Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2014 Contents B8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, December 25, 2014
The weather outside is not frightful. There s no
delightful fire roaring, no coal burning in the
hearth, no chimney sweeps chim-chim-cher-
oo ing up above the rooftops of London.
It s warm for December. A blessing of climate
change? Not really: an unseasonably warm Christ-
mas may give way to another freezing February
and an overcast, chilly, rainy June. It s no longer
The Lima climate change agreement on December
14 is the best Christmas present to the planet we
could wish for, and will mean even more to countries
like T&T than to the UK.
Whether or not the agreement by all countries
(including developing nations) to cut carbon emis-
sions and limit the world s temperature to 2C above
pre-industrial levels goes far enough remains to be
In March 2015, another UN environment summit
in Paris will wrap up the finer points of the deal.
India, Indonesia, China, Brazil and smaller, rapidly
industrialising nations like T&T might feel a sense
of injustice as the world s superpowers light the
path towards greener industry, having expelled
enough carbon in the past two centuries to mod-
ernise their agricultural societies into heavy infra-
structure and technology.
It s a bit like if George Bovell lined up in an
Olympic final and the British and American com-
petitors say, "Hold on, George, we get a head start,
we ll tell you when to go." Then, having taken the
gold, they dive back into the water and held Bovell s
ankles to impede his progress.
It s not fair, but the world isn t being treated
fairly and to give this planet a chance of seeing a
million more Christmas Days, the world must act
as one body on the environment.
Waiting outside St Paul s Cathedral for the Christ-
mas Eve carol service, the sun shines brightly and
our concerns aren t carbon footprints but cups of
mulled wine and how best to persuade my 86-
year-old nan (who has Alzheimer s) not to sing
during the choirboy s solo for Once In Royal David s
She loves singing, my nan. My mother, who has
cared for her for the past few years while fighting
her own serious illness, found a singing group for
elderly people with dementia. My nan, having lost
her marbles, has found her voice. She sings like
she s back in her school-choir.
It s amazing that she can t remember what she
had for lunch five minutes ago but can remember
songs written in 1942.
Now she s started singing again, it s difficult to
shut her up! In place of rational conversation, she
bursts into song at any given moment. It s sweet
and slightly embarrassing. Her wonderful voice
turns people s heads. You don t expect a Vera Lynn-
style voice singing There ll Be Bluebirds Over The
White Cliffs Of Dover on a British high street in
2014. Who knows what year it is in my nan s head.
Who cares, as long as she knows we won the war!
It s rare to see people with dementia out in public.
Families often keep elderly relatives out of sight.
It s testament to my mother s determination, judg-
ment and love that she has retained a level of inde-
pendence for my nan. The past two years would
have seen most people give up and put her in a
care home where she would feel like a prisoner.
Thanks to the home visits and supervised cooking
of meals she still lives in her own flat and walks
into town twice a day to shop.
I m glad I talked with my nan a lot when I was
growing up. It s not that I gained knowledge per
se but I acquired valuable understanding of gen-
erational attitudes towards society.
She s always been convinced that the "good old
days" were better.
"Aren t people wicked, today?" is a favourite
Gifts to the planet
catchphrase of hers. The innocence
and friendliness she remembers from
her younger years may well be a fantasy
given that the war, the Holocaust, the
bombings of Coventry and Dresden,
the camps at Belsen and Auschwitz,
the death, the senseless horror all hap-
pened back then.
I believe humanity is on a forward
march and that we achieve more civil-
isation, unity and love with each passing
year. Economic recessions, disease and
wickedness in the name of religion have
stained recent times but 2014 was not
simply the horror show of barbaric evil
the tabloid press would have us believe:
good people did good things too.
Remembering our humanity in the
face of adversity is the key. Remember
what we were taught and know to be
true about love and respect and we
might just be okay.
Remembering our humanity in the face of
adversity is the key. Remember what we
were taught and know to be true about
love and respect and we might just be okay.
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