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The Action Thread Part Two


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ENVIRONMENT

Canada Is Warming Twice as Fast as the Rest of the World

"Warming reduces snow and ice, which contributes to more warming."


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The effects of climate change are far reaching and impact more than just the environment. Taking urgent action on climate change is necessary to achieve Global Goal 13. Join the movement and take action here.

Climate change is causing the world’s average temperatures to rise — and Canada is warming at double the global rate, a new report revealed.

The report, "Canada in a Changing Climate," is the first in a series to come from Environment and Climate Change Canada that will highlight the impacts of climate change within the country.

Canada’s annual average temperature over land has increased by an estimated 1.7 degrees Celsius since 1948, with higher increases in the North, the Prairies, and northern British Columbia, the report noted. In northern Canada, the increase was 2.3 degrees Celsius.

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In comparison, the average global temperatures have increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius in the same timespan.

There are two key reasons behind this according to Dr. Chris Derksen, research scientist, climate research division, at Environment and Climate Change Canada.

First, land areas are warming faster than ocean areas, and given Canada’s size, it’s expected that it would be greatly impacted, Derksen told Global Citizen.

The second reason, he explained, is related to the fact that Canada is a northern country with a lot of snow and ice.

 

Canada’s #ChangingClimate Report provides strong scientific support for taking action on #ClimateChange, including climate adaptation and mitigation in our country. Read the report: http://ow.ly/ql4S50oSE0l 

 
 
 
 

“Sea ice over the ocean and snow over land reflect a lot of energy from the sun back into space, and as the climate has warmed, the duration of the year for which we have snow and ice at the surface has decreased,” he said.

“So that means for a longer time of the year, you’re absorbing more energy into open water or the land surface that’s not covered by snow. That, in turn, contributes to more warming … Warming reduces snow and ice, which contributes to more warming.”

In other words, it’s a constant cycle of global warming.

Related StoriesJan. 12, 2018Scientists Warn That the Arctic Might Not Be the Arctic for Very Long

The increased temperatures are a result of burning fossil fuels, according to the report.

It highlights a number of intense consequences that are likely to arise if the issue is not addressed: intense heat waves, rainstorms, droughts, floods, wildfire risks, and shortages of fresh water.

“The warming that we’ve experienced to this point — which is driven by … human activity and increased CO2 in the atmosphere — that’s pretty much locked in,” Derksen said, noting that the country can expect to face issues similar to those of recent years.

Related StoriesMarch 15, 2019Youth Leaders Tell Us Why They're Skipping School for Climate Action

The report suggests that Canada and the world must reduce carbon emissions to near zero early on in the second half of the century, and significantly reduce emissions of other greenhouse gasses in order to minimize impacts of climate change.

Should global emissions be greatly reduced, in what the report calls its low-emission scenario, average Canadian temperatures will only increase by about 2 degrees Celsius, which would be in line with targets set in the Paris agreement. This would help prevent the harsh events currently being predicted if the world continues on with business as usual.

While this report focused on Canada, its findings are part of a much more global issue relating to climate change. Extreme weather changes caused by climate change impact food security, influence poverty and can ultimately lead to premature deaths.

Related StoriesFeb. 27, 2019How the Plight of Polar Bears Has Shown Us the Dangers of Climate Change

“It’s a problem that is being driven at the global scale and so a solution for it will also have to be found for it at the global scale,” Derksen said.

If the world fails to act, increases of 7 to 9 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Celsius in the Arctic) are predicted, according to the Guardian, which would result in the predicted devastating events.

It's too late to reverse course — but Derksen says that it’s not too late to get this under control.

“The future is still open as to which of these pathways we go down,” he said.

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APRIL 3, 2019

 

 
 
GIRLS & WOMEN

Why This Woman Is Crowdfunding to Send a Feminist Book to All 650 British MPs

For Tracy King, the world is designed around men — and it’s costing women’s lives.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Achieving gender equality is an essential mission of the UN's Global Goals, which work together to end extreme poverty. It's only by taking women into account when making decisions and forming policies that we'll achieve this goal. Join the movement by taking action here in support of Global Goal No.5 for gender equality. 

At the beginning of March, US space agency NASA announced that it had scheduled its first-ever all-female spacewalk. That is, until just weeks later when it had to abandon the mission

The reason? Because there weren't enough spacesuits for women. 

It’s a timely example that also perfectly explains why Tracy King, a writer and producer from Birmingham (now living in London), is working to get a particular book in front of all 650 members of parliament (MPs) in the UK.

