For most Australians, 2019 will always be remembered as the year the country burned – wiping out 24 million acres of land, killing at least 28 people and destroying some 2,000 homes.
It was the year that blazes turned skies orange and made breathing the air dangerous for our health. An estimated 1 billion animals were lost, and scientists fear long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems.
2019 will also be remembered by many as the year that Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to acknowledge not only the clear and present danger presented by the bushfires, but the general public mood around his government’s inertia on the important issue of climate change.
A national disaster
And, to make matters worse, as the country continued to go up in endless flames that teams of firefighters were unable to control, climate change scientists from around the world commented that the apocalyptic scenes being portrayed by the media were definitely a sign of what is to come if climate change is ignored and temperatures are allowed to rise to dangerous levels.
For the past few decades, scientists have been very clear about global warming, saying that prolonged droughts and increased storm intensity are two of the most likely results of climate change.
As Greg Mullins, former commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW and a climate councillor wrote in the Guardian newspaper: “Make no mistake: this disaster is a weather-driven event, not a fuel-driven one, underpinned by years of drying and warming. Climate change is the driver of increasing extreme weather.”
But as the national disaster continued to unfold, what became incredibly frustrating for Australians, is that the federal government really didn’t appear to be taking any notice. Nothing, it seemed, could sway Scott Morrison’s commitment to ‘no change’ to Australia’s existing climate policies – not the the Torres Strait taking Australia to the UN, school kids on strike, thousands of people marching the streets in protest nor comments made by the world’s most famous climate change activist, Greta Thunburg.
Then, bizarrely, on Christmas Eve, Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce (himself a farmer in drought) posted a video to social media suggesting that God is in fact the answer to climate change.
State and Local Governments need to act
But there was a voice of reason. And it came from a state politician.
In fact, New South Wales Minister for Environment Matt Kean broke ranks with his federal Coalition counterparts, arguing that not only was climate change very definitely a factor to be considered in the context of the bushfire crisis, but in a radio interview days before Christmas, he also said that climate change must be dealt with as a matter of ‘science, and not religion.’
And, in a move unusual for a politician, at the same time, he actually made a real commitment to change, announcing a plan to increase the NSW government’s emissions reduction targets. In doing so, he set an example for the rest of the state and territory governments around Australia. Because, if the federal government is going to sit on its hands for the foreseeable future, then the state governments must now pick up the mantle of climate change.
Public health emergency
In recent months, aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have gone on record saying they fear being the country’s first climate change refugees, fears that are by no means unfounded.
Last summer was the hottest on record, and also the driest in 27 years. In the year to July 2019, Alice Springs reported 129 days over 35C, and 55 days over 40C. A heat monitoring study also showed that on some unshaded streets the surface temperature was between 61C and 68C. At the start of this summer, temperatures were also predicted to soar, only to be made worse by severe drought.
Several of the remote communities and outstations in northern and central Australia are already running out of water, others have exceptionally poor quality water.
Predictions by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress for the health impacts of heat are dire. In its submission to the Northern Territory’s government’s climate change policy discussion paper, it outlined some of them: “Increased sickness and mortality due to heat stress, increased food insecurity and malnutrition, increased risk from infectious disease, poorer mental health and an increased potential for social conflict.”
In the weeks before Christmas, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) too, also issued a climate change health emergency as Sydney suffered through thick haze measured at 11 times the ‘dangerous’ levels. Regional areas too were also covered in layers of smoke.
Despite the fact that Australia was held up as a global example of potential climate change catastrophe throughout 2019, we are, of course, not alone.
Tens of millions of people around the globe are also under significant threat from climate change.
In 2017, a study by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) predicted that climate change would create the world’s biggest refugee crisis. The study called on governments everywhere to agree a new legal framework to protect climate refugees and for leaders to do more to implement the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement.
Communities can effect real change
The good news in all of this, is that where governments are failing, cities and local precincts are picking up the charge. One example is The C40 coalition (90+ cities representing 650 million people) including New York, London and Sydney have agreed to reduce their emissions in line with the ambitious elements of the Paris Agreement.
Another example is the regional town of Byron Bay on the far northern coast of New South Wales. Always well-known for its eco-friendly policies, in 2015 it set an ambitious target to be a “zero emissions shire” by 2025 by cutting greenhouse gases in a range of areas, through a plan that involves boosting renewable energy uptake, improving public transport and options for electric vehicles as well as changing land use practices and improving the management of its water and waste.
The role of business
Byron Bay is also home to innovative energy start-up Enova Energy which is working to localise renewable energy generation, storage and distribution via microgrids, solar gardens and other community energy models. No mean feat for a small company started with funding provided by 1600 local shareholders who believed in the power of the vision.
These businesses and communities are proving that they can do what the federal government won’t do – creating impactful change at a grass roots level.
Undoubtedly, climate change is an issue for federal governments to manage – there needs to be clear policy set for the entire nation, but if recent times have shown us anything it is that climate change can’t wait. The sense of urgency is gathering momentum, and as such, State and Local governments as well as business and community groups may well be the ones to successfully lead the charge.
Rally Against Police Murder July 4 Surrey BC
Vigil for Ejaz Choudry and Rally Against Police Murder
MOVED TO JULY 4
We demand and public inquiry into how Police Murder are handled.
The Al-jamia Mosque in Vancouver and Coalition Against Bigotry will hold a prayer vigil on Friday June 26th at the Al-Jamia Mosque at 655 West 8th Ave during at
during Friday Juma prayers at 1 pm to mourn the murdered of Choudry, a 62 year old South Asian man struggling with his mental health by the police in Malton Ontario on Saturday June 20th.
Because it a 50 person limit in the Mosque, people can join and online solidarity prayer vigil on Facebook. Please can pray in their own way and time or have a moment of silence to think about the tragic murder of Ejaz Choudry.
Then join West Coast Cop Watch and Coalition Against Bigotry-Pacific for a Rally and March Against Police murder and abuse on July 1st at 1 pm at the Central City Mall where the Independent Investigation Office of BC is located, to protest the lack of police responsibly and accountability of the murder and abuse by the police. We demand a public inquiry into how police murders and handled in BC. We want to remember Chantel Moore, Ejaz Choudry Kyaw Din, Tony Du, Navarone Woods and many others, mostly Indigenous, Black and People of Colour who have been murdered or abused by the police.
Kyaw Din, who also struggled with his mental health like Ejaz Choudry was also murdered by the RCMP in Coquitlam last year in his home. The Din family held a rally outside the IIO office and Surrey City Centre in February demanding answers from the IIO. They don’t even know the name of the police officer who killed their brother. We also remember Tony Du who was murdered by the Vancouver Police, a Vietnamese, Chinese man also struggling with his Mental health