Cities are more important than ever in efforts to address climate change. By 2050 global city populations are expected to almost double in size, but urban areas already account for nearly 75 per cent of total carbon emissions. Cities all around the planet have the opportunity to transition "from grey to green."
Canada is a wonderful, unique country. I came here as a musician and a stereotypical tea drinking, Marmite enjoying Brit to live, work and study for a masters degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I was immediately struck with the country's immeasurable beauty, vastness and diversity, but I was even more struck with how culturally different it was to my country.
If our social media profiles can tint in support of Paris, Belgium, and Orlando, then why not change for Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq? Innocent lives taken in Turkey airport, and no vigils, or landmarks, but when an attack of similar degree took place in Brussels we did all of the above. I'm often asked why Muslims don't speak out enough, but perhaps this is something we all need to work on.
Many observers did not expect it. Former British prime ministers, academics and other experts warned about the negative consequences of a vote for Brexit, but nonetheless a majority of the voting public ignored this advice. While it is too soon to fully judge the implications of this vote, it does not bode well for Britain.
Is it too much to ask in the 21st century to self-identify based on the beliefs you hold so dearly? After all, who has the right to tell me who I am and who I'm not? Apparently the Pakistani government does, who have declared the Ahmadiyya community "infidel" and non-Muslim since the infamous ruling in 1974.
When I tell people about picking up my life and moving abroad permanently I am often greeted with a similar response: something along the lines of "you're so brave" or "I could never do that." While leaving Canada, where I was born and raised, and moving to England on my own was certainly a daunting prospect, I don't consider myself brave.
"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere." These words of Martin Luther King Jr. accurately describe the world crisis we live in today. To avoid war and attacks as such, all nations must come together for the greater good and unite in their efforts to stop all forms of cruelty, persecution and injustice perpetrated in the name of religion or else wise.
2016 is a critical year for Syria, 15 March will mark the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war. It is in all our interests, but especially the people of Syria, that 2016 is the year when we see a turning-point in this crisis. The UK will continue to play a leading role in international efforts to end the suffering of Syrians.
Why aren't more Muslims living in the West actively speaking out against a series of terror acts inspired by Islamic State ideology? Are the press releases against such acts released by traditional Islamic centres enough to show our solidarity with our neighbours? These are the questions in my mind.
Here in Canada, where more than 81 per cent of us now live in urban centres, the challenge is how to create successful communities that are safe, healthy and sustainable. Jobs are of course central, but so too is making cities affordable for the majority. In Greater Vancouver, the average house price now exceeds $801,000, a rise of 83 per cent in the past decade.