has always been that messy and exciting hallmark of puberty signifying the possibility of fertility. Today it is but one occurrence in a lifetime of shaming women's bodies, diminishing the natural beauty and power of every female. (Not to mention they want them smelling and looking like daisies in a meadow. Vaginas are not flowers. They are vaginas.)
Comparing how quickly activists came together to form the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements in the '60s, to current sprouting social movements fueled by hashtags like #ICantBreathe, one can observe the exponential amplification value that social media serves in activism today.
With yet another United Nations-hosted climate change conference making very little real progress, a near miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions in Paris next December.
I recently travelled across Canada with David Suzuki Foundation staff, from St. John's to Victoria and up to Yellowknife, joined by friends and allies along the way. To resolve the serious environmental issues we face in Canada and beyond, we need people from across the country and all walks of life to join together to make protecting the people and places we love a priority.
Moving back to London this year and covering stories in this part of the world has reminded of one important historic reality: Western Europe is a political, social and economic miracle. Think about it: A mere seven decades after one of the most deadly and genocidal wars in human history, the mere idea of conflict in this region is unthinkable.
Slowly, but surely, I see my ancestral city die a slow death at the hands of religious fanatics. From Boko Haram in Nigeria, who kidnapped 276 young girls from a school in April 2014, to the TTP, who has repeatedly attacked schoolchildren in Pakistan, the Islamic fundamentalists are systematically attacking schools and students. Their goal is to deprive the future generation of Muslims of education and return them back to the dark ages. It is time for the West to right the wrongs and help save Peshawar from the apocalyptic mercenaries.
Planting coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea for my birthday made my heart felt lighter, life didn't feel so hopeless anymore. I realized humans aren't a horrible heartless species, but hugely resourceful and cooperative when given a chance.
At a recent function, a young woman takes me aside, and complains bitterly about the holidays. She finds them stressful, but not for the reason we might think. She explains that, like thousands across Canada, she had waited for the Status of Women report on eating disorders, and that she was praying that it might offer some hope for 2015, a plan to help struggling families. But these hopes have been dashed. She continued to say that many Canadians are so sick that they need urgent help, and that long wait times, few hospital beds and lack of help in the community are killing people needlessly in our communities.
Children are perhaps the most objective observers of the world around them. They understand the threats to their safety. They see their governments and adults as failing in their responsibility to protect them. They recognize that forced labor and forced marriage deny them the chance for a better life.
South Africa's current electricity shortage is making it nearly impossible to supply households and industries sufficient power. This is not the first time that South Africa has been plunged into darkness -- the 2008 power crisis was equally painful.
It is not just data. Sometimes our definitions fall short. Take, for example, the way we view income and labor. It simply doesn't cover enough of the work that women, and in particular poor women, are doing -- especially in their own households and the vast "informal" economy in which most of the world's poorest people work.
Today, more than ever, I am extremely proud to be Australian. At a time of deep crisis, the people of Sydney have shown me that equality, tolerance and non-violence are not just hipster rhetoric. We stand together as people supporting other people in the most human of ways, and we say #IllRideWithYou.
Over eight-million Canadians currently provide care for chronically ill or disabled friends and family members. If you're a caregiver, you know how demanding it can be. Your role as a caregiver, can greatly interfere with all other aspects of your life. Although you may feel as though your career is being negatively affected, there are ways to keep your career skills sharp.
It is through encouraging girls and young women to test ideas and realize not only the challenges but also the opportunities STEM fields offer in order to be innovative in these fields. How are we going to see such changes take place in Canada?
The fact is that our world was built on massive violations of human rights. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was matched in its brutality by the slave labour of indigenous people in the silver and gold mines of South America -- millions died in the Pitosi mine alone. The first joint-stock corporation, the Dutch East Indies Company, included enslaving of indigenous people in its business model.
While the climate discussions in Lima are focusing on what nation states need to do to reach a binding climate agreement a year from now, what is missing is a discussion about how corporations are not held accountable for the climate damage they cause in developing countries -- damage that those countries are held accountable for.