Justin Trudeau, the recent winner of the Liberal Party nomination in the Quebec riding of Papineau, has become a profound interest of mine lately. According to what I have read on the various .coms, he was thrust into the spotlight after he delivered the eulogy at his father's funeral. A stirring, emotional address, accentuated by dignity and hope.
I also saw a speech delivered by Mr. Trudeau that spoke to the looming environmental crisis, and also to Canada's national and international identity. He spoke to the fact that when a person looks at a crisis and says to themselves, Oh, this is a major problem, but it's too big for me to deal with, they refuse to find within themselves the courage to challenge themselves to try harder and make the difference. He believes in order for Canadian citizens to remain on the high pedestal of democracy, diplomacy, and freedom, we have to make the principles first work for ourselves as individuals, then as a country.
I believe the same thing.
If you want to save the world, you can't just leave it in the hands of someone else. Chances are if you do, there are thousands of other people like you who also sit in front of the five o'clock news and say to themselves, Hmmm... gee, that sounds terrible. Well, I'm sure the government or somebody will come up with a plan of attack for this crisis. It's out of my hands. After all, I'm only one person. What can I do?
You'll have to forgive the excessive amount of cliche in that last paragraph, but it's the truth. If everyone leaves it to someone else, nothing will ever happen.
What will it take to make this crisis important in the minds of Canadians? The lowlands of India flooding? Manhattan sinking underneath a torrent of salt water? Another Ice Age?
Look at history. Britain and Canada didn't declare war on Germany until they invaded Belgium, allowing Hitler to acquire country after country. Then the war didn't stop until the United States dropped a couple of nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bush didn't act until 9/11. The Cold War didn't end until a few years after I was born.
At what cost? 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust. The atomic bombs of the United States killed more than 150 000 people. Around 25,000 American civilians dies in the World Trade Centre. More die in the middle east every day.
Do we want the one billion people of India to become homeless? Do we want to watch our towns and cities be swallowed by the sea? Do we want to endure another Ice Age?
Do you want to throw that receipt in the garbage? Wouldn't you rather toss it into the recycling bin in the other room?
Oh wait, I forgot. I'm just one person. What can I do?