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GIRLS AND WOMEN

This Ethiopian entrepreneur is breaking tradition to empower women

24 October 2018 4:48PM UTC | By: ABLE

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In this series, we’re introducing you to strong and savvy female entrepreneurs from Ethiopia who have partnered with social enterprise and lifestyle brand ABLE.

Semhal Guesh grew up in Ethiopia hearing a phrase many young girls her age did not: “You can do whatever you want.”

Now 27 years old, it’s no coincidence that Semhal has become a designer, architect, and entrepreneur. She now runs Kabana, a leather production company in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, and through her company, she helps other women realise their full potential.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294
“Most of my life, my father told me I could accomplish any ideas that I had; that I had no limits,” said Semhal. “In Ethiopia, every family is male-dominated and sons are given more chances than daughters. But with my dad, that was not the case.”

Semhal recognizes that if she had grown up in rural Ethiopia or with parents less encouraging than her own, she might have been expected to stop her education at 12 years old and get married. Instead, Semhal dreamed of becoming an astronaut or an astrophysicist because she hadn’t seen a lot of women in those professions. But it was architecture that won over Semhal for the ability to create something both beautiful and functional.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294While studying for her Bachelors in Architecture, she picked up a few leather samples at a local market and began designing with it. Suddenly, her dormitory transformed into a small workshop with a handful of women hand stitching products to sell at bazaars.

“By day, we’d go to lectures and we’d make leather products at night,” said Semhal. “It was more about the joy of designing and turning our work into an actual reality. It wasn’t to earn money. It was something we could do together.”

After graduation, Semhal began working in architecture full-time while still managing to grow her leather business. Her supervisor at the architecture firm saw her passion and encouraged her to spend more time focused on her growing leather company until she eventually made the decision to devote all her time to Kabana.

“It was a hectic time, but my motivation was seeing how the job and income were changing the life of my first employee,” said Semhal. “She came to me with minimum knowledge or experience, but I taught her how to cut and stitch leather and design development. In time, I saw her changing, knowing what to do, and unafraid to share her ideas because she had the freedom to speak out. I thought ‘I’m paying somebody who supports their family. I’m part of the generation that’s creating opportunities and income for her.’”
ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294
Today, Semhal and her staff of 31 are in high demand, thanks in part to her background in architecture, which gives her an eye for design and an understanding of technical specifications. Kababa creates handmade leather bags, wallets, folders, and custom products for clients in Ethiopia, the U.S., and Sweden.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294

On a mission to give other women the same support she has received, Semhal is focused on motivating the women she hires to expect more for themselves. She enrolls her employees in different training programs to help them realize their value and potential, invests in their new business ideas through loans, offers paid time away from work, mentorship, and coaching.

“Everyone is shy in Ethiopia, especially girls,” said Semhal. “I tell my employees about myself, how I got to where I am, and that not everything is easy. Then I push them to have a conversation with other women. I want them to know they don’t have to be closed off.”

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294Thankfully, Semhal believes her country’s view of women is changing, evidenced by recent changes such as the government’s decision to back women’s education and the creation of various leadership and professional associations.

As more doors open for women in Ethiopia, Semhal continues to raise the bar on women’s equality, safety, wages and benefits in the workplace. Through her company’s partnership with ABLE, Kabana has undergone the ACCOUNTABLE social impact audit and found opportunities to improve her wages, maternity leave policy, medical coverage, and employment practices.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294“Ethiopia doesn’t have a set minimum wage policy,” said Semhal. “When ABLE introduced liveable wages to KABANA, it gave us a new benchmark.”

“I want to show that you can be an entrepreneur and be young and a woman,” said Semhal. “It takes a lot of convincing, but I’m not one to back away from a challenge. Breaking the tradition starts with hearing the stories about other women and their success.”

ABLE is publishing its lowest wages to protect and empower the fashion industry’s most vulnerable workers, most of whom are women. To provide consumers with complete transparency, all their partners must go through the rigorous and exhaustive ACCOUNTABLE assessment, evaluating their workplace’s equality, safety, wages and benefits, with a particular emphasis on women. To learn more about ABLE’s #PUBLISHYOURWAGES movement that inspires consumers to demand greater transparency of their favourite brands, visit www.livefashionable.com/publishyourwages.

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organisations highlighted.