Take action: The Next World Bank President Must Support Women and Girls

 

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The book is Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez — the feminist activist most famous for getting Jane Austen’s image on the new £10 note — and it’s all about highlighting the fact that our world really isn’t designed for women. 

According to its blurb, the book “exposes the gender data gap — a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.”

That might sound unbelievable, but the NASA spacesuit fiasco is a great demonstration of women being held back because what they need to move forward just doesn’t exist — because no one seems to have thought women might need spacesuits. 

As highlighted in the book, there are lots of other examples of how our society is shaped around the idea of what’s known as the “default male.” That essentially means that everything in our societies has been created with men in mind. 

“Cupboards are too high, my phone’s too big,” King tells Global Citizen. “And yet I’m average height and average hand size for a woman. And it had never occurred to me before that it’s not me being too small, but that the world is designed for a male body. 

“Sometimes it’s an inconvenience, like a phone, but at the other end of the spectrum it can be life-threatening,” she adds. 

There are many examples in the book of how the gender gap can cost women’s lives in the context of natural disasters or conflict. 

“We didn’t have firm data on the sex disparity in natural disaster mortality until 2007, when the first systemic, quantitative analysis was published,” reads one section of the book. “This examination of the data from 141 countries between 1981 to 2002 revealed that women are considerably more likely to die than men in natural disasters.” 

Related StoriesMarch 26, 2019NASA Abandons First All-Female Spacewalk Due to Lack of Suits for Women

“It’s not the disaster that kills them,” explains Prof. Maureen Fordham, from University College London, in the book. “It’s gender — and a society that fails to account for how it restricts women’s lives … In Sri Lanka, swimming and tree climbing are ‘predominantly’ taught to men and boys; as a result, when the December 2004 tsunami hit (which killed up to four times as many women as men) they were better able to survive the flood waters.”

The book adds: “There is also a social prejudice against women learning to swim in Bangladesh, ‘drastically’ reducing their chances of surviving flooding.”

For King, there are “a million examples” that are similar — “but it highlights that it’s the same issue for all women everywhere: failure to acknowledge that women don’t navigate the world in the same way that men do.” 

It’s for these numerous reasons that King launched her crowdfunding campaign, raising funds to make sure that every MP in the UK has no excuse to ignore the data laid out in Criado-Perez’s book. 

Related StoriesJan. 23, 201814 Badass Women Who Fought for Their Beliefs in the Past 100 Years

King points out that the gender data gap and the “default male” concept “is not something that I personally can do anything about, but our members of parliament, anyone who’s involved in policy or regulation, here or in the developing world” can. 

“It’s not the public whose minds you need to change, it’s the decision makers,” she continues. “It’s all about policy, everything in this book. It’s about something that was designed without considering women.”

“If you’re going to build a building, put in more toilets for women than men,” she adds, as a basic example. 

While she’s realistic about the fact not every MP who receives a book will read it, she says “the point is the publicity, the noise, the peer pressure of doing a crowdfund.” 

Related StoriesSept. 10, 2018Sandi Toksvig Reveals QI Paid Her 40% of Former Host Stephen Fry's Salary

For King, there was no lightbulb moment when she realised she was a feminist and what that meant, but there was a moment when she realised she had to start doing something to help bring about gender equality: the death and rape threats that Criado-Perez received just for campaigning to get a woman’s face on a banknote. 

“It doesn’t matter how big or small the thing you’re trying to achieve is, if you’re a woman and you’re sticking your neck out, someone will try to cut your head off,” she continues. “What on earth is wrong with asking for a woman to be on a bank note that people send death and rape threats because they’re so outraged?" 

This prompted a realisation for King that, to make real change happen in terms of how women are treated in society, we need to reshape our world so that everything considers women to the same extent as it considers men. 

And to achieve this, it means educating the people who shape the world about the gender gap — and make them realise that women need to be as front and centre as men. 

Related StoriesJan. 2, 2018Iceland Starts 2018 in Style by Making Gender Pay Gap Illegal

“Absolutely any MP who sits on a committee, shadow ministers, everybody needs to be thinking about this first, before you begin to plan a damn thing,” she says. “Is this discriminating or excluding 50% of the population?” 

But King highlights that, while the campaign centres around Criado-Perez’s book, it’s “about all books, and all women who are doing analysis and pointing out biases.” 

