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  • Julie Bolduc-Duval

The Only Way to Make It

Hi! How are you? Seriously, how are you feeling today?

Yes, times are rough, and your morale might be affected. The pandemic is dragging on with the second wave hitting even harder than the first. The world news isn’t very optimistic and you might be thinking that once we make it through this health crisis, we will still have the climate crisis to deal with. And it all feels overwhelming...

I consider myself privileged during this pandemic. My personal, family, financial, and professional situations weren’t turned upside down overnight when we started lockdown. That being said, I feel that my mental health is not at its best and I have a lot of empathy for all those who are in more challenging situations than me: for those who are ill or have lost loved ones; for those who have lost their jobs or have had to close their businesses; for health care workers who are overworked and are constantly at risk of contracting the disease; for teachers who are forced to make changes on a regular basis and have to adapt while supporting their students. We are not all equal in the face of this crisis.

We need to be forgiving of ourselves and others. We cannot expect to be 100% effective when part of our brain is constantly preoccupied with everyday events and managing changing instructions. Our colleagues, employees, and partners may be experiencing difficulties. We should simply check in and ask each other honestly how we are feeling and take an interest in our well-being. More than ever, it is time to support one another and work together to resolve issues.

Earthrise above the lunar surface as seen by the crew of Apollo 8.

It may be hard to see it, but the situation is also positive in many places. It can be difficult to change the way we do things; it takes a lot of adaptation and resilience. But the current crisis is also fertile ground for creativity, thinking outside the box, and proposing new ways of doing things. Many people and organizations are reinventing themselves and we are seeing new ideas emerging everywhere. This pandemic is having a negative impact on our lives, but I am certain positive things will also come of it.

The STAN Conference in February will focus on the positive, the take-care-of-ourselves mentality, and showcase our collective ideas and successes. It is by working together that we will emerge stronger. I look forward to interacting with passionate people from across Canada, meeting virtually, and supporting each other in our missions. Please join us!

I fundamentally believe that we need to come together to get through crises. I work in astronomy and I often say that, although we can look extremely far away with increasingly sophisticated instruments, the greatest legacy of these discoveries is the way we look at our own planet. Seen from space, the Earth is a small blue marble lost in the immensity of the dark universe. All humans exist on this same marble, regardless of their values and opinions. To grow as a species, to evolve and to get out of difficult situations, we must work together towards a common good for all. The polarisation of ideas and the divide that seems to be widening between various groups seems quite silly when thought of on this scale. More than ever, we must unite, overcome our sometimes-divergent opinions and work together to make tomorrow possible and better. It’s the only way to make it.

Julie Bolduc-Duval is an astronomer and science educator. She is the director of the astronomy education program Discover the Universe. Passionate about education and the power of science to make the world a better place, Julie collaborates with educators and professionals across the globe. Twitter: @jbolducduval


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