Drought shaming became a popular pastime in California last summer after restrictions, campaigns and written notices failed to curb water usage among residents during a prolonged drought. Here are a few environmentally bad habits we've all observed (perhaps even been guilty of) and tips on how to step in.
In this election we are raising issues that matter to young Canadians. Mental health is a big one. A report by Alberta's Institute of Health Economics states that just seven cents of every dollar spent on health care in Canada goes to mental health. That's despite the fact mental disorders account for 40 per cent of all illnesses Canadians face. Canadian governments must dramatically increase funding, investing in accessible community-based mental health care -- if Canada could reduce the annual rate of mental illnesses by 10 per cent, it would save our health care system four billion dollars a year.
The federal government must invest in solid labour market research and incentives for employers to hire Canadian youth, like grants and tax breaks. Industry has to step up, too, offering co-op education placements and paid internships, as well as career mentorship for young employees. We should closely watch and learn from the European Union. Facing massive underemployment, over the past four years the EU has launched a sweeping youth employment strategy, including better labour market research, apprenticeship and skills training programs, as well as government-business partnerships that are expected to create more jobs.
Simon Kuzents, the economist who developed the GDP measurement, warned it was not a good meter stick for national well-being. Still, that's exactly how the GDP has been used globally since the 1940s. GDP is the total value of all the goods and services a country produces in a year. So, creating jobs and producing equipment to clean up an oil spill, for example, adds to the GDP. As does producing guns and bombs for war. GDP is blind to factors like unemployment, living conditions and environmental degradation. Make sense? Not really. Whether it's genuine progress, national happiness, or a system that blends the best of both, the global community must agree on a more holistic way to measure our nations' progress that doesn't just count the money we make.
The heart-rending image of Alan Kurdi dead in the sand, as though sleeping peacefully, sparked a global mobilization to aid Syrian refugees. But while they number more than four million, Syrians still only represent one-fifth of the almost 20 million refugees in the world today -- the greatest global refugee population since World War II. While Canadians open their homes and wallets to Syrian refugees, here are some of the others we cannot allow to be forgotten.
The bomb blast ignited the hut's roof. Flaming thatch fell into a foxhole full of cowering children. A young brother and sister died horribly, and six more children suffered terrible burns. These children were among the thousands of casualties of a months-long indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Sudanese government carried out in that country's southern Nuba Mountains this past spring -- supposedly to attack rebel guerrillas. We have yet to see a single report in Canadian media about this horror. The shocking absence of this story in our news highlights a worrying trend: the decline of foreign reporting.
In a moment of boredom, two teens in Lanark County, Ont., smash their way into a hardware store and help themselves to the goods. Police nabbed the pair soon after. But instead of going before judge and jury, the teens faced their victims in a citizen-run "restorative justice" forum. It's an approach that's gaining popularity across Canada, showing there's more than one way to be tough on crime.
Many believe entrepreneurial spirit and skills can't be taught. Certainly that was the opinion of one of Craig's MBA professors. "Either you've got it or you don't," he once opined to Craig. We disagree. You can teach entrepreneurship, and you might be surprised how -- through volunteering and being active in social causes.
According to the most recent Canadian census, Canada has more than one million Muslims citizens--they're our country's fastest growing religious population.. Yet sadly, when we searched Canadian news using the keywords "young Muslim," seven of the top 10 articles that came up concerned violence and radicalism.
Access to water is one of the biggest challenges facing the planet today. We have to address the underlying causes, like climate change, overconsumption, waste and pollution. However, that alone won't overcome the problem -- not in time for millions of people in need of fresh water. Fortunately there's some incredible technology emerging to recycle or create new sources of water--dowsing rods for the 21st Century. eventy-one per cent of the world's surface is covered by water. But the vast majority of that is ocean--salt water we can neither drink nor use to irrigate our crops.
Home to 60 per cent of the world's lakes, we are a nation with water at its heart. But some thought leaders say Canadians are losing an awareness of, and passion for, our water resources. It's a connection we need to rekindle for our country to successfully tackle some serious threats to the treasure that is our water supply.