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10 facts you need to know about Nelson Mandela
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CULTURE

10 facts you need to know about Nelson Mandela

11 July 2018 11:57AM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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It’s hard to keep track of all the incredible things about Nelson Mandela and his accomplishments. We’re clearly inspired by his actions and wisdom, and there’s still even more to know about him! You may remember these 7 facts about Nelson Mandela, and there are a few more to add to the list!

1. His birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela. His primary school teacher gave him the name Nelson.

2. He began his long road to a college degree at the University College of Fort Hare in 1931. He was expelled for participating in a protest against the university’s policies.

3. After leaving the University College of Fort Hare, the King of his village threatened to arrange marriages for him and his cousin, Justice. They both ran away to Johannesburg to avoid the marriages.

4. He, along with fellow ANC member Oliver Tambo, established South Africa’s first black law practice in 1952. His practice primarily worked in challenging apartheid laws, including South Africa’s “pass laws,” which required non-white citizens to carry documents authorizing their presence in “restricted” areas.

5. In order to leave the country (which he was banned from doing), he used the name David Motsamayi to get out of South Africa in secret.

6. His activism continued while in prison, both inside its walls and out. He was a mentor to other prisoners and taught them about nonviolent resistance. He also sent notes to the outside world and was a consistent symbol for the anti-apartheid movement.

7. He loved sports and even used them as part of his activism. He believed that sport “has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

8. He was released from prison in 1990 by President Frederik Willem de Klerk. The two now share a Nobel Peace Prize.

9. He voted for the first time in his life in 1994 – at 76 years old!

10. Mandela Day is July 18th, with this year being the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth in 1918. This year, you can celebrate by taking #ActionAgainstPoverty with the Nelson Mandela Foundation!

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GIRLS & WOMEN

How One Girl Scout Fought Against Child Marriage in New Hampshire and Won

New Hampshire voted to raise the minimum age of marriage from 13 to 16 — a big step forward.

cassandra-leveseque-girl-scout-child-marriage.png__1264x568_q85_crop_subsampling-2.png
 Courtesy of Cassandra Levesque

Girl Scout Cassandra Levesque was shocked to learn last year that, at age 17, she was not just above the minimum marriage age in her home state of New Hampshire, but well above it. That moment became the catalyst for her fight to raise the minimum age of marriage in the “Granite State” from 13 to 18.

Her efforts paid off on May 2, when the New Hampshire State Senate unanimously passed a bill to raise the minimum marriage age to 16, the Concord Monitor reported.

Until Gov. Chris Sununu signs the bill, girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14 can be married with parental consent and a judge’s approval in the state. Gov. Sununu has expressed support for the bill and is expected to signit into law.

Take Action: Tell world leaders to stop child marriage for good

 

“Virtually everyone agrees that the marriage of a 13-year-old child is unconscionable,” Gov. Sununu said after the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed the bill in March.

The bill itself was a result of Levesque’s campaigning efforts, which were the focus of her  capstone Girl Scout Gold Award project. And though the bill falls short of Levesque’s goal of raising the minimum age to 18, the college freshman considers the progressive step both a personal victory and a win for girls across New Hampshire.

“I was very proud of the fact that I changed something that has been going on for so long and nobody knew until I spoke up,” Levesque told the Concord Monitor

Over the course of her year-long campaign to change the law, the teen learned that both her grandmother and great-grandmother married before they turned 18, hoping to escape ongoing domestic abuse only to find themselves in abusive marriages.

Read more: Yes, Forced Child Marriages Happen in the US, Too

Legal loopholes allow children in the US to be married before their 18th birthdays in every state, except Delaware — which became the first state to ban child marriage by raising the minimum marriage age to 18 without exceptions just last week.

The nonprofit Unchained At Last estimates that nearly 250,000 children were married in the US between 2000 and 2010. And most of those in child marriages in the US are younger girls married to adult men.

While Delaware is the first state to pass a bill banning child marriage, it wasn’t the first to try. Similar bills have been considered Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, and New Jersey recently, but, as in New Hampshire, the bills did not succeed in setting the minimum marriage age at 18 without exception, though several did manage to increase the minimum age of marriage.

Read more: Delaware Is the First State Ever to Ban Child Marriage

Levesque is still hopeful that New Hampshire will follow Delaware’s lead.

 

What can you do to help fight Child Marriage? Talk about it! This hideous act hides in the shadows of society, we need to keep it in the spotlight. We need to make sure that everyone knows it happens and we have to fight it on every level.

