I went to see the film Trash last night at my local arts cinema, a couple of months after it was first released. Trash follows the lives of 3 trash picking boys in the slums of Rio and only had a limited release in general cinemas. But what a great movie for showing what life is like for the millions of people around the world who make their living scavenging on rubbish dumps. Produced by Stephen Daldry who brought us Billy Elliott and scripted by Richard Curtis who brought us Comic Relief you would expect the film to combine great acting with tackling poverty. The fact that Trash is also a realistic action movie which shows the violence and intimidation too often dished out to the world’s poor makes it a film which stands apart from others in the same vein like Slumdog Millionaire. But why haven’t the many different international charities who work with trash pickers used it to promote their work? Or have I missed it? When I worked at Practical Action we did some fantastic work with waste pickers in Nepal. I know a lot of other charities do similar work. Still time for them to arrange charity screenings for their members before it is released on DVD?
The fact that international negotiators at the climate change negotiations in Lima have agreed that for the first time all countries should contribute to cutting greenhouse gases is a step forward for the beleaguered United Nations talks. While the ‘Lima call for climate action’ has put off many of the most difficult decisions until the crucial talks in Paris in 2015, the fact that all countries will now be required to contribute regardless of size or wealth removes one of the barriers to a climate deal. But to ‘seal the deal’ in 2015 international NGOs now need to use people power to move governments like they did with the recent climate march in New York.
Predictably most of the NGOs attending were critical of what was achieved but tried to put a brave face on it. “It’s definitely watered down from what we expected,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The countdown clock to Paris is now ticking. Countries had the chance to give themselves a head start on the road to Paris but instead have missed the gun and now need to play catch up,” said Mohammed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate change advisor.
My old school Lampton in Hounslow was in the news yesterday after it was visited by the Rugby World Cup Winner Lawrence Dallaglio to mark one year to the countdown of the Rugby World Cup. It reminded me that I had also visited the school but 30 years on to write an article for the Guardian on the changing face of Britain’s schools.
The racist graffiti proclaiming “Pakis Out” and “National Front” has long been airbrushed into history, but as I walk along the lane to my old school, Lampton comprehensive in Hounslow, west London, the memories come flooding back. The year is 1978 and I am a streetwise 12-year-old again, with a mop of bright red hair and dressed in a blazer two sizes too large that my mother insists I will grow into. In my satchel is my most precious possession: a record, Rat Trap, by the Boomtown Rats. By the end of my first week , the record has been shattered into a thousand pieces by a skinhead who hates “ginger nuts”, along with any illusions I had that Lampton was going to be a happy experience. READ MORE
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