How the leaders of the world are failing us

Posted Friday, December 2nd, 2011. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

Some of you are interested in the affairs of the world and want to know what is going on and others just want to know what’s going on in their own lives. We all have issues and concerns to deal with. Sometimes, though, you need to become aware of things that are impacting you, maybe not readily seen today, however being seen and subtly impacting, more and more.

What I am referring to is the Kyoto Protocol. I can no longer sit back and watch the leaders (that’s what they call themselves) of the world behave like feet stamping children. At dinner the other night I was sitting with my older son, Isaac (turning 12 years old) and my boyfriend. I like to sit down and talk about our day, even if this lasts for only 15-20 minutes. Just prior to dinner I received a call from an irate friend who told me she is so angry that Canada may pull out of the Kyoto Protocol and take other countries with it. She goes on to say that no one cares about this earth and we always wait until a big catastrophe to respond. She is right. I said, rather than complaining to me DO something. Start a movement! She had to go and of course I am now feeling the remnants of this conversation. So when I sat at dinner and was talking to Isaac about life, school, I turned to him and said that I want you to know that you and Alec and all of your friends are inheriting a crappy earth from us. We are ruining your earth and not doing anything about it. I am not sure if you will have clean running water to drink, clean air to breathe, green land to grow food and so on. He asked me why? I explained a little about the Kyoto Protocol and all these countries came together to set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He did not look happy and said what can we do. I challenged him to send a petition around to his friends and have them pass it on to other friends, in other schools and begin reaching all the kids in Vaughan and York region. Together, I said, you can create a voice, let the “leaders” know you are mad and want change. So he did. Here is the petition that my son, Isaac, sent around to his friends. I too sent it to hundreds of people I know.

Isaac Finkelstein’s Petition:

THEY’RE RUINING OUR WORLD!!!

ok guys im starting a petition to save our world, starting with canada. did you know that canada is considering dropping out of the kyoto agreement and influencing other countries to do the same!! that’s the agreement to lower greenhouse emissions in the world and stop climate change. do you care? say we dont do anything about this, in less that a decade you will be seeing even more dramatic weather changes, example: floods/tsunamies that can wipe out cities and maybe even countries, frequent tornados/hurricanes. if you dont care no one will. we are the future voters and leaders of canada, but we can have a voice now. do we really want us and our families living in a destructive environment. i hope everybody else will care as much as i do. send this around to everyone you know and have them sign their first name and school or work. please dont comment unless you’re adding to the petition.

I received so many people who signed this petition and agree with him. I also received a call from a close friend, Mary, and her boyfriend, Gerry who brought to my attention that Canada has some concerns over the Kyoto Protocol and does not want to commit to the second leg, starting in 2012. I thanked them, for I do know there are always two sides. Isaac also sent this to his principal and she asked if he will join the eco team and put something together to present to them and then the school. Feeling a little bad because I have now committed my son to a new task, I said I will help him. Last night I spent 1 1/2 hours researching the Kyoto Protocol and read some of the more recent articles about this topic. When I was finished I was even more mad that the supposed leaders of this world are failing us, and our children.

I decided to take all of this new found knowledge and write a letter to my boys, Isaac and Alec, and let them know what exactly is going on. I hope this inspires them to lead and get others to lead in this fight to save their world.

Dear Isaac and Alec,

It is with sadness and anger that I write this letter to you to tell you that the leaders of Canada, both present and past, have let you down and failed you. In 1997, before I was even married, and you were born, Canada along with 36 other countries committed itself to being part of a group that agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This agreement is known as the Kyoto Protocol and was adopted in Dec. 1997, Kyotoy, Japan, implemented in Marrakesh in 2001 and entered into force on Feb. 16, 2005.

Canada agreed to reduce our GHG by 5% to bring us to 1990 levels. This would be done over a 5 year period between 2008 and 2012. All the countries at the time agreed that it was the developed countries, the HAVE countries (Canada, Japan, Europe, eastern Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland and so on) that were bigger contributors and primarily responsible for the high levels of GHG. It is due to the result of 150 years of industrialized activity – mining, coal, gasoline and wood burning.

With everyone committing, the goal was to truly put our attention to global emission reduction.

In the Kyoto Protocol agreement they asked for each country, known as Parties, to be accountable and responsible. This would be done through various measures- every year Canada and the other countries had to register in an international log book their GHG levels, show we are meeting our commitments, show if we are helping other countries meet theirs, develop and create programs that would help reduce GHG in Canada and abroad, and of course, help those countries who are not as well equipped as us, to deal with the adverse effects of climate change – floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and so on. They even put a fund together to help give money to these programs.

