ALMOST 50 years ago, my husband and I received a clock radio as a wedding gift. It was the latest technology, allowing for two automatic choices — alarm or radio.

The early morning radio news broadcast many memorable stories. One was that Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was going to marry a young woman, Margaret Sinclair. Another was that just west of us, near Dryden, industrial pollution had contaminated the Wabigoon and English River systems with mercury, causing Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) to suffer one of Canada’s worst industrial disasters.

A young David Suzuki explained on CBC radio the effects of Minamata disease. He recommended we watch a television report which portrayed the horrifying neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning in Japan, and apply those lessons to the Grassy Narrows disaster.

In 50 years, technology has blazed ahead inconceivably, making the clock radio seem laughable. In 50 years, generations have passed and children’s children are growing up.

Recent news accounts say that there may be action soon to rectify damage from mercury poisoning from the Wabigoon River. Meetings may take place about a proposed mercury poisoning treatment centre for Grassy Narrows.

Why are some changes affected at lightening speed, while others are as imperceptible as the pace of a snail?

Beth Workman

Thunder Bay

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