“So yes, I picked on one book to give to MPs,” she says, “but it’s about way more than one book and more than MPs, it’s the whole zeitgeist that we’ve had enough.”

And giving out the books is most definitely just the start for King.

“That’s just the beginning,” she says. “Then it’s about, what are you going to do about it?” 

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03/04/2019

International Soprano Sinéad Blanchfield appointed as Music Development Officer for Kilkenny

International Soprano Sinéad Blanchfield appointed as Music Development Officer for Kilkenny

Music Generation, together with Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB), is delighted to announce the appointment of Irish soprano, recording artist, vocal coach and music educator Sinéad Blanchfield to the role of Music Generation Development Officer for Kilkenny.

In her new post Sinéad will develop and oversee an affordable, accessible programme of performance music education for children and young people ages 0 to 18 across the County. This will include building partnerships with music and arts tuition services in the area and coordinating with schools, youth and community groups to create ensembles, choirs and other initiatives, embracing all musical genres and styles.

Under the leadership of KCETB and in partnership with Kilkenny County Council, Music Generation Kilkenny is one of 22 cities and counties now participating in Ireland’s national music education programme. Initiated by Music Network in 2010, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

Sinéad’s appointment is an important milestone in the development of Music Generation Kilkenny, marking the beginning of a focussed phase of planning which will build towards the implementation of a full and comprehensive programme of vocal and instrumental tuition later in 2019.

Commenting on her appointment Sinéad said: ‘I’m thrilled to return to my native Kilkenny to take up this new role as Music Generation Development Officer. Music has always played such an important role in my life, from my very earliest beginnings singing and playing piano, through my years of study, training and performance. As a mentor and educator I’ve seen the enormous difference that music can make in young people’s lives, developing skills, confidence and creativity. I’m excited and energised to create access to these same inspiring opportunities for many more children and young people within our local communities and to build on Kilkenny’s already rich musical landscape.’

Born in Kilkenny, Sinéad is an international Irish soprano who has performed in concerts and recitals at major venues and festivals across Europe. Sinéad is a music educator, having taught in schools and at the University of Limerick, and is also a voice coach and singing teacher to adults and children in her private practice. She holds a BA Hons degree in music, a postgraduate diploma in education and a postgraduate award in performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. As a classical crossover artist Sinead has produced and performed her one woman shows drawing on the depth and beauty of the Irish/Celtic songs she sang as a child, combined with her years of experience in the classical arena. Sinéad began her musical journey singing and studying piano and has amassed numerous television and radio appearances across UTV, BBC and RTÉ. In recent years Sinéad has built a strong reputation on the European classical opera circuit.

Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive of KCETB Eileen Curtis said: ‘We’re delighted to announce Sinéad’s appointment to this pivotal role at Music Generation Kilkenny, which will enable programme set-up to get underway. Sinéad’s extensive professional music career and her rich experience in music education and consulting will be invaluable in the post. We very much look forward to working with Sinéad over the coming years to create access to new musical opportunities for children and young people throughout Kilkenny.’

Kilkenny was among nine new areas of Ireland selected for participation in Music Generation’s second phase in September 2017, following an open national call for applications from new Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs). Expansion of the Music Generation initiative into Kilkenny was made possible as a result of philanthropic donations by U2 and The Ireland Funds, which will seed-fund 50% of the costs of establishing the programme during a three-year set-up phase. Kilkenny LMEP will also generate a further 50% in funding locally. This matched funding will then be sustained on a long-term basis by the Department of Education and Skills once the philanthropic donations cease.

Welcoming the announcement of Sinéad’s appointment, Colette Byrne, CEO of Kilkenny County Council, said: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with KCETB and Music Generation on this wonderful initiative. The Music Generation funding, together with funding from Kilkenny County Council and the KCETB, will enable us to work closely to provide high quality performance music education to young people across the county.’

Further information about Music Generation Kilkenny is expected to be announced over the coming months. 

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This award-winning journalist writes to spark compassion
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CULTURE

This award-winning journalist writes to spark compassion

February 22 2019 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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All photos credited to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.

At five years old, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim sat with his father listening to the radio. He didn’t understand what the news was about, but remembers that his father was completely absorbed. From that moment on, Ibrahim was fascinated with journalism.

“I knew I wanted to collect people’s stories and amplify them. So it was an easy decision to study journalism.”

Now a seasoned journalist, his desire to tell people’s stories is as strong as ever. He feels journalism helps create “a greater understanding between people.”