Sounds good so far, right. The first phase is to finish in 2012 and the countries are meeting once again in Durban, South Africa, to talk about the next leg of commitment. Well, how did we do in the first round?? I cannot speak for other countries, but what I can say about Canada is that we failed to meet our commitment. Not only have we not reduced our GHG, we have increased it by anywhere from 17% to 30% – (depending on what article I read). Climate change continues to be a huge problem. Of course, Canada is not the only one to fail, so many of the largest contributors of GHG, with the largest populations (US, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and China) are doing nothing to prevent global warming and reduce their GHG and will not be part of the new accord.

Isaac and Alec, some people out there say that there is no science behind global warming and climate change. Here is the truth, the global temperature has been rising consistently at an alarming rate and as we’ve talked about there is more ice melting in the Arctic, more devastating weather catastrophes being seen around the world and it is predicted that the global temperature will rise more than 2% by the end of the century. At this point I will be dead and you will have your own families. What does this mean? Some scientists say this is a tipping point for climate and the planet will not reduce its temperature for perhaps another 1000 years. This increase in temperature is creating real problems in the Arctic. Not only is the ice melting, the ground is melting as well and shorelines are changing. Buildings and pipelines are sinking, trees are leaning at odd angels and animals and plants that have been frozen for 1000s of years are thawing out. The decay of this organic matter (you learned this in school!) is causing an increase in methane release – which is one of the six GHG we are trying to reduce.

Since Canada wasn’t going to meet its target of reducing GHG below 1990 levels, it then said it will reduce GHG to 2000 levels by 2020. How are we going to do this when we are considering pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. Do we have another plan of action? I took a greater look into this. Why would Canada want to pull out of Kyoto? It turns out that in the Kyoto Protocol there are the Have/wealthier countries, like Canada, and the Have NOT/poorer countries. These are countries which they consider to be less developed and not as wealthy, sometimes called the emerging countries. This includes China, India, Brazil and Russia. Some of these countries are not in the original Kyoto agreement and today they need to be. Even the United States, our biggest trading partner, does not want to be part of it. These are countries with huge populations of over 100 million. Canada does not even come close. Canada’s leader tells the Kyoto Protocol that these countries are some of the biggest contributors to GHG, have the largest populations and are wealthy. China is today, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, also one of the largest. They have increased their GHG levels 180% since 1990 yet they refuse to be part of the Kyoto agreement because China says that it wants to see more of the developed countries, like Canada, act first and honour their commitment.

This is where I get angry. Isaac and Alec there are leaders who hold position of power and then there are those who lead and inspire us. What we have in this world right now is the leader of power, the one full of ego and manipulation and greed. These are NOT leaders who inspire us. These men and women, who say they represent the best interest of our people and country, sit there and like children point fingers, blame, take no accountability and responsibility. Rather than coming together, evaluating what part of the original Kyoto Protocol worked (if anything), how can they make changes and bring in the countries which were not part of the original agreement yet are some of the biggest contributors, to join hands and work together in a collaborative way to make this world cleaner, healthier and safer for our children and their children, instead, they “stamp their feet” and say I’m not going to do this. Alec what happens when you decide to not do your art work or a writing assignment – I get a call from the teacher saying that you are not listening and behaving. You are 9 years old. Here we have grown men and women who cannot put their egos aside and come together for the best interest of the world.

You will hear that the environment is not really such a big issue, we need to put more attention to jobs and growing the economy – make sure we have money to pay for things. Your question needs to be, why can we not do both? What does one have to do with the other? You do have a voice and you, all the children, need to make those adults who make our decisions listen – they work for you and I. Canada doesn’t want to be a part of the next round of the Kyoto agreement then what is it going to do instead? How is it going to reduce GHG? We don’t want to hear any more lies and lip service – How are we going to stop our excessive use of fossil fuels, over fishing and extreme deforestation? Do our leaders have the guts to stand up to the oil and gas companies and start to give money to people and companies that are willing and capable of designing and creating alternative sources of energy like solar and nuclear power? Will you demand that we stop burning gasoline, coal and wood which contributes to GHG?

This letter comes from love and I hope that I have inspired you to action. You are the future leaders and perhaps it will be up to you and all the children of the world to show the adults how it is done – collaboration, compassion, concern for all peoples – and develope the alternative sources that we need so desperately in our world.

For now, keep asking questions, demand answers and action that is accountable and measurable. The leadership groups that have been formed to date are ineffective and mean nothing because the leaders of the countries, including our own, sign agreements with no intention of keeping them. Do not learn from this rather, you be the leaders who inspire, walk your talk, be authentic, be accountable and responsible and you can bring about the changes you want to see in this world.

I love you,

mom
xo

For those reading this I hope I have given you food for thought. Some of you will agree and others will disagree. I am ok with both. We need to begin to make changes, work together and put aside our differences for the greater good of all people. I want my children to have a green world, that is safe to exist in.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

With all my love,

Sandra

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