The Kyoto Protocol, ratified by Canada in December 2002 will come into force today, February 16. This is good news for the planet, as 141 countries around the world (with the exception of the United States - the largest single polluter) have pledged to work together to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. But Canada has yet to put forward an effective, coherent plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue as usual, they will rise to 810 million tonnes per year by 2010 - 30% above our legally binding Kyoto target of 570 Mt, leaving a 240 million tonne/yr gap. The government has called on individual citizens to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne per year - 20% of the average individual emissions. But the largest polluters haven't been asked to do their part. So far, the government has relied mainly on voluntary measures that have been largely ignored by big business. Half of greenhouse gas emissions are from large industrial polluters, but the government is reportedly reducing their reduction target from 55 to 45 million tonnes per year - about 10 % of expected industrial emissions. The government may also back off on its commitment to improve the fuel efficiency of new vehicles by 25 percent by 2010. That is why we, as Canadians, have to ask our elected officials to take The 240 Million Tonne Challenge. Visit the Greenpeace Canada website to send a free fax to your Member of Parliament, asking them to support the 240 Million Tonne Challenge>> Learn more about the Kyoto Protocol>> Take the One Tonne Challenge (Government of Canada website)>>
I've just sat through the full 2 hours of this movie, with my mouth open in disbelief the entire time. I've read about the Rwandan genocide, learned a little about in school and heard the facts and stats around it. But never did I think I would be able to view the ordeal in this way. Granted it's a movie, so I will never even imply that I've witnessed genocide, but the movie left a grainy taste in my mouth. I felt sick to my stomach - not because of the harsh details and gore depicted, but because this was not fiction, it really happened - over 1 million Rwandans were slaughtered for no reason, and we did nothing about it. I mean "we" as in the ever-powerful Western and "civilized" world. No intervention and no aid of any kind; it was utter abandonment.
What also got to me was a specific line from the movie. Don Cheadle (main character, Paul) thanks Joaquin Pheonix, a reporter (Jack), for shooting images of the killings because he expects that it will persuade people in other countries to send aid. In response, the reporter says "After they see this, people are gonna say 'my god thats terrible' and then go on eating their dinners". How true it is...we watch the news, read the papers, and discuss international issues like this all the time. But how often to we actually do something about it? I guess there's the point that there is a limited amount we can do. Writing letters to MPs/Senators, sigining petitions, taking part in rallies, though all will create awareness in our own backyard, but won't stop an innocent child from being shot in the head point blank. It's somewhat disheartening to think about - does it all really help? In the case of this genocide, where it was laden with political, cultural and religious complexities, would another country truly be persuaded to intervene when in the first face of danger it abruptly turned and sped out? Affecting change on that level requires a life-long devotion to a single cause. You have to sacrifice everything and never stop striving for that one thing. Even then, change will only occur if society is ready for it.
Or you can live your life the best you can and affect the lives of the people around you every day.
This is what sums up Paul's involvement. He didn't stop the entire genocide, and he couldn't be expected to; he's one man against a vicious, hate-tempered army. What he does, though, is take his little corner of the world, the Mille Collines Hotel (the place is not actually called Hotel Rwanda), and make it a haven for the people. As a result, approx. 1200 people lived to see another day, another year, etc. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try anything and everything we can. In the end, one man cannot complete a cause. But if enough men make their corner of the world a little safer, a little happier, then we all complete the cause.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On a totally different, yet related note, Don Cheadle has been nominated for an Oscar this year (and rightly so) as well as Best Supporting Actress for the woman who played his wife (Sophia something) and the film is up for Best Original Screenplay, . Whether it wins or not, it doesnt matter....Academy Awards are becoming more and more of a joke these day (damn politics get into everything)...but at least it's been recognized and maybe more people will see it as a result. The entire film is absolutely stunning with amazing performances and great direction, in short, go see it!
I went back to UTM (the university i just graduated from) today for a few things, and it felt really weird! I felt like an outsider and didnt recognize any faces. It does feel good to have graduated and all, but at the same time I wish I was back in school, going to lectures, stressing over papers and assignments....somebody test me please!!! Multiple choice...short answer..heck, essay questions! Anything!
I guess because ever since I started university, I've never had a break. I've always taken summer school and winter breaks were so short that they were barely noticeable. So now that I haven't been to a class in a month, my mind feels fuzzy and I need some sort of intellectual stimualtion to keep me going.
So guess where I found this exciting and plentiful resource?
Naseeb.com. I kid you not. I've spent the past few days logging in, reading profile after profile, getting salamed and messaged by 30+ year olds who are all out looking for their soulmates. I've update and re-updated my own profile, visited those of all my friends and now am stalking strangers. Well not "stalking" just reading journal and stuff they put up. Hey, it's like checking a blog right?
Sadly, other than my job, I've got nothing to do! I've always had a part-time job and school, so have managed to fill up all the empty hours. But now that school is momentarily out of the picture, and it's just the two part time jobs, I'm starting to crack under the lack of pressure! Maybe I'm just so used to the stress and worrying that I'm actually, in some sick way, addicted to it. I wont hear from any law schools for about 2-3 months so I've got tons of idle time. I want to start some volunteer work, but need something steady to coordinate with my 2 other jobs. Any suggestions would be much appreicated!
Here's my own:
1) Learn to skate - no more being left out of skating! But then I need someone to teach me, so that won't work
2) Write - write what though? And for what? I'm writing this, so maybe that's enough...
3) Read - there's only so much of it I can do
4) Colour code my closet - done...
5) Learn to cook - but what if I burn myself...?!
6) Knit - I think I'm 40 years to early for that...
7) Play with Maaniya - I don't think my 6 year old sister wants a 22 year old playmate....so sad...
8) Bother Maaniya - better idea....
9) Get a third part-time job? - That might not be so bad...money!
10) Think of more ideas - awww...