Canada offered asylum to a mere 11,000 of the millions of displaced Syrians. Even then, an Ekos poll in March found that 46 per cent of Canadians still feel Canada is accepting too many immigrants and refugees. A poll last year found 42 per cent believe refugees should not be given the same level of health care as Canadian citizens. We don't understand this hardening attitude. Refugees like Nisreen's family aren't criminals or freeloaders. We are just like them. But for the grace of God we could be them.
Microfinance loans range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the need. They help low-income Canadians start small home-based business, assist new immigrants like Zorya in getting the training they need to practice their profession, and help vulnerable individuals--like women fleeing abusive relationships--get through personal crises. We love the idea that an innovation designed to help developing communities lift themselves out of poverty could also be key to unlocking Canada's entrepreneurial potential.
A national election is months away, but campaigning has already begun. While party leaders talk issues of economy and security, no one is asking the big question: what kind of society do we want? Canada is no longer one of the top five countries for integrating immigrants, a European think-tank announced in May. For decades, we've heard that Canada is a "just society" -- based on equality and freedom for all upheld in laws. We've built our just society, but is Canada becoming a less compassionate one?
Children or adolescents from low-income families, whose parents had lower levels of education, were at higher risk of having less well-developed brains than the individuals from middle- or high-income families with better-educated parents. Interestingly, there was little difference between the brains of high- versus average- income individuals.
This year, Medicine Hat became the first city in Canada to effectively end homelessness. Almost 900 people in this small town of 61,000 have been placed in rent-free apartments or houses. And the benefits are clear: police calls and hospital emergency room visits are down. "You're going to end homelessness? Yeah ok, good one," he recalls thinking. But the society argued that the $20,000 per year cost of housing someone was as much as four times less than the expense of policing and health care when that person lived on the streets.
As Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) releases its final report about the residential school system for aboriginal children we wonder, where is Canada's catharsis? With little media coverage up until the release of the final report, and even less public engagement, Canada has had no such emotionally transformative moment. Canada needs reconciliation. The last residential school only closed in 1996. All aboriginal communities still suffer from their impact
Every day we witness the power of young people to transform their communities and the world. The potential lost when a child is handed an AK-47 instead of a schoolbook or soccer ball is one of the greatest tragedies imaginable. But as governments stop recruiting children, over the past year militias and terror groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, have horrifyingly indoctrinated thousands more. And the way these militias use their children is changing in terrifying ways.
Mabel is one of the elderly participants in an ongoing study at Rush University in Chicago. When she decided to set a goal at 85 years old to write one letter a week, she no longer felt cocooned at home because of her arthritis. Researchers, including psychologist Dr. Patricia Boyle, have discovered that having a purpose in life can actually improve our health.
One year ago, Ebola began its rampage across West Africa, killing thousands in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia. After a year of horror, the disease is finally under control. Restrictions are slowly being lifted. Life should be returning to normal. But will life in West Africa ever be "normal" again?
When Canadian soldiers returned from World War II, local business and community leaders formed committees to ensure vets had jobs and the support they needed to start a new life. It's time to re-examine that idea. Soldiers deserve more than a handshake when their service ends. "Support our Troops" must be more than an empty slogan on a bumper sticker.
As part of a modern-day pen pal project for kids at North Ward Public School in Paris, Ont., students are corresponding with an aid worker and peace activists in Yemen. These young Canadians -- who have never known war first-hand -- now understand the far-off conflict better than their parents and many other adults. And they're bringing solace to people beleaguered by violence.
When we set out in 1995 to end child labour, we stood on a straight road with just two directions to choose from: donate to a charity, or start one. It's incredible how much has changed in the world of "doing good" since then. It's been thrilling to see the growth of social enterprise and corporate citizenship over the last 10 years. Even more thrilling is what these changes will mean for the average consumer over the next decade.
When we help, the patient become the doctor, the student become the teacher, the troubled youth become the counsellor -- when the helped becomes the helper -- the impact multiplies by orders of magnitude. It's the difference between giving youth a seedling to plant, and empowering them to lead their community in growing forest.