On this Earth Day, Canada is proud to re-establish its support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. It is key to our commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
We want to help affected communities develop resilience in the face of the effects of climate change.
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In late 2016 when the rains failed, a severe drought hit the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, affecting over 2.7 million people. Marsabit is one of the hardest hit counties, where thousands of children are food insecure and in dire need of treatment for severe malnutrition.
Access to water and toilets is transformative. It opens doors to education, health, nutrition and to a better livelihood. Access to water and toilets offers women and girls so many more opportunities to contribute their fullest to their communities.
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Khadija and her fellow villagers are among the five million people - nearly two out of every five Somalis - facing food shortages exacerbated as a result of the ongoing drought. Failed crops and the loss of livestock are causing widespread misery, malnutrition and disease.
The need for support is urgent and helping children survive is our main concern. Canada has played a leadership role in international development and Canadians have always been known to provide relief in humanitarian crises.
The climate phenomenon has left us with not only a trail of destruction so vast that more than one million children will need treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year, but also a taste of what could be to come with its stormy sister, La Niña.
I was fortunate to have a happy, healthy childhood. I had nutritious food, a comfortable home, and an endless supply of clean water. But on World Health Day April 7, I think of children whose experiences couldn't be more different than mine.
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"If climate change is a shark, then water is its teeth." Like a fish that doesn't notice the shark until it feels its sharp bite, humans will first feel the effects of climate change through water. Under current projections, most freshwater ecosystems globally will face ecologically significant impacts by the middle of this century.
When Craig visited Dadaab, Kenya, four years ago and met Ali, he witnessed hundreds of families lined along the road to the world's largest refugee camp. Most weren't fleeing violence, they were fleeing the weather. As climate change advances, disasters like the drought that ravaged East Africa in 2011 are becoming more frequent and severe.
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The push to make Alberta’s cattle ranges drought-resistant.
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It has become clear that climate change will disproportionately impact the world's most vulnerable because they are heavily dependent on resources that will be affected by climatic change. Whether by virtue of socio-economic status, conflict, gender or geography, certain groups are more liable than others to be negatively impacted by climate change, which directly implicates the question of human rights. How will this differentially influence people's lives, living conditions and livelihoods, and who are the most vulnerable?
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It is bad enough that the government allows multinational companies to privatize a public resource, it is even worse that taxpayers are being hosed by charging so little for it. Several industries get a total free ride when it comes to taking our water. Those who do pay for taking water are charged a paltry $3.71 per million litres used. This is not a typo.
When we compare the water footprint of soy milk and cow's milk, we find that the water production footprint of one litre of cow's milk is more than three times that of soy milk. Replacing cow's milk with soy milk would not only be a good thing for water preservation, it's also a wise choice to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The fact that it passed entirely without notice reaffirms just how lucky we are to live in this blessed land of plenty. But perhaps it's a good occasion to reflect upon the importance of food in our tumultuous, changing world.