 
 
 
 

"I would have liked to see it changed to 18 because that's when you're considered an adult," Levesque told Refinery29. "But 16 is a middle ground. It's a step further."

Global Citizen campaigns in support of gender equality and women’s rights. You can take action here to call on lawmakers to put an end to child marriage and protect women and girls everywhere.

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ENVIRONMENT

A Japanese Island Just Disappeared Into the Pacific Ocean

There’s only one way to stop the inevitability of sea level rise.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Climate change is causing sea levels to rise and storms to get more extreme, threatening the existence of islands and coastlines around the world. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

A small island off the northeast coast of Japan recently slipped under the waves, becoming the latest victim of rising sea levels, according to the Guardian.

The island, Esanbe Hanakita Kojima, was uninhabited and spanned less than a mile.

Its tiny size may explain why its disappearance went unnoticed for several weeks until the author Hiroshi Shimizu visited the town of Sarufutsu, which has a view of the island, to work on a sequel of a picture book on Japan’s “hidden islands,” the Guardian reports.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
1 punto

 



United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyCanadaAustraliaAfghanistanÅland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBruneiBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCabo VerdeCambodiaCameroonCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo (the Democratic Republic of the)Cook IslandsCosta RicaCôte d'IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands  [Malvinas]Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambia (The)GeorgiaGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and McDonald IslandsHoly See  [Vatican City State]HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKuwaitKyrgyzstanLaosLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedoniaMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia (the Federated States of)MoldoviaMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorth KoreaNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestine, State ofPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarRéunionRomaniaRussiaRwandaSaint BarthélemySaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth KoreaSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanTajikistanTanzaniaThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaVietnamVirgin Islands (British)Virgin Islands (U.S.)Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe

 

 

When he looked out to the Pacific Ocean, he noticed the island had vanished and he alerted local fishing authorities who, after conducting a survey, agreed that it had been swallowed by the ocean.

Japan’s coast guard will confirm the island’s fate in the weeks ahead.

In addition to rising sea levels, the island was eroded over the years by ice drifts and wind, according to Global News.

Esanbe Hanakita Kojima was located in a region of territorial dispute between Japan and Russia and only gained its name in 2014 when Japan sought to assert control of the region. Japan also has maritime disputes with China in the East China Sea.

Related StoriesNov. 1, 2018Oceans Have Absorbed 60% More Heat Than Previously Thought: Report

In both cases, countries make claims to parts of the ocean to take control of fishing and resource extractions rights, clarify shipping lanes, gain access to land, and conduct military exercises.

The small island’s disappearance, while not of any critical strategic importance, could shrink Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Of bigger concern, however, are the climate change implications of this development.

As sea levels rise, low-lying coastal nations and islands are increasingly threatened. At least eight Pacific Islands have gone underwater in recent years, and thousands of more islands are at risk in the decades ahead.

Related StoriesOct. 25, 2018A Hurricane Just Erased a Crucial Hawaiian Island

The Marshall Islands, in particular, are highly vulnerable to sea level rise and their disappearance would displace tens of thousands of people.

Esanbe Hanakita Kojima may have been uninhabited, but many coastal areas are teeming with people.

Overall, hundreds of millions of people are expected to be displaced from coastal areas as a result of sea level rise. Adding powerful storms to this mix could multiply the number of displaced persons, especially if recent history is any guide. In 2017, there were more than 18 million people displaced from weather-related events, including 7.5 million from storms.

Related StoriesOct. 9, 20185 Things You Can Do Now in Response to the UN's Terrifying New Climate Report

Many coastal areas are trying to ward off the advance of the oceans by building sea walls, extending their coastlines, and implementing elaborate pump systems, but the only definitive way to stop the inevitability of sea level rise is by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.  

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ALIMENTOS Y HAMBRE

Restauró 240 millones de árboles en África occidental, y podrían ayudar a combatir el hambre

"La naturaleza se curaría a sí misma, solo necesitamos dejar de explotarla".

 

Por qué los Global Citizens deberían preocuparse
La restauración de los bosques en todo el mundo puede aumentar la seguridad alimentaria, mejorar el acceso al agua y proteger a las comunidades de los peores efectos del cambio climático. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.


Tony Rinaudo estuvo a cargo del crecimiento de 240 millones de árboles en docenas de países, según informó recientemente The Guardian.

