A Country without Passion

Yo, it dont make no sense to me
Why fellas dont wanna act sensibly
You better re-check your identity
You better re-check how you speak
Hold Ya Mouf, Dizzee Rascal

It’s hard being a pacifist in Trinidad. Just when you think deep breathing and yoga three times a week is helping you cope, here comes Papa Patos to raise my hippy tree hugger blood pressure.
I read and re-read the reports from Kampala. And I suppose I should feel happy or something that he actually knows that there’s something called climate change. I suppose I should feel undyingly grateful that maybe one day we might actually start doing something about the Kyoto Protocol we’ve signed and all the other international conventions that haven’t made so much as a blip on our national consciousness.
But there is no relief for me that Papa Patos says his government is going to make climate change a priority.
I reason with my few green friends and we all conclude that he’s following a trend. So if everybody else is doing it, well we sure as hell will too.
With such sincerity too, he says that the government is considering the implications.
The same sincerity that he displays for a sickly Health system. The same sincerity for the eradication of poverty. The same sincerity for all the criminal abuse and the terror of rich communities who are targets for frustrated youths and the poor communities who are targets of police brutality.
The ambiguity of the statement is perhaps the most honest and open statement on our government’s policy on global warming, climate change, hell, anything else that is of lasting consequence.
We speak words everyday about what we care about without any kind of action to back it up.
And I feel again like I’m repeating myself, but when are we going to get to the point where we know what’s wrong and are also ready to make the steps to resolution?
I come to terms with the reality that it’s not the government’s fault. Papa Patos is not the one to blame for us not giving a damn about the environment.
And I’m bored to death and fed up of people emailing and calling me and coming up to me in the supermarket and telling me what I should do about this problem.
As if everybody can’t be an activist. As if everybody can’t make a conscious difference in their own head, in their own office, in their own community.
The problem is that there just aren’t enough people who care. The problem is that there are no green anarchists willing to go and chain themselves to buildings. No eco saboteurs and subvertisers. The problem is that if you dare to tell someone on the street not to litter they will probably tell you your family history.
Few graffiti artists and fewer radical artists who are willing to go out of sync with the norms of an abnormal and uncaring society.
We must have it too nice here. Our backsides must just be too happy wallowing in the stench of our filth. The problem is that all of us are complaining about the heat and the traffic, but none of us are willing to ride a bicycle to work. Or share our big empty cars with our neighbours.
So if we don’t care, how do we propose to impress upon Papa Patos that he should care?
And the few who dare are vilified or given a job at the EMA where they change from the concerned to the complacent. The technocrats who shrug their shoulders and say they’re trying.
Who would never want to rock the boat, because that’s not what technocrats do.
There’s no passion for anything here. No passion for life or living and therefore no passion for saving Trinidad and Tobago. From bandits or smelters and the savagery of road rage. Who will save us from these criminalities?
There is nothing that Papa Patos or anyone else in his band of yes men and women, worse yet for the jokey opposition, can say to convince me that they care about changing the direction of Trinidad and Tobago.
And what raises my hippy tree hugger blood pressure even more that Papa Patos’ callous disregard for our environment, is that I don’t know who, if anyone can help the rest of us reach to a point where we are ready to make the necessary changes.

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