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Let's base our decisions on hope, not fear

December 14, 2020

To the Editor:

A wise man, Nelson Mandela, once said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

That simple statement has been resonating with me lately, especially when conversations gravitate to the potential Deep Geological Repository (DGR) in South Bruce. We are bombarded with the ways in which imaginations believe this project could go wrong, be dangerous, or just plain not wanted in our community.

Could a project like this have unplanned consequences? Of course it could, nothing is guaranteed in life. The question I always come back to is, what would the world look like if fear of the unknown were always the main deciding factor in decision-making?

What if the Wright brothers never flew their plane, for fear of it crashing? What if Dr. James Collip had stopped working on insulin after the first patient treated, suffered an allergic reaction? What if people skipped out on vaccinations just in case they were one of the few who would have a negative reaction? What if whoever decided to eat that thing that popped out of the chicken’s butt was too scared to try it?

All of these things are scary, terrifying even; yet, the scientists/doctors/inventors, etc., did them anyway. Once they were done successfully, society got behind the ideas too, and now we have an incredibly safe aviation industry, life-saving insulin for diabetics, many horrible diseases have been eradicated, and eggs - a staple in most fridges.

Despite the fear and potential failures, these developments progressed. Why? Hope! Whether it be the individuals discovering these things, or the societies that embraced them, there was a significant amount of hope around what the discoveries would mean. That hope outweighed the fear.

I believe that if given thought, co-operation, and open and honest dialogue, the DGR provides more hope than fear for South Bruce.

As humans, we get so caught up in the “cons” of a situation that the “pros” rarely have a chance to influence our decisions. Generally, we think in terms of outcomes—either positive or negative and we irrationally weigh the potential for a negative outcome as more important than that of the positive outcome.

As Michelle Obama said, “Don't ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility."
I encourage all South Bruce residents to look past their fears of the unknown, and dig into the potential this project could hold for our community.

Sheila Whytock

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