El "Fabricante de bosques", como él mismo se autodenomina, llegó por primera vez a Níger desde Australia hace 30 años e intentó restaurar el paisaje devastado plantando tantos árboles como sea humanamente posible.

Después de dos años, hizo pocos progresos y comenzó a reevaluar su modo de trabajo. Fue entonces cuando se dio cuenta de que podía trabajar en un método para mejorar el suelo, la poda regular de las ramas y la protección de los troncos cuando se araban los campos.


"En ese momento, todo cambió", le dijo a The Guardian. "No necesitábamos plantar árboles, no se trataba de tener un presupuesto de varios millones de dólares y años para hacerlo, todo lo que necesitabas estaba en el terreno".

"La naturaleza se curará a sí misma, solo tenemos que dejar de hacerle daño", agregó.

El método de Rinaudo se conoce como regeneración natural administrada por el agricultor y permite que los bosques se desarrollen en condiciones difíciles. A medida que los árboles florecen, las comunidades aledañas obtienen un gran impulso en la seguridad alimentaria, la calidad del agua y la resistencia ante las tormentas.

Tony-prunes-a-tree-760x500.jpgImage: World Vision

A partir de 2013, Nigeria ha cultivado alimentos suficientes para alimentar a otros 2,5 millones de personas con la ayuda del método de Rinaudo, según informó World Vision.

En Níger, donde Rinaudo comenzó con esta tarea, los agricultores vieron grandes mejoras en sus cosechas una vez que la red subterránea de árboles se afianzó.

El año pasado, viajó al oeste de Afganistán para ayudar a los agricultores afectados por la sequía a restaurar los paisajes montañosos. La inseguridad alimentaria en Afganistán afecta a un tercio de la población.

Ahora ha comenzado a divulgar su técnica de mejora del suelo y a hacer campaña en las Naciones Unidas para mejorar el manejo forestal en todo el mundo, informó The Guardian.

A nivel mundial, se destruyen 18,7 millones de acres de bosques cada año, lo que equivale a perder 27 campos de fútbol por cada minuto, según datos de WWF.

A medida que los árboles desaparecen de un área, la biodiversidad se desvanece, las sequías se vuelven más comunes y los paisajes se vuelven más vulnerables a las tormentas, inundaciones y deslizamientos de tierra. La deforestación también es un importante motor del cambio climático, ya que representa el 15% de las emisiones anuales de gases de efecto invernadero a medida que se libera el carbono almacenado en los árboles.

Los principales impulsores de la deforestación son las tierras desmejoradas como consecuencia de la ganadería, la agricultura y el desarrollo, señaló WWF. Los incendios forestales y las plagas también son amenazas crecientes para los árboles a medida que las temperaturas aumentan en todo el mundo.

Rinaudo cree que su método de regeneración de bosques puede ayudar en la lucha contra el cambio climático, al mismo tiempo que refuerza la seguridad alimentaria y la resistencia al agua.

"Podemos hacer esto de un modo muy barato y rápido", le dijo a The Guardian.

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11 DE ABRIL DE 2019

 

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NIÑAS Y MUJERES

La desigualdad de género impide el acceso global a la salud reproductiva y sexual

No pueden elegir lo que les sucede a sus cuerpos.

 

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
Cientos de miles de niñas y mujeres mueren cada año debido a que carecen de acceso a atención médica de calidad, especialmente a la salud sexual y reproductiva. A pesar del aumento del acceso a los servicios de salud y los anticonceptivos, la desigualdad de género continúa impidiendo que niñas y mujeres ejerzan sus derechos y control sobre sus propios cuerpos. Puedes tomar medidas aquí para exigir la igualdad de género y reclamar un mundo donde Ella Es Igual.

Aunque el mundo ha hecho grandes avances en el aumento del acceso a la salud sexual y reproductiva en las últimas décadas, muchas niñas y mujeres aún no pueden ejercer sus derechos.

 

Las normas y actitudes sociales discriminatorias de género persisten en todo el mundo e impiden que las mujeres tomen decisiones sobre sus propios cuerpos, incluso si quieren casarse, tener relaciones sexuales o formar una familia, y cuándo hacerlo, según datos de un nuevo informe del Fondo de Población de las Naciones Unidas (UNFPA).

 

El informe anual evalúa el acceso a la salud sexual y reproductiva en todo el mundo, y este año, por primera vez, también incluyó datos sobre el poder de decisión de las mujeres cuando se trata de atención médica, uso de anticonceptivos y relaciones sexuales.

