If global warming is responsible for two consecutive gorgeous Septembers in Helsinki, it can't be all bad. The skies over this beautiful city (at about 59 degrees north) are a deep blue rarely seen farther south, and while autumn is clearly on its way the sun is warm. The Finns are enjoying every minute of it, knowing that November will be much more like the old days.
I find it unsettling to be blogging ten hours ahead of my normal schedule. North America is just waking up to events that I posted about before I went to bed last night. I'm not sure when to check the West African media for updates, and have to guess at when WHO will break its latest disease outbreak news item. Jet lag doesn't make judgment any easier: Two or three horsemen of the Apocalypse could gallop down the street outside our hotel, and I'd be too sleepy to notice.
Even so, blogging from Helsinki is a forceful reminder of how tightly bound we are on this planet. It may take 12 hours buried alive in an aluminum coffin to get here, but once back on the net everything is still going on—especially in West Africa and Flublogia. We are very much all in the same small boat.
Tomorrow my wife and I are off to Stockholm, another sublimely civilized city, for a few more days before we return to Vancouver's howling wilderness of strip malls, teachers' strikes, and pretensions to "world class." I hope to touch base with friends at ECDC, but just walking the leaf-crunchy streets and catching the #2 tram downtown will be reason enough.
Just as doctors should routinely examine healthy people to see what they're shooting for, some time in Helsinki and Stockholm reminds me what all of us should be shooting for as the bare minimum living standard for the planet.