From the Editor / Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Somewhere, over the rainbow … presidential-election years evoke the question of whether we
and our world are better off than the last time around. We want to hear what you think.
One take: Our Salish Current managing editor misses the “foolish ease” of travel to
destinations such as the Mānoa Valley on Oahu (above) and has concerns about how
power subverts justice. (Amy Nelson photo © 2020)

By Mike Sato

— “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” is the quadrennial question asked when presidential-election years roll around.

I’ve been thinking about the question and about an answer not only because it is an election year but also because we are living through the COVID-19 pandemic, social and economic unrest, and forest fires raging up and down the West Coast.

I thought it would be interesting to hear how the readers of Salish Current would answer the question, and to share those answers.

So, let me invite you to send your answer, in no more than 100 words, along with your photo to

Don’t dawdle; we’d like to share your answers in upcoming postings.

And just a few guidelines:

  1. It’s up to you to define “better” and what you choose to compare.
  2. Be civil: spread light, not heat.
  3. If we need to edit for style, length, or content, you will be told.

Now, here are my 100 words: 

“On the whole, my health is better (triglycerides are down), distancing and isolation have spared me many routine colds and infections and my work has become much more meaningful. However, I miss the foolish ease of traveling, the company of others in bars and taverns and those heartfelt handshakes and hugs with family and friends. Myself aside, the world’s worse off now as climate changes unabated, power strangles justice, and greed widens the chasm between haves and have-nots. I know what needs to be done. Who will stand together?”

Looking forward to your responses.

Mike Sato compiles environmental news items for Salish Sea News and Weather and periodically blogs for Salish Sea Communications. He is the author of The Price of Taming a River: The Decline of Puget Sound’s Duwamish/Green Waterway. He serves as managing editor for the Salish Current, and resides in Bellingham and on Lopez Island.