THINK
THINK

Women are up to how many more times likely than men to die from extreme weather events caused by climate change?

The answer:
14

Source: UN Women Facts & Figures on Gender & Climate Change

Half the Sky

February 19, 2013

Extreme weather set the stage for the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2012. With winds of 260 km/h, Typhoon Bopha was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines. Hurricane Sandy in the Americas caused $75 billion in damages and killed 285 people in seven countries. In the face of such climate extremes, is there hope for the future? As a delegate to the Doha conference, I can say—unequivocally—yes there is.

As Canada’s delegate for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), I spoke with the voice of 10 million members. Guides and scouts are passionate about the environment and girls’ and women’s role in positive change—and we have been for 100 years.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change and are an essential part of the solution. We do hold up half the sky!

Bringing these linkages to light in an Islamic state was my core purpose for two weeks in Doha. With 10 other WAGGGS delegates, I lobbied for non-formal education of girls in environmental issues and the participation of women in the climate change decision-making process.

Whether in traditional Arabic tents bursting with colourful majlis-style cushions or muted caucus meeting rooms at the Qatar National Convention Centre, we shared ideas and personal experience to inform and inspire.

I was deeply moved by stories of climate change impacts sustained in the global South. Women and girls now must walk even farther to fetch and carry water. Female fatalities from natural disasters are enormously disproportionate because girls (who are not taught to swim or climb trees) cannot escape to safety.

The Doha conference concluded with the decision to adopt a universal climate change agreement by 2015. While many decried the lack of progress, the WAGGGS delegation had cause for celebration. A landmark decision on gender balance will strengthen women’s representation in the bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Though sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated and taxed by acronym memorization, I delighted in the local atmosphere. Offered impromptu warm Qatari hospitality under the palm canopied Corniche waterfront promenade, I savoured sulaimani (chai) tea and Arabian music, and felt hope for our shared planet.

Sara Caverley

Elsewhere on the web

Canada’s National Statement at COP 18

The Climate Change Performance Index 2013

UNFCCC Youth Constituency

UN Women Facts & Figures on Gender & Climate Change

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts – COP 18 Delegates’ Blog

World Bank Climate Change Report “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided”

The 23 ½ Hour Solution

January 1, 2013

In 1972, a 30-year-old Canadian was as fit as a 60-year-old Swede. Today, things aren’t much better. In fact, between 1981 and 2009, Canadians slipped downhill. Based on critical measures such as waist circumference, body mass index and body composition (fat vs. lean) Canadian fitness levels have declined significantly. [more >]

In 1972, a 30-year-old Canadian was as fit as a 60-year-old Swede. Today, things aren’t much better. In fact, between 1981 and 2009, Canadians slipped downhill. Based on critical measures such as waist circumference, body mass index and body composition (fat vs. lean) Canadian fitness levels have declined significantly.

As for aerobic fitness, 40% of men and 47% of women rate only fair; 32% rate good; and only 27% of men and 22% of women rate excellent/very good.

And we are getting bigger around the middle.

In young adults aged 20 to 39, the percentage with a waist circumference rated high risk for health problems more than quadrupled, from 5% in 1981 to 21% in 2009 among men, and from 6% to 31% among women. The percentage of Canadians 40 to 69 years in that category more than doubled between 1981 and 2009. Source

We are not alone.

Based on field fitness testing, global trends show a worldwide decrease in children’s aerobic fitness that cannot be explained solely by their increased fatness. The culprit? To some extent, it is decreased physical activity.

Physical inactivity is one of the five leading global risk factors for mortality and is estimated to cause 2 million deaths per year.

The good news? Exercising JUST 30 minutes a day is a powerful antidote for much that ails us. There is strong evidence for the benefits of exercise in controlling diabetes, joint problems, depression and more!

Watch Dr. Mike Evan’s creative video to find out more about the 23 ½ hour solution.

Elsewhere on the web

Adhawk supported Public Health Ontario/Cancer Care Ontario in writing and designing their joint report Taking Action to Prevent Chronic Disease: Recommendations for a Healthier Ontario. See the project profile. Read the full report.

World Health Organization Recommended levels of physical activity for adults aged 18 - 64 years

Statistics Canada Canadian Health Measures Survey: Body composition and fitness

World Health Organization fact sheet The Impact of Chronic Disease in Canada

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication Preventing Chronic Disease

World Health Organization report Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment

Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada

Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance