Monday, 24 September 2018

WHITIANGA WEATHER

The Informer issue 800 - a time to get reflective

By Jordan Gower

On 4 March 2003, a nameless, A4, four-page publication was released into the Mercury Bay area - in hindsight, a somewhat momentous occasion. Fifteen years and four months since that very first issue and here we are at The Mercury Bay Informer, issue number 800. This seems a perfect time to get a little reflective (maybe even a little cheesy) and take a look at where we came from and, maybe, should be heading to.

The year 2003 seems an extremely distant memory for me, as I was only six years old. I had been in school for less than a year, but I already knew I had a passion for writing - that, at least, has remained constant.

For Mercury Bay, the focus of the news was the Whitianga Waterways, still a very recent development having only commenced in 2001.

Beach erosion was another prominent issue and the idea of a seawall for Buffalo Beach was under heavy debate.

Further afield in the big wide world, people were losing their minds over the newest technology fad of camera phones. The world was up in arms about the invasion of privacy camera phones might lead to. The usual divide between people embracing new technology and those rejecting it was once again apparent.

The war in Iraq was still raging on and a heatwave over Europe became one of the most extreme weather events of the past 100 years. Maybe there was something to climate change after all? Music was entirely different, because unless you really wanted to put in the time to find alternative sounds, the Top 40 was your best bet. So we all drove around listening to Blink-182 and Britney Spears.

Yes, the world was entirely different, yet it wasn’t. Wars in the Middle East continue, the climate change debate is never-ending and every time new technology comes out, the world divides. Even locally, the news has similar themes. Just two weeks ago our front page story was about the possibility of an exciting new development in the Whitianga Waterways and beach erosion continues to worry us all. Thankfully though, Spotify and AUX cords now exist, so the Top 40 is no longer our default.

Reflecting on the past inevitably leads to predictions about the future. Back to the Future Part II were pretty onto it back in 1989. They predicted that by 2015 we would have tablets, 3D movies, video calling and even self-lacing shoes. Indeed, we have all those things, just waiting on the flying cars. 
When we imagine the future, our minds tend to follow the path of wild technology and metallic-gold fashion. It’s easy to ponder how others' inventions and actions will affect our future, but it’s more confronting to imagine the impacts of our own actions. What concerns me more than hoverboards and teleportation, is how I am going to show up in this world.  How will I use my time to make life better for those around me? I know I am never going to invent time travel or do anything too science related, but I can think about what I attribute to this earth, daily and in the long-term.
The future is exciting, yet concerning, and I want to do my bit to reduce concern. Decreasing my usage of single-use plastics (or any plastic), because I don’t want the ocean’s plastic-to-fish ratio to be equal by 2050, as predicted. Showing up for my friends and family when I can. Finding something positive in each day, to ensure I am not weighed down by the burdens life can bring.

My goals for the future are simple - to be kind, present and positive. As cheesy as it all sounds, I think it is an important way to live. We should stop fretting about flying drones, town centre upgrades and things simply out of our control and focus on what we are doing to make this life enjoyable, for ourselves and those around us. It’s the only way to ensure that in another 800 issues, our future will be positive - with or without the flying cars.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.