 

Y los resultados mostraron que todavía hay mucho trabajo por hacer.

 

"A pesar de la creciente disponibilidad de anticonceptivos a lo largo de los años, cientos de millones de mujeres todavía no tienen acceso a ellos, ni a las opciones reproductivas que las acompañan", dijo en un comunicado de prensa la Dra. Natalia Kanem, Directora Ejecutiva del UNFPA. "Sin acceso, carecen del poder para tomar decisiones sobre sus propios cuerpos, incluso si quedan embarazadas o cuándo".

 

"La falta de este poder, que influye en muchas otras facetas de la vida, desde la educación hasta el ingreso y la seguridad, deja a las mujeres incapaces de configurar su propio futuro", agregó.

 

Después de encuestar a 51 países, el UNFPA encontró que solo el 57% de las mujeres son capaces de tomar sus propias decisiones sobre la anticoncepción y la atención médica, así como cuándo y con quién eligen tener relaciones sexuales.

 

Las percepciones culturales que sostienen que las mujeres y las niñas son inferiores a los hombres y los niños también las encierran en sistemas de desigualdad donde tienen poca capacidad de negociación.

 

El informe destaca que la violencia de género y el matrimonio infantil son formas en que la desigualdad de género continúa impidiendo que las mujeres y las niñas puedan elegir qué hacer con sus cuerpos.

 

Es por eso que trabajar para mejorar las leyes discriminatorias de género para proteger mejor los derechos de las niñas y las mujeres, en particular contra la violencia sexual, puede ayudar a combatir esto y mejorar la salud sexual y reproductiva.

 

El empoderamiento de las niñas para permanecer en la escuela y completar su educación también es clave, dice el UNFPA. Y un paso crucial para establecer la igualdad de género y garantizar que las mujeres y las niñas en todo el mundo puedan ejercer sus derechos es incluir a los niños y hombres en la conversación, a fin de transformar las actitudes y creencias que perpetúan la desigualdad de género.

 

Desde que se fundó el UNFPA, que celebra su 50 aniversario este año, el acceso a los anticonceptivos modernos, incluidos los condones, los DIU y las píldoras anticonceptivas, se ha más que duplicado. Y hoy en día, casi el 59%de las mujeres están usando anticonceptivos.

 

A nivel mundial, según el informe, el 84% de las mujeres de 15 a 49 años de edad que están casadas o en una relación de pareja tienen satisfechas sus necesidades de planificación familiar, pero es menos probable que las niñas y mujeres más vulnerables tengan acceso a dichos recursos y servicios.

 

Según el informe, "el acceso a servicios críticos de salud sexual y reproductiva es generalmente más bajo entre el 20% más pobre de los hogares".

 

“Las mujeres en los hogares más pobres pueden tener poco o ningún acceso a servicios de salud sexual y reproductiva, lo que lleva a embarazos no deseados, a un mayor riesgo de enfermedad o muerte a causa del embarazo o el parto, y a la necesidad de dar a luz por su cuenta, sin la ayuda de un médico, enfermera o partera", dice el informe.

 

Según el UNFPA, aproximadamente 35 millones de mujeres, niñas y jóvenes necesitarán servicios críticos de salud sexual y reproductiva este año.

 

Y asegurar que todas tengan acceso a los servicios de salud que necesitan y la capacidad de ejercer sus derechos, va de la mano con ponerle fin a la pobreza y alcanzar los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible de la ONU.

 

Es por eso que Global Citizen y UNFPA Supplies, el proveedor de servicios de planificación familiar más grande del mundo, se están asociando para exigir la igualdad de género y reclamar un mundo donde #SheIsEqual. Puedes actuar y hacer oír tu voz sobre este tema aquí.

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MAY 22, 2018

 

212
 
ENVIRONMENT

Humanity Has Killed 83% of All Wild Mammals and Half of All Plants: Study

Of all the birds left in the world, 70% are poultry chickens and other farmed birds.

When it comes to planet Earth, humans are very tiny.

The weight of all 7.6 billion humans makes up just 0.01% of all biomass on Earth, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

Bacteria, by comparison, make up 13% of all biomass, plants account for 83%, and all other forms of life make up 5% of the total weight, according to the report.

