Canada Weak on Climate Rights

Climate change wise, it's hard to be Canadian these days. According to a recent WWF report we have the highest emissions per capita of any G8 country and we rank dead last in terms of what we are trying to do about it. What's more, no one seems all that concerned. Thousands of protestors are gathering on Blackheath in London, while on Parliament Hill in Ottawa we've got... well Parliament Hill.

Charlotte Sachs (of Oxfam Canada) broke the silence in Wednesday's Halifax Herald by making a connection that helps give a better picture of what climate change has in store.

Say you don't care about polar bears (I suspect that silenty, that's most of us).

Let's look at people instead: Climate Change will kill more women than men. It will decrease the opportunities that poor women and girls have for education, and make it more difficult for them to work their way out of poverty. I'm not focusing on women by chance; these realities are grounded on unsettling statistics:

-- 80% of the people who die in climate disasters are women and girls.
-- Those disasters have increased 400% since the 1980s.
-- 70% of the 1.3billion people living in abject poverty are women.

-- Women in many of these poor communities already walk an average of 6 kilometers a day for water. Climate Change induced drought will only make this worse. [I'd add that it will also make subsistance agriculture – another area dominated by women – much more difficult and time consuming.] As time spent on basic necessities increases, little or no time is left for eduction or training.

Human rights, gender equity, the idea that girls should be able to go to school and build a better future for themselves. These are all issues that Canadians have helped to define and defend. As Sachs says, it's time that we start seeing the links between these issues and a changing climate. What's more, it's time for our governments at all levels to start acting as if they understood that climate change will have real impacts on real people. Many of those people will be men, but the overwhelming majority of the most vulnerable will be women.

Feel like grabbing a tent and going to Parliament Hill? It's here. Feel like writing your MP? They're here. (Well not literally of course).

see also: Women and Climate

"Cree aboriginal group to join London climate camp protest over tar sands"

images: reuters, guardian, panhala


2 Responses to "Canada Weak on Climate Rights"

Alex Aylett said... 28 August 2009 at 12:27

Sachs says that more aid to be given to women living in communities affected by climate change.

The barefoot colleges projects (covered in the previous post), are a great model for how "aid" – in the form of training and materials – can make women equal partners in adapting to a new climate and increasing the quality of our lives with a minimum impact on our surrounding.

Anonymous said... 28 August 2009 at 17:00

each citizen of every community needs to go out into their world prepared to repeat this information to any & all those we meet during our day in such a way as to really get their attention, their interest & their engagement to call & write

blogs are great
but it's going to take
face to face
human interaction
to change people's minds
about their comfort level


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