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Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

A whole bunch of activists came together last Saturday afternoon for a Flashmob to End Global Poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal review summit wrapped on Tuesday, so we decided we would make some noise for the Millennium Development Goals! Check it out!

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My flat tire

When I hoped off my bike after work this afternoon, it wasn’t the sunniest of the days. Sunshine aside, being able to zip around the city at high speeds without the rain pelting down is reason enough to “carpe diem” and head for Stanley Park. After a quick snack and bumping into an old friend, I decided to head back to homestead only to find my bicycle tire went flat. Drat! I had built my routine around my new wheels. Finding out that I missed the bicycle repair shop by 20 minutes, I decided to hit up the local market for some tasty dinner options.

As I loaded my bike up with the groceries, I immediately started laughing (inside my head) that loading up and pushing vegetables on a bicycle in Vancouver requires a very specific set of circumstances, where in Uganda it’s not only routine but a lifeline as pictured below.

This segue certainly put things into perspective. Spending an hour walking my decrepit bike from Stanley Park and to the vegetable market this afternoon was an inconvenience, it did not however, bear any dire consequences. I could have left my bike in the park and it would not have impacted my overall mobility or my financial situation drastically. I could have called a cab, or stopped at a restaurant for food and paid my with my credit card. Not only that, I did not have to carry water! That is the largest difference that came to mind as I walked the streets of Vancouver and compared my lifestyle to many rural Ugandans I met last year.

All in, it was kind of fun having people flash me strange glances as I pushed my bike down the streets with fruits and vegetables draped from the handlebars. If only everyone knew how common an activity this is in many parts of the world.

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A re-post from my friend Nicole Kindred’s site – http://blog.knicolekindred.com/. Nicole Kindred is a former Oxfam Canada crusader and recently transplanted to New York:

April 22, 2010 – New York City, NY

Earth Day has been happening for the past 40 years and is now bigger than ever!

The Earth Day Network is the global coordinator or Earth Day events and activities. One can find out what events are taking place in their area by doing a search on their site.

I have recently relocated to New York City and was thrilled to see that the “Be the E” campaign is being promoted throughout the city. The E campaign creates the opportunity for individuals to speak out about what they are doing to take positive action for the Earth. E action can be manifested in many forms  -conserving energy, composting, planting a tree, consuming local/organic food, biking, recycling, installing solar panels, protesting environmental degradation, and/or saving rain forests. Be the E is a call to action that evokes Gandhi’s plea to “be the change you want to see in the world.” I am E is rooted in the notion that everything on Earth is dependent on everything else and that the Earth is one living organism.  Learn more at earthdayny.org.

For those of you who are still in Vancouver, my friends at Oxfam are putting together the second annual Earth Day Walk for Climate Justice.  Be sure to join them this Saturday at 10:30am in front of the Art Gallery to walk to Jericho Beach in celebration of Earth Day and women’s rights world wide.

Nicole Kindred

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This short trailer is moving. For me, I felt ashamed due to my absence of action and outrage on this issue. I certainly feel that mainstream ‘Canadians’ have filed Aboriginals as an outgroup. In Vancouver, the media and the general population give very little heed to the incredible injustice and oppression that the original caretakers of this land have undergone. It is almost as if we wish they would just go away.

If anyone has seen this film, please comment. I am going to track down a copy and watch it. For more information please click the image below for their website.

All the best,

Scott Andrews

Stolen Sister Documentary

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Are you passionate about international development? Curious as to how your daily actions are affecting the world around you? Want to experience examples of problem solving overseas? Feel a connection?

On March 27th, 2010, 350 passionate students and professionals will explore how local actions impact extreme poverty at the 7th annual Engineers Without Borders Bridging the Gap Conference. Held at the Life Sciences Institute on the University of British Columbia Campus, this year’s conference will explore our aim to drive change through our work in Canada and in developing communities. With the theme “Local Action to Global Impact: Vision, Action, Voice” professional and student delegates will examine the influence of our choices at home, on the development field, in parliament and in boardrooms.

The attendees will have a full day of discussion, debate, collaboration and learning, with workshops and sessions led by an engaging line-up of speakers. The conference will close with a keynote address from Dr. Hans Rosling, professor of International Health in Stockholm, Sweden, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières in Sweden and Director of Gapminder Foundation.

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Int. Women's Day March 6 2010

Hundreds rally in Vancouver to celebrate the 99th Annual International Women’s Day. Next year, be ready to watch our city standing in solidarity for Bread and Roses.

Scott

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Today we celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We can stand and look back at this document and everything it stands for with incredible pride and know there is international consensus that “[a]ll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Canadians can look even further back in history and celebrate Ninety years of Women’s suffrage. These two important monuments are not to be taken lightly and it is not my intention to dismiss them, though I want to take this December 10th to measure our reality to their proclamations with respect to Women.

Oxfam International cites that the number one indicator of whether you will be living in poverty is your gender. The 2008 Federal Election in Canada set the record with a whopping 22% for Women represented in Parliament. Globally one out of every three women has been beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Women bear the brunt of the burden associated with climate change. To add salt to the wound, upon election in 2006 the Conservative Government seized funding for women’s groups that do advocacy, lobbying and general research.

In Canada the emancipation of Women is a work in progress at best, but this is by no means a mainstream perception. It is dangerous to look at the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Women Suffrage as the metal for a job well done. On the contrary we must look at a document like the UN Declaration of Human Rights as a benchmark, an target to work towards. My experience with Oxfam’s We Can Campaign in West India really opened my eyes to the extent to which we marginalize the issue of Gender discrimination and Violence Against Women.

We Can Change Maker Meeting in the Gujarat Province of India

The We Can Campaign was developed in South Asia. The Campaign makes use of a very uniquely Ghandian of grassroots mobilization. The idea is to educate others on the issues of Gender discrimination and how it can lead to Violence Against Women and then each member of this campaign takes a pledge. Once taking the pledge you become a Change Maker. The pledge confirms your commitment to speaking out against violence against woman and all forms of gender based discrimination, but each Change Maker pledges to speak to five other people about Violence Against Women. I interpreted this as signing up five other change makers – absolutely brilliant! To give you some perspective of the scope of this campaign in India, the Gujarat district (1 of 30+ districts) had signed on 96,615 change makers in just two years. Further to that incredible accomplishment, each district was mandated to hold 1000 change maker events within a six month period; nearly unfathomable but in true form the Gujarat district had no problem reaching this number.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing for me is the transfer of this Campaign to British Columbia. A campaign developed in the ‘Developing World’ exported and implemented in a ‘Developed Country’. The British Columbia We Can Coalition was launched in the lower mainland in late 2007/early 2008 and has generated some incredible momentum. It began with only three organizations and has grown to become a coalition of over 50 organizations. Recently a incredible website was launched for the BC Coalition with an incredible set of online tools as well as the downloadable workshops and resources for teachers.

This anniversary marks some great achievements but we must not forget what lies ahead. Gender based violence lurks behind closed doors and is often diluted in our psyche by being labelled as a ‘domestic problem’. It is important for men to participate in this discussion and continue to actively raise our awareness of this issue rather than passively accepting this deeply rooted discrimination. I encourage everyone who reads this to sign on and register as a change maker with the BC We Can Campaign and be ready to challenge yourself. A special thanks goes to Anastasia Gaisenok and Miriam Palacios for engaging me with this campaign so that I can change my actions and perspectives and ultimately speak out against Violence Against Women. In the words of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan,

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.”

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