In 2018, he won the Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling for All That Was Familiar. The report follows two women forced to flee their homes after Boko Haram uprisings.

Zahra-1024x683.jpg

Zahra attending a counseling group.

Revealing untold tales

Boko Haram’s attacks shocked Ibrahim, living just five hundred miles away in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The news itself was bad enough, but Ibrahim was also taken aback by how the news was reported. The many orphaned, widowed, killed, or displaced were reported as numbers, not people.

“I felt they weren’t sufficiently humanized,” says Ibrahim. “These are people with lives, with dreams and ambition, people who are grieving their loved ones and afraid for their own lives at the same time, people whose lives would never be the same.”

In All That Was Familiar, Ibrahim introduces readers to Sa’adatu and Zahra, two women living in separate camps after their encounters with Boko Haram.

Sa’adatu is a mother to nine children, who she is raising alone since the disappearance of her husband. Food meant for the camp was resold in supermarkets, leaving her children without enough to eat.

Saadatu-1024x768.jpg

Sa’adatu cooking for her children.

Boko Haram captured Zahra and her infant daughter. She escaped during an air raid, but her daughter did not survive. Now, she hopes to reunite with her remaining relatives, who do not know she is alive.

“I thought their stories needed to be told in a way that projected our collective humanity so we could all relate to their experiences as humans.”

Confronting a crisis

Not everyone was keen to get these stories out. Authorities denied Ibrahim entry to the camp where Sa’adatu was staying, forcing him to go undercover. He also feared that revealing the information he gathered would put Sa’adatu and Zahra at risk.

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The Dalori Camp, where Ibrahim went undercover.

“It was a moral crisis, and in the end, I still hope I have done what is best…”

Building bridges with stories

From his fiction to his journalism, Ibrahim’s work uses storytelling to connect people.

“We are nothing without stories. Our stories are part of our identity and stories are the way we know each other. It is through stories that we see beyond our different skin colors… or different faiths or nationalities. Deep down, we are essentially the same.

“Stories are the spears with which we poke our own fears of other people and realize that there is really little to fear and much to love.”

The Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling is a prestigious award given to up-and-coming journalists in Africa. The award is given by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in partnership with ONE and the Elliott family.
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GIRLS AND WOMEN

25 facts that show the harsh reality girls face right now

9 October 2018 4:43PM UTC | By: MELANIE RHODES

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An open letter to leaders

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What does your future hold? University, your own business, fame and fortune? Whatever your hopes, you will not have imagined a future in which you got married off as a child, were denied an education, or infected with HIV by a husband that’s twice your age. But this is the reality for millions of girls living in extreme poverty. And it’s time to call it out for what it is: Sexist.

Nowhere on earth do girls and women have the same opportunities as men. But for girls living in extreme poverty, sexism can be a death sentence. This is unacceptable.

If we don’t fight for every girl to have the future she deserves, we’re limiting all of humanity’s potential. We need to demand that those with power and resources put women and girls at the heart of their investments.

Here are 25 shocking facts showing why #PovertyisSexist  →

Child Marriage

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  • Globally, girls are being married off at a rate of 33,000 a day.
  • Girls from poor families are more than three times more likely to marry before 18 as girls from wealthier families.
  • An estimated 650 million women alive today were married as children. That’s double the population of the United States.

Education

  • 130+ million girls are out of school.
  • Half a billion women can’t read.
  • Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Burundi expel pregnant girls from school and deny adolescent mothers the right to study in public schools.
  • Attacks on schools increased 17-fold between 2000 and 2014, and girls’ schools were targeted three times more often than boys’ schools.

Female Adolescent HIV and HIV death rates

IDG_STAT-GX_12x12_v7-05-1024x512.png

  • Globally, 340,000 girls and young women are infected with HIV every year.
  • Girls make up three out of four new infections among children aged 10-19 in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • A young woman in sub-Saharan Africa is twice as likely to be infected with HIV than a young man her age.
  • Globally, only 3 in every 10 adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years have comprehensive and accurate knowledge about HIV. The lack of information on HIV prevention and the power to use this information in sexual relationships, including in the context of marriage, undermines women’s ability to negotiate condom use and engage in safer sex practices.
  • In 2017 29,000 girls aged 15-24 died due to AIDS-related illnesses.

Violence Against Women

  • Almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.   
  • Globally, 44% of girls aged 15-19 think a husband is entitled to beat his wife.

Domestic labour inequities

IDG_STAT-GX_12x12_v7-06-1024x512.png

  • Globally, girls aged 5–14 spend 550 million hours every day on household chores, 160 million more hours than boys their age spend.
  • 104 countries around the world have laws stopping women from doing certain jobs.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls spend roughly 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire workforce in France.

Access to Finance/Financial Inclusion

  • Over one billion women do not have access to a bank account.

Maternal Mortality/dying in childbirth

  • 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Sexual exploitation of women and girls

  • Women and girls make up 96% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Health

  • Anaemia, a condition strongly connected to iron deficiency and poor nutrition, afflicts twice as many women as men – nearly one in three women and girls worldwide.

The good news:

  • 70% fewer mums could die in childbirth – if all girls had primary education.
  • 66% fewer child marriages could happen globally – if all girls had a secondary education.
  • US$28 trillion could be generated – if all gender gaps in work and society were closed.

If you believe that ALL girls should be able to build the future they want, then turn your outrage into action this International Day of the Girl!

An open letter to leaders

Dear World Leaders,

We’re putting you on notice.

For 130 million girls without an education. For one billion women without access to a bank account. For 33,000 girls who became child brides today. For women everywhere paid less than a man for the same work.

There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty.

Poverty is sexist. And we won’t stand by while the poorest women are overlooked.

You have the power to deliver historic changes for women this year. From the G7 to the G20; from the African Union to your annual budgets; we will push you for commitments and hold you to account for them. And, if you deliver, we will be the first to champion your progress.

We won’t stop until there is justice for women and girls everywhere.

Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

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TECHNOLOGY

This woman is solving water shortage with a little Majik

February 4 2019 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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Did you know that anywhere that air exists, water exists? At sea level, air contains roughly 1% of water vapor and, according to research scientists from Harvard University, even in the desert, a cubic area the size of a house can contain up to 16 litres of water!

Now, thanks to the advancement of science and technology, and the determination of people like Beth Koigi, we’re able to turn air in to water, literally. This a huge deal, and if it sounds a bit like magic, then that’s because it is. Well, kind of…

Beth, a technology and community development specialist from Kiambu County, felt compelled to found Majik Water after experiencing water scarcity first hand. Their name isn’t just a description of the remarkable work that they do their, it’s a nod to the company’s roots and comes from combining the Swahili word for water ‘maji’, with the first letter of the word for harvest ‘kuna’, because that’s exactly what Majik Water does – they harvest water.

A problem that hit home

Beth Koigi, CEO of Majik water, began tackling water scarcity in college. In only a few months, she developed and sold water filters to clean the dirty tap water in the college dormitories. In 2016, Koigi’s water supply shut off because of a drought.

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“Going for months without any tap water became a very bad situation,” she says. “Where I used to live, we didn’t get any tap water at all… I would go to the mall instead. Having no water at all is worse than just having unpurified water, so I started thinking about a way to not have to rely on the council.”

Koigi traveled to Silicon Valley for a program at Singularity University. This global learning community uses technology to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. While there, she met Anastasia Kaschenko, an American environmental scientist, and Clare Sewell, a British economist. The three women formed and lead Majik Water.

“The three of us were connected by the need to see a world where everyone has access to adequate and clean drinking water,” says Koigi.

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Their company certainly tackles a major world issue. 1.2 billion people – one fifth of the world’s population – currently faces water scarcity. By 2025, that number will expectedly grow to 1.8 billion. Sub-Saharan Africa has more water-stressed countries than any area in the world

There’s an estimated six times more water in the atmosphere than in all rivers combined. By tapping into this untouched resource, the most affected parts of the world can have water. The resulting water also helps prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, according to Koigi.

How the magic happens

The device they created uses silica gels, which are able to draw water from the air. The gel releases water when it heats up. As an added perk, the device uses solar panels, meaning it does not rely on electricity.

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This process can currently generate 10 liters of water a day. The team is working to increase that to 100 liters per day, while being cheaper to produce. The device will also work as a “water ATM,” allowing people to buy the amount of water that they need.

The company is quickly gaining recognition for their game-changing invention. Majik Water won Africa’s first EDF Pulse Awards. They were also finalists for 2018’s UN Environment’s Young Champions of the Earth, and are shortlisted for the 2019 African Prize for Engineering Innovation.

There’s no doubt that access to water is a huge global problem. With innovative companies like Majik Water, the possibilities for solutions are sky-high.

All photos pulled from Beth Koigi’s video “Majik Water Situation & Product”.
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