There are a group of people often overlooked in the fight against climate change and they can be one of our greatest allies as we figure out how to limit the damage from extreme weather, rising seas and threats to food security. They are the millions of indigenous people who live in the world's remaining forests. Often overlooked, ignored, marginalized and attacked, they stand at the heart of a global solution on climate change that all of us, whether we live in big cities or remote villages, can benefit from.
Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth like to frame the energy-discussion as if it only has a few very simple dimensions. Theirs is a very simple narrative of environmental protection versus corporate profits. What they don't want to discuss is the reality that right now 2.5 billion human beings are living impoverished lives because they have insufficient access to energy.
South Sudan, the world's youngest country, did not mark its third anniversary on July 9 by celebrating, but by struggling to survive what the United Nations (UN) recently described as one of the gravest humanitarian and political crises in the world's history. The question that begs to be asked is will the Canadian Government now provide a second round of humanitarian funding? Thousands of children are at risk of dying this year.
This week, Canadians observed the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. For Sikh Canadians and Jewish Canadians alike, the Day of Remembrance has particular resonance. That our two communities have shared experience in facing terrorism was pointedly on display during the 2008 Mumbai attack.
The clock began ticking April 14, when the 276 girls were abducted from their dormitories. Two months have now passed, and 219 girls remain missing. The more time passes the greater the risk, including the girls being sold into marriage or engaged in the worst forms of child labor, sexual exploitation and violence and recruitment into armed groups.
It has been over four weeks since the abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls and the world's attention on Nigeria has gradually faded. The placards have disappeared, government heads have played their role in once again pledging their "assistance" to Africa and mainstream media have done their part in disseminating selective pieces to a much bigger picture.
#BringBackOurGirls was a massively popular way of protesting in part because it was so simple. Most major celebrities, politicians and even conservative political pundits participated. It was all an impressive display that sadly overlooked the real solutions to dilemmas like the Nigerian kidnappings.
Will Canada support the organization and monitoring of fair and free elections that will take place in one year? CAR must not become another Rwanda. As the Government considers what action to take, it must remember that what we do now or fail to do will have an impact on CAR society for years to come, and we will be judged on how we choose to act.
Will the Government of Canada support the threatened peace talks in Addis Ababa by offering mediators to the warring parties and other stakeholders? Will it support civil society coalitions, which are working for reconciliation inside South Sudan? If the violence does not stop, South Sudan could slip further into ethnic conflict.
A total of 2.3-million children are at risk of becoming victims of attacks, and there are more than 6,000 child soldiers in CAR, many of whom are forced to commit atrocities. And sexual violence against girls is increasing. These attacks against children have reached appalling, indefensible levels. Surely Canada can, and must, do more beyond this week's announcement of an additional $5 million.
The United Nations ranks the Central African Republic a level three emergency, among the top three humanitarian emergencies globally. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are concerned about the lack of awareness of this crisis. What can the government do to raise awareness of the crisis in the international community and at home in Canada?
Since its inception in 1993, Lunapads' business philosophy has been firmly grounded in the belief that capitalism can in fact be a powerful force for positive social change. In the early days people not only thought our products -- reusable feminine hygiene products -- were a bit odd; some even found them off-putting: not exactly a "marketer's dream."
The recent troubles in the south that sprung up only a month ago, and the instability that has resulted, has pressed that African region to the precipice. But just this week, the Harper government, through its Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has recommended, "that Canada consider downgrading its development program (in Sudan), or exiting entirely."
There is a new optimism associated with Africa these days. The phrase "Africa Rising" is showing up with regular frequency in media reports within the continent and beyond, and instead of a steady diet of African despair and failure, we are finally hearing about African innovation and success. Perhaps it is finally Africa's turn, and we at the Canadian Co-operative Association will have front row seats for a long-overdue African renaissance.
If you knew that [Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front] were coming, or if you even heard a rumour that the RUF were on their way, knowing that they cut the hands and feet off babies, you wouldn't hang around very long. And it worked -- it was very successful. It helped them clear the diamond fields, and they could dig diamonds to their heart's content. There are 1.5-million artisanal diamond diggers in Africa -- they produce about 16 per cent of the world's diamonds. So there's a good chance that 16 per cent of the diamonds in any store are part of that problem.
It is incredible to see how people with disabilities are being included and advocated for now, compared to how they have been treated and excluded in the past. The work is not done yet; there are still many ways to improve the quality of life and opportunities available for people with disabilities in Ethiopia.
Over the past several years, hundreds of Kenyan girls have gone to the police in the town of Meru to report that they had been raped. The officers responded with disbelief and refused to take action. In May 2013, the girls won a striking victory. In a landmark decision, the court ordered the police to enforce the rape laws and take action against the perpetrators.
The tragedy in Nigeria is less about the oil itself than it is about failed governance. Without radical improvements in public policy, Nigeria will continue to be a poor destination for investment. That's bad for everyone. But don't blame the petroleum for the problems there -- blame the public policy.
It was around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday this past June that a close friend and wildlife enthusiast, Mohan was driving me down the winding hills of Ooty -- a hill station in southern India. Suddenly, there was a distress call from a forest warden desperately trying to save an elephant. It had slipped and fallen into a two-metre deep trench.