Take Action: Stand Up for the Arctic

 

Despite being such a small part of the planet, humans have been steadily destroying everything else for the past few millennia, the Guardian reports.

In fact, humans have caused the annihilation of 83% of all wild mammals and half of all plants, the authors of the report found.

And it’s not just that humans are wiping out wildlife — they’re also determining the animals and plants that remain.

Of the birds left in the world, 70% are poultry chickens and other farmed birds. And of the mammals left in the world, 60% are livestock, 36% are pigs, and a mere 4% are wild.

alp-studio-289331-unsplash.jpgPhoto by ALP STUDIO on Unsplash

Read More: 6 Unexpected Products You Should Probably Avoid if You Love Animals

Marine mammals, meanwhile, have plunged by 80% over the past century, the report found.

“It is definitely striking, our disproportionate place on Earth,” Ron Milo, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel who led the report, told the Guardian. “When I do a puzzle with my daughters, there is usually an elephant next to a giraffe next to a rhino. But if I was trying to give them a more realistic sense of the world, it would be a cow next to a cow next to a cow and then a chicken.”

This staggering imbalance between domestic and wild animals is being driven by industrial farming, extraction of resources, and the expansion of human civilizations, all of which destroy ecosystems, according to the report.

Other studies have also documented the decline of animals and plants. For instance, scientists recently argued that the Earth is experiencing its sixth mass wave of extinction, with billions of local animal populations endangered around the world.

katerina-bartosova-39167-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Katerina Bartosova on Unsplash

This decline is by no means slowing down. A study published last week found that if temperatures at the end of the century are 3.2 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, species across the animal kingdom could lose up to half of their geographical ranges.

Read More: Poachers Will Soon Face Death Penalty in Kenya, Spurring Debate

The study spearheaded by Milo, however, is the first taxonomic breakdown of the mass of all organisms on Earth, according to the authors, who noted that further research and advances in technology need to be developed to refine the data.

“I would hope this gives people a perspective on the very dominant role that humanity now plays on Earth,” Milo told the Guardian.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, which call on countries to protect biodiversity. You can take action on this issue here.

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ENVIRONMENT

The First Road Made From Plastic Waste Was Just Finished in the US

Roads made from recycled plastic can cut down on plastic pollution.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Around 420 million tons of plastic is produced each year, and most of this plastic ends up polluting ecosystems around the world. As the toll of plastic pollution on wildlife becomes more apparent, countries, companies, and individuals are working to curb the problem. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Students at the University of California at San Diego could soon be driving toward a future without plastic pollution.

That’s because the university recently approved a road made with recycled plastic waste, the first time a road of this style has been paved in the United States, according to the school's paper UCSD Guardian.

The road comes from the UK-based company MacReber, which has paved roads throughout its home country and in Australia.

Take Action: Take the Plastic Pledge: #UnplasticthePlanet

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The UC San Diego test case covers only a small area in front of a graduate housing complex, but the university may introduce the plastic asphalt throughout the campus if it proves viable, especially because of its supposed environmental benefits.

Plastic-suffused asphalt reduces the amount of petroleum in asphalt and repurposes plastic waste that would otherwise contaminate environments, according to MacReber.

It’s also a cheaper alternative than traditional asphalt.

If the process becomes more widely implemented throughout the US, it could mitigate plastic pollution and help the country deal with its ailing network of roads.

Read More: Haiti Is Cleaning Up Its Streets by Turning Plastic Bottles Into Ink Cartridges

“Recycled plastic binders are ‘closing the loop’ by using plastic that had been used for something else and giving it new life, keeping the plastic out of our landfills and oceans,” Sara McKinstry, campus sustainability manager, told the UCSD Guardian. “The recycled plastic product also has a lower embodied carbon footprint than traditional bitumen, preventing some greenhouse gases from being emitted and contributing to climate change.”

MacReber’s CEO Toby McCartney started the company because he saw plastic waste as both a threat to the planet and a valuable resource.

Globally, more than 420 million tons of plastic are produced annually and around 75% gets thrown away, where it ends up contaminating the global environment. The world’s oceans absorb around 13 million tons of plastic annually, which harms more than 700 marine animals including whales, krill, turtles, and coral.

MacReber’s process works by first collecting plastic waste that would otherwise go to landfills or ecosystems and sorting them according to their polymer structures. For example, plastic bottles and plastic bags have different properties.

