Dr. Turner's Blog

Aren’t We Lucky


It was my intention to have this missive be about some of my pet peeves. That negativity has been shelved and permanently… why would you care to hear them anyway and I have no control over any of them.

A book by Swedish writer Hans Rosling named FACTFULNESS has had a profound effect on my view of my place in the world. My pet peeves have been identified now as the petty concerns they are (were).

Bill Gates called FACTFULNESS  “One of the most important books I’ve ever read—-an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.”

We Canadians, all of us, live in a healthy, rich country compared to 95% of less healthy and less rich countries worldwide. Along with Scandinavians, the Swiss, Icelanders, the Japanese, the residents of Luxembourg and Singapore, a few European E.U. countries and our friends in New Zealand and Australia, we can expect to live longer, healthier lives than 7 billion other humans.

My family is fond of raising dinner wine glasses to a toast introduced to us by my good friend Dr. Peter Williams of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, “Aren’t We Lucky?”

Even in “lucky” countries there is much room for improvement even as the “other humans” also improve and catch up. In Canada, as in the slightly richer but sicker USA, we mistreat our indigenous people, produce too much per capita CO2 emission, discard plastic into our landfills and stumble on tackling climate change, providing universal healthcare and establishing free education to name a few.

Happily, as Rosling proves, “we’re wrong about the world…things are better than you think!” And that is true by virtually every marker.

Corona Virus will someday be a Remember When? like leprosy, swine flu, scurvy and syphilis. Tragically, as I write, nearly 3000 people have died of this virus worldwide…There will be blaming, mistruths and fearmongering about COVID-19…please consider the sources of information and watch for facts, not speculation. The media will want to attract readers/viewers and reporting will likely thus be scary and exaggerated. Rosling’s book is quoted: “There is no room for facts when our minds are occupied with fear”.

Last year 3500 Canadians died with influenza and we stayed calm!

I love that 7 billion people would like to live where I already live.

Next month…maybe more “Aren’t We Lucky”


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