Justice, Gender, and Climate Change
CAUSE Canada has long argued that healthy environments are the cornerstones of just and sustainable societies. Unfortunately, however, women still have lesser economic, political and legal power than men. This compromises women’s capacity to deal with climate change issues at the policy level and yet women and children are the most exposed to the adverse effects of climate change. Part of the reason for this is because they are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood. They are responsible for acquiring potable water and fuel for cooking & heating.
Rural women from the Global South are also the primary producers of locally grown food. However, women experience unequal access to resources and decision making processes. Therefore, in our collective efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change it is important to identify gender-sensitive strategies that respond to the needs of women and children. Actively enabling women to engage in the climate change dialogue is also critically important because of how women view environmental issues. They usually show great concern for the environment, support pro-environmental policies and often vote for environmentally enlightened political leaders.
Empowering women from the Global South to voice their concerns is particularly important because the effects of global warming over the coming decades will impact billions of people living in developing countries. If present climate change trends continue they will face critical shortages of water and food. They will also face greater health risks. It is expected that climate change will increase the incidence of malaria, dengue fever and other parasitic, bacterial and viral infections. Additionally, the intensity and frequency of extreme events such as heat waves, hurricanes, prolonged dry spells, intense rainfall, tornadoes, dust storms and rising sea levels will impact all of humanity. But climate change will exacerbate the world’s challenge of eradicating extreme poverty. Our collective failure to redress the effects of climate change will dramatically impact the world’s most vulnerable people. Women and children from the South will endure the brunt of this evil. Deforestation, water scarcity and land degradation will hurt the poorest of the poor.
CAUSE Canada is currently empowering women’s groups in both Central America and West Africa by teaching literacy, leadership and business skills. CAUSE Canada is also encouraging women to enter political life and explaining to women that women’s legal rights are equal to men’s legal rights and that their national constitutions guarantee them the right to vote at the municipal, provincial / state and federal levels. Giving voice to women will make the world a better, more just and safer place for all! “You should defend those who cannot help themselves. Yes, speak up for the needy and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Trees help maintain soil fertility and prevent soil erosion. They are also critical for groundwater retention, rainmaking, shade, comfort and beauty. Climate Change threatens billions of people, but perhaps subsistence farmers from the Global South are most at risk. Prolonged droughts, flash flooding and other forms of extreme weather will cause food shortages and hunger. The voice of Africa’s female farmers must be heard in developing coping strategies for the coming storm(s).
The Value of Trees
Trees are precious. Land use or economic planning decisions that do not reflect the value of trees are inherently flawed. Disregarding the varied contributions that trees make to rural households and neglecting to measure the full value of the goods and services provided by trees is a critical oversight in designing effective woodland management policies.
Natural woodlands supply rural people with food, fuel, construction materials and medicines. Woodlands help maintain soil fertility and prevent soil erosion. They are also critical for groundwater retention, rainmaking, shade, comfort and beauty. Unfortunately, humanity tends to underestimate the value of trees. Desertification, a socioeconomic process by which natural resources are degraded through unsustainable land-use practices and population pressure, eventually leads to the creation of newly desertified areas. Humankind is destroying 12 million hectares of forest every year. For more information on the value of trees and the importance of woodlots please contact CAUSE Canada.
By Joyce Kilmer
(Written in 1913)
I think I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
The 20th Anniversary Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon,
10Km & 5Km Race
Please join us on September 13, 2015 for the 20th running of one of North America’s “Greenest Races” – as described by Runner’s World.
All proceeds from this race are allocated towards CAUSE Canada’s many excellent poverty reduction initiatives in both West Africa and Central America. For 20 years the revenue from this race has helped to teach rural women to read & write, plant trees in the highlands of Guatemala, support small businesses owned by women, help to contain the epidemics of both HIV / AIDS & Ebola, and through the CAUSE Kids program, the race has also helped to send thousands of African children to primary schools.
None of this wonderful work would have been possible without the participation of our athletes. Thanks to everyone who has ever volunteered or entered this excellent event. For the 20th Anniversary the race will once again be donating to every participant a live tree! Take it home, plant it, and make the world a greener place!