Barcroft Media via Getty Images
asiseeit via Getty Images
Canadians need to understand that wildlife trafficking isn't confined to faraway jungles.
Traditions are an important part of family life. Research shows maintaining customs makes families stronger and more stable, and gives children a feeling of comfort and security. But I don't simply want to build traditions for traditions' sake. I want to think about how I can use these family rituals to fulfill my pledge to live WE, to make a difference with my actions every day. Here are some ideas to start a tradition that gives back -- from my family to yours.
We Day makes the case that Indigenous issues should matter to the youngest Canadians.
"Now, for both girls and boys, instead of going to the bush to take care of animals, we are going to school."
Free the Children
On Thursday October 1st the Air Canada Centre was transformed into a gigantic classroom with over 20,000 students to host the educational field trip of a lifetime: We Day. The brainchild of Free the C...
One day, when anti-child labour activist Iqbal Masih was riding his bike in his hometown, he was shot and killed. Iqbal was 12 when he died. The same age Free the Children's Craig Kielburger was at the time. The same age I am now.
Grant Faint via Getty Images
For many developing communities, like those in South Sudan animals are walking bank accounts, dowries and life insurance policies. To lose your livestock is to lose everything. Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) tackles a problem many don't even realize exists.
Kimberlee Reimer via Getty Images
The black and white photo is an almost cliché depiction of simpler, happier times. Two young boys, dressed up in Roy Rogers-esque cowboy duds. Ironically, both cowboys are actually Indians.
Since 1989, thousands of Canadian officers have volunteered in the world's most dangerous countries to train police. It's one of Canada's least recognized international development initiatives and, as Terry Gould puts it, "the last vestige of Canada's blue-helmet heritage."
We're winning the fight against HIV/AIDS, but we can't be complacent. There's still work to be done. For instance, more than 21 million people don't have access to the treatments that can lengthen and improve their lives--largely because an estimated 19 million are unaware they have HIV at all.
VolNa69 via Getty Images
For the people of Bhopal, the disaster never ended. They still suffer from water contamination, respiratory illnesses, and higher rates of infant mortality and birth defects. They've waged one court fight after another for more compensation. Thirty years ago the world failed to protect Bhopal. We owe it to them, and all developing communities, to enshrine corporate responsibility in national and international law.
Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick
One day, one Grade 9 boy was mercilessly teased for wearing a pink shirt -- the next day, encouraged by seniors Price and Shepherd on social media, 800 schoolmates showed up in a sea of pink to express their solidarity. Today, Pink Shirt Days are held in schools across 13 countries by students who want to show they won't tolerate bullying.
From pollution to poverty, social enterprises like the Plastic Bank are discovering new solutions to old problems. And Canadian entrepreneur David Katz shows us the key to successful social enterprises lies in changing the way we think, finding the value in people and things everyone else tosses aside.
roobcio via Getty Images
In ancient Greek mythology, King Sisyphus was cursed for an eternity to heave a massive boulder up a steep hill, only to watch the rock roll back down again and again when he nears the top. Compared to the struggles of women everywhere for equality and respect, you could say Sisyphus had it soft. At the current rate of progress it will take at least 81 years for women globally to achieve global equality in key areas, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Meanwhile, from the studios of the CBC to the streets of New York, recent stories of harassment and violence against women abound.
With our health care system, diabetes is more easily managed in Canada. But in a developing community, most can't afford a computerized glucometer. So diabetes goes largely untreated, leading to critical complications like blindness, heart disease and kidney failure. Diabetes claims 3.4 million lives every year.
The entire school in Ayr, Scotland, vibrated with anticipation. The lunchroom sounded more like a debate hall than a cafeteria. Kirsty McCahill watched the clock tick down to the closing bell. She rushed home, then to the nearby community centre to do what no Scottish 16-year-old had ever done before that day: vote on the future of her country.
So many young Canadians are looking to make their mark on the world. Some pick up a shovel to build a school or a ladle in soup kitchens to serve the homeless. A small number choose a different way, traveling to Syria to pick up an AK-47. Where does the road diverge between the youth who choose the path of helping and those on the path of harm? And for those on the road toward extremism, are there points along their journey where they might be set on a positive path?