Read More: India's New Roads Are Made With Recycled Plastic

The company then breaks the plastic into three different types of pellets that vary in durability and pliability. Asphalt producers buy the pellets that fit their needs — for example, roads with lots of heavy machinery traffic would require more durable pellets — and melt it into bitumen, which is the petroleum-based binding agent in asphalt.

McCartney said that the pellets can be incorporated seamlessly into any existing asphalt infrastructure. Since the pellets are melted and converted into bitumen, the presence of plastic disappears, according to the company.

“It’s important that our plastics all fully homogenise into the mix,” MacReber wrote in a company frequently asked questions section. “There are therefore no plastics present in the end asphalt – just a polymer modified bitumen. So no microplastics are in the end asphalt mix, and no leaching of any plastics can occur.”

Roads made from plastic waste have been criticized in the past as being misleading because of their potential to spread microplastics into the environment. Microplastics saturate the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. In fact, the average human consumes at least 70,000 microplastics annually.

Read More: You're Eating 2,000 Microplastics Each Year Through Table Salt: Report

The health consequences of microplastic consumption are still unclear, according to National Geographic. But microplastics attract pollutants when in the environment, collecting agricultural pesticides, chemicals from industrial plants, greenhouse gas emissions, and more.

MacReber argues that this contamination wouldn’t happen with its roads and the amount of plastic it could conceivably convert to asphalt is staggering.

In fact, the company claims that every 10 tons of asphalt made with its uses 71,432 plastic bottles or 435,592 plastic bags.

With more than 4 million miles of road in need of repair throughout the US, MacReber could find a broad customer base in the country, especially because plastic pollution has energized a lot of US citizens who are eager to protect the planet.

“It is fantastic to see my school continue leading the way in implementing sustainable practices like this,” Sophie Haddad, UCSD California public interest research group chair, told the UCSD Guardian. “These roads address plastic pollution and help us pave a way toward a cleaner future. Students here love our beaches so much, so it’s great to see UCSD taking action to recycle plastics so they don’t end up polluting the ocean.”

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174
AID AND DEVELOPMENT

What is fragility and why does it matter in the fight against extreme poverty?

April 10 2019 | By: EMILY HUIE

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If you’ve watched the news lately, you might have heard the term “fragile state.” When a crisis hits a fragile state, the effects can be devastating, and often contribute to the cycle of extreme poverty. In order to end extreme poverty [by 2030], the world must do better about reaching the extreme poor who live in fragile states. This is a big challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

There are currently more than 735 million people living in extreme poverty. Almost two-thirds (over 514 million) of these people are concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected states, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, 35 of the world’s current fragile states are in sub-Saharan Africa. Experts predict that by 2030, more than 80% of people living in extreme poverty will be in fragile states.

So what exactly is fragility and how can it affect countries? A country or region is generally classified as fragile when it is vulnerable to shocks – violent conflict, natural disasters or economic crises – and lacks the capacity to cope with them. Citizens of a fragile state have to deal with a lot of instability, and they are exposed to higher risks when the unexpected happens.

Countries can be fragile for a number of different reasons. Some governments do not have the capacity to create a resilient environments . In some cases they lack the resources, in others corrupt leaders are more concerned with consolidating power and wealth for themselves than using state resources to provide basic services. Other factors such as natural disasters, regional instability, ethnic conflicts or violence can also make a country fragile.

Regardless of what causes fragility, when things go wrong, the citizens are hardest hit.

If you keep up with current events, you’re probably familiar with the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In the DRC, decades of exploitation and ethnic rivalries have led to protracted and violent conflicts over political power and natural resources. Although the civil war officially ended in 2003, violence is still widespread, particularly in the eastern part of the country. These conflicts have been at the expense of citizens’ basic needs.

When an Ebola outbreak began last August in the DRC, medical professionals, aid workers, and government officials were unable to reach communities because of poor infrastructure, weak health systems, and conflict. To make things worse, while medical workers struggled to reach those affected, communities struggled to trust those workers because often their experiences lead them to distrust the government and other officials. The result is an ongoing health crisis that has led to over 900 infections, and over 560 deaths.

People living in fragile states, like the DRC, face even more difficulty escaping extreme poverty.

Displacement, increased likelihood of disease, and food scarcity are just some of the things that can come about from a crisis. That’s why working to end fragility will have immense effects on combating extreme poverty, and prevent bad situations from becoming catastrophic.

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