Free the Children

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We Shouldn't Be Filling Up Our Landfills With Clothing

A staggering 85 per cent of our collective apparel ends up in a landfill -- that's over 10.5 million tons of clothing, according to the popular second-hand store Value Village. In a single year, Canada produces enough textile waste -- clothing and other goods like upholstery -- to create a mountain three times the size of Toronto's Rogers Centre stadium. Reduce, reuse and recycle has become the mantra of socially conscious consumers. Now we need to extend that philosophy to our old accoutrements.
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Paul Martin Talks About Reconnecting With Aboriginal People

Hitch hiking across Canada as a teen, Paul Martin took a summer job as a deckhand on a tug boat in Canada's far north, toiling elbow-to-elbow alongside Dene First Nation, Inuit and Métis crew. When the work was done, he'd talk with them late into the night. His mates were friendly and smart, but the young Martin saw a sense of hopelessness in them. Most had been crushed by years in residential schools.
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Having The Freedom To Make Choices Can Empower Lives

Whether it's an impoverished family a world away in rural India, or a person you see living on the streets, people in need often feel like their lack of choice means they have no say in their lives. Recognizing the importance of having options, some charitable and community groups across North America are giving the most vulnerable a say in the aid -- and little comforts -- they receive, and discovering it can have almost as much impact as the hand up itself.
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Homeless Families Are Trapped In A Bureaucratic Nightmare

The experts who work in the trenches with Canada's homeless tell us, routinely, vulnerable individuals complete reams of paperwork and attend meetings with as many as five different government agencies and non-profit organizations. Often, the only outcome is severe stress for already devastated families. Provinces need to work with non-profits to adopt a "one family, one file" approach -- creating a single intake form and database. When a homeless family first approaches any agency -- be it for social assistance, child welfare, or a homeless group -- a single electronic file would be started for all necessary information.
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Canada Needs To Stem The Tide Of 'Stolen' Aboriginal Children

Almost half of Canadian children in foster care are aboriginal, even though indigenous people make up less than five per cent of the population, according to the most recent statistics in the 2011 Census. What's particularly gut-wrenching is the majority of aboriginal children are placed in care, not because of parental abuse, but because their families are poor. Now it's time to invest in progressive initiatives, like the Circle of Care, that keep families together.
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Canada's No-Fly List May Erode Security Rather Than Enhance It

Ill-conceived measures, like the no-fly list must be made smarter so they do not target the innocent. Otherwise, they have the ironic potential to actually erode our national security by alienating those they single out and stigmatize. But the way the no-fly list works, with a total lack of transparency and overwhelmingly targeting just one group -- Muslims -- feelings of alienation and powerlessness are exactly what the no-fly list is causing.
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6 Eco-Friendly Inventions That Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Our world doesn't look much like the ones envisioned in sci-fi flicks like Star Trek or Back to the Future, let alone the latest installment of Star Wars. Kids aren't buzzing around on flying skateboards, and we aren't dueling with light sabers. But who needs movies when real-world innovations are way cooler -- especially the ones poised to radically transform humanity's eco footprint.
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How One Canadian College Is Building Better Health In Tanzania

Over the past 15 years, Tanzania has made a concerted effort to immunize its children -- and has achieved a remarkable vaccination rate of almost 90 per cent. That's not good enough for the government and health organizations, though. They want to get as close to 100 per cent as possible. But figuring out which children have been missed is a huge challenge in a country where many families still live nomadic lives in remote areas. Enter Seattle health organization PATH and Canada's own Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ont. They're helping out, not with more vaccines or nurses, but a database.