Our Voice: What do humpback whales, badgers have in common?

The universe is a pretty big place. Interestingly enough, we all seem to think we are the center of it. You see that in toddlers and teens all the time, but it's quite recognizable in the older set as well.

We are grateful when people take the effort to make the world a better place for themselves -- and others.

Thoughtful thinking

We're grateful for thoughtful discussions and opportunities for civil debate. Some of those occur naturally, and others have to be manufactured.

Two of the "civility-by-design" groups that the Herald is associated with are the Mid-Columbia Badger Club and Community Conversation.

The Badger Club meets each month to sponsor a discussion on an informative topic. People can join the club or, pending availability, visit on a month-to-month basis.

The topic of Friday's meeting is gun violence. It's sure to bring out the passion from both sides. But, because of the way the forum is presented, it will be thoughtful and moderated.

Another venue for people to discuss potentially volatile topics is the Community Conversation. The Tri-City Herald and the Dispute Resolution Center of the Tri-Cities co-sponsor this event several times a year.

The July topic will be "When faith and rights collide." It's a subject that recently has been bantered around a lot in the letters to the editor in relation to the Arlene's Flowers controversy and the decision to bar Meals on Wheels staff from leading group prayers.

Some parts of the discussion have been more civil than others.

We understand that people get locked in heated debates. We sympathize with feelings of anger and frustration when you don't feel like you're being heard -- or when the other side is so obviously wrong.

So when a calm discussion takes place, it's refreshing. And we're glad for that opportunity in our community. And it is our hope that we see more of it.

Community's compassion

There have been many sad stories in the paper this week: one of our own killed in Afghanistan, fires and fatal car accidents and young wives and mothers taken too soon.

We expect the Mid-Columbia as a whole and the smaller communities that make up the larger whole will rally around the grieving and displaced.

We've seen it happen time and again. These latest situations aren't likely to be any different, but there seems to be a rash of them lately.

Sad as they are, these experiences bring out feelings of compassion and acts of service in all of us.

For this we are grateful. We express our sympathy to those who are grieving.

Whale of a tale

More monstrous mammals are being sighted in the Puget Sound. It's a "big" deal.

Yes, it seems the humpback whales are making a comeback. Their numbers are up more than tenfold over what they were 50 years ago.

The planet is a big place. Certainly there is room for all of us.