suffer.
As Chief Seattle said about the physical environment surely applies to the social environment also:Â â€œWe are all part of the fabric of life. What we do (or fail to do) to it, we do to ourselves.â€
Of course Mr. Stickland is a playwright â€“ challenging us in his own inimitable fashion to remember to play together and as community members, to â€œplay rightâ€!
Dr. David Swann, MLA â€“ Calgary Mountain View. Shadow Minister â€“ Environment, sustainable resource development and aboriginal relations