What the Canadian fire teaches all of us

My home province of Alberta, Canada, is being burned to the ground.

On Sunday, May 8, 2016, Fort McMurray’s mayor declared a local state of emergency, according to the Edmonton Journal. By Tuesday, May 10, all Fort McMurray’s residents were put under a mandatory evacuation order. Now more than 2,500 homes are burned, and Alberta is in a state of emergency, according to

As I scroll through my social media, my heart breaks. Families have lost everything. The fire is still not under control, and everyone is playing the blame game for the fire.

But what breaks my heart even more is how little Americans seem to know. Unfortunately, issues of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s relationship, politicians and bathrooms are getting more attention than a fire that will have an impact on all of us.

“Fort McMurray is home to the major oil sands in Canada,” according to the Washington Post. “Alberta’s oil sands have the third-largest reserves of oil in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.”

Without Fort McMurray, the American economy would suffer. Over 40 percent of the crude oil the United States imports, or 3.5 million barrels a day, come from Fort McMurray, according to the U.S Energy Information Administration.

The impact on the American economy will be determined as the fire burns out. Experts are saying that the U.S might have to consider importing oil from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, according to CNN Money.

“U.S. gasoline prices heading into the summer driving season are higher than ever before,” according to National Geographic.

Disasters like these pose a question that everyone should consider. Do I really understand the current events that actually matter?

I’m not meaning to totally disregard the 2016 election or movements that could impact society.

What I mean is are we being aware of things that are happening beyond our backyard? Do we take the time to research and find things that are new instead of just sharing everything we see on Facebook?

I invite everyone to do three things.

1. Find current events around the world that impact you. Whether they impact you physically, emotionally or spiritually, share them. Share them on social media. Tell everyone how it impacted you and why they should care.

As the fire started to become out of control, Americans were sharing that Ted Cruz punched his wife in the face during his presidential suspension announcement. Does that really matter?

Fill your social media feeds with new information so others can learn from you. I am a firm believer that in order to be true disciples of Christ, we need to step outside ourselves and understand what is going on in the world around us.

2. If you are about to complain over social media about insignificant things, don’t. When you step outside of yourself, you start to realize how wonderful you have it.

Over 80,000 Fort McMurray residents’ homes, memories and jobs have burned to the ground, according to the Globe and Mail. Residents have no idea when they can start their lives again. They are stuck in limbo, receiving help from fellow Canadians.

I hate to break it to you, but your first world problems are nothing compared to Fort McMurray and other refugees trying to find a place after their homes were destroyed.

3. Pray for Fort McMurray. Pray that our government leaders will be inspired to recover and repair Fort McMurray in the fastest way possible. Pray to bless the numerous fire fighters, first responders and RCMP officers who spent countless hours trying to put out a fire they could not control. Pray for the people of Fort McMurray. Pray that they will find peace and comfort as they try to get back on their feet.

Because, in the end, it doesn’t matter if you are Canadian or American, black or white, free or in bondage. What matters is that we are all brothers and sisters. It is our duty to be our brother’s keeper and to make sure change in the world happens through us.

'What the Canadian fire teaches all of us' has 1 comment

  1. May 22, 2016 @ 5:01 pm anonymous

    Funny you mentioned “the blame game” in your article…while Edmonton Mormons were glad to pitch in to help however they could, an American missionary blamed the fire on sinners in his May 10 blog post:

    Fort McMurray employs lots of immigrants and people of other faiths who are good citizens. They’re essential in driving Alberta’s economy and supplying oil to the world. I don’t agree with Mormonism, but think you’re spot on with your comments about keeping up with current events and being a less-provincial person. The missionary proves your point.


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll