changing our culture

‘Full fathom five thy father lies/ Of his bones are coral made/ Those are pearls that were his eyes /Nothing of him that doth fade, / But doth…

‘Full fathom five thy father lies/ Of his bones are coral made/ Those are pearls that were his eyes /Nothing of him that doth fade, / But doth suffer a sea change.”

Ariel, Prospero’s supernatural servant, evocatively sings these words on the supposed drowning of King Alonso in Act I, Scene II of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

This passage is often cited as the source of the term ‘sea change.’

These words have come over the nearly 400 intervening years to mean a fundamental reshaping of some basic concept, a radical reformulation of a core idea or a seemingly miraculous and surprising change to something thought to be immutable.

A sea change is clearly not just any change.

My father-in-law, Paul de Gosztonyi, at one time, thought that the changes wrought on his homeland, Hungary, in the wake of the Second World War would hold permanent sway over it.

He lived long enough, though, to see the collapse of a the Soviet empire, the tearing down brick by brick of the Berlin Wall and other symbols of the totalitarian reign over the millions of people of Central Europe.

His family, which had been granted a patent of nobility in 1467 had earlier likely thought that the Habsburgs dynasty’s centuries of European rule would continue ad infinitum. It didn’t.

Once commonplace, monarchy with its system of entrenched class privilege just barely holds on.

It won’t last forever either.

Anyone of the ‘baby boom’ generation like me has witnessed incredible sea changes.

The evolving status of women in society and the birth of the civil rights movement are only a couple examples of a growing global consciousness signaling a fundamental shift from the past.

Upon closer inspection, though, do any of the social movements like that on the environment fit the definition of ‘miraculous and surprising change’?

These momentous shifts result from countless small steps taken by people around the world.

The cumulative impact sweeps away tired notions of how we should live together in our increasingly interconnected global community.

These may be sea changes only for those among us desperately deluding themselves that fundamental change isn’t really necessary or fiercely defending their stake in the status quo.

Last week, FH Collins Secondary in Whitehorse held its first annual Kindness Campaign.

Student organizers from their  Be the Change team challenged their peers to spread good deeds throughout the school community.

They gave out ‘Pay it forward’ cards to encourage the multiplication of acts of kindness.

Other activities this year such as Challenge Day (www.challengeday.org), the Think Pink bully-free school day or the pre-Christmas craft fair, which raised funds for a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, all can be seen as part of a process encouraging the evolution of a culture of caring at this Yukon school.

Step by step we bring about needed changes one high school, one workplace and one community at a time.

The cumulative effect may be the sea change needed to create a just, sustainable world order.

All of us have a role to play in this process.

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read