Like a decade ago, the goal is to end the Ebola crisis and allow a nation to begin its recovery. The next step will be to re-open schools shuttered by chaos and fear, allowing the next generation of health practitioners to be educated. But success will only be achieved -- and the next crisis averted before it begins -- if we all follow the example of those Canadian children who refused to ship out of Sierra Leone until the job was done.
White Packert via Getty Images
In the dead of winter, minus 40 degree winds whistled through gaps around doors and windows of the decrepit portables that made up the entirety of their school. Until this month, that was life in elementary school in Attawapiskat. After a 14-year wait, children in the remote northern Ontario First Nations community have a real school again.
Irony -- when Canada's Minister of State for Multiculturalism is the victim of a racial slur. Minister Tim Uppal and his family walked into an Edmonton tennis club this past week and overheard a woman express disgust that the Sikh-Canadian family was allowed membership. She went on to suggest that Uppal was probably unemployed. It was an ugly reminder that Canada may be the land of multiculturalism, but we are not immune to racism.
No more hockey. No more swimming lessons. For 15,000 Thunder Bay families living in poverty, the proposed funding cuts in 2005 meant the end of the only affordable sports and recreation programs available to their children. The council debate was rancorous. The motion looked ready to pass. Then one councillor rose to remind his colleagues of their promise to the city's young: the Children's Charter.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
In the small First Nations community of Moricetown, in central B.C., teens haunt the convenience stores and gas bars, their lives adrift. Locals call them "phantoms." Cain Michell, then 14, was one of them. His life changed when Moricetown teachers Tom and Lorna Butz came knocking in 2012,
Clemantine Wamariya went years without taking a shower. Living with the filth and stench was still preferable to risking rape in a refugee camp bathroom. It would be six more years before she again had a home not constructed out of blue and white United Nations tarps, and several more years before she became a Yale University grad and activist for displaced peoples. Wamariya's incredible success story is a testament to what refugees can achieve when every day is not just a fight for survival.
Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick
Although she attended primary school, Daisy's family couldn't afford the fees to send her to high school. But when Barengetuny was 19, development workers began travelling from village to village by motorcycle, including her community of Motony, introducing women to the micro-finance "merry-go-round." Now she's an established businesswoman.
Roger Eritja via Getty Images
What astounds us is that, despite everything he saw and endured during the apartheid years, Tutu remains one of the most joyful human beings we know. A laugh is never far from his lips. When music plays, he is the first on his feet dancing. We can only attribute this to his mastery of the art of forgiveness. Tutu's soul remains unburdened by anger and vindictiveness.
Yasser Chalid via Getty Images
Mosquito-borne diseases kill 725,000 people a year -- including one child in Africa every minute from malaria alone -- making the seemingly innocuous bugs responsible for more human deaths than every other creature combined.
WPA Pool via Getty Images
On July 28, 2010, after years of pressure from many countries, the United Nations General Assembly declared access to clean water for drinking and sanitation to be a universal human right. But many places in the world struggle to guarantee this human right. Access to water is no longer just a third world problem.
Malala Yousafzai has recovered to become a crusader for universal education. Less often do we hear about Ziauddin -- or "Zia", as he is affectionately known -- who was the family's first crusader. He is his daughter's greatest champion and confidant.
Is it just us, or does the world feel a bit scarier lately? The world needs experienced leaders -- grizzled global firefighters with the wisdom to staunch the flames and guide us through turbulent times. One is Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Nelson Mandela would have been 96 this week. It's the first birthday since his passing -- celebrations replaced with mourning and reflection. With the passing of Mandela, humanity lost a quiet voice of reason -- one we still sorely need in an increasingly polarized world. In honour of Mandela's birthday, here are some of our own fondest memories of "Madiba."
AFP via Getty Images
The chance to save lives is simple--become an organ donor. The chance that someone from a particular ethnic group will receive an organ, like Canada's aboriginal and South Asian populations, is a little more complicated. We're a diverse country, but does our donor pool match that diversity? In Ontario's predominantly caucasian communities, up to 50 per cent of residents are registered. But in more diverse areas like the GTA, the registration rate is around 14 per cent.
Make no mistake, everyone on that list is worthy of inclusion. They all made great contributions to our country and our world. But where are the women and non-whites who have contributed just as much? A pantheon so steadfastly monochromatic and male hardly reflects the diverse and multicultural nation we claim to be.