I’m on a newsfast these days. What happens in the world upsets me beyond measure. I do check the headlines of The Toronto Star every day and read (some of) The New York Times on Sundays, but I am no longer well-informed. And I never watch the news on TV.

The faces of the poor, sick and maimed haunt me. The images of mayhem and death seem permanently lodged in my mind’s eye. The incandescent rage at leaders who do not lead, who are concerned only with re-election and the special interests of their rich cronies, instead of creating a liveable future for us all, threatens to overwhelm me when I am too aware of the news. The disgust at a media which has become not about sober analysis (and exposure) of world events, but ratings, access, sycophantic arse-kissing and blatant bias reduces me to sputtering incoherency every time I turn on the TV (with the sole and occasional exception of the CBC).

And now the G8 are meeting in Edinburgh, staying in a beautiful castle, barricaded and isolated from the very people who gave them their power. From their comfy perch above us all, they are already now, before the meeting, preparing us for what will not be accomplished, what will not be acted upon. It takes time to end poverty, they say, and dealing with climate change is complicated. While they wank their way through expensive dinners with good wine, a continent is dying, every year in the arctic the ice melts earlier and the West continues to treat the planet as their very own inexhaustible resource.

When will we hold our leaders accountable? When will we force them to take care of humanity’s future, not just our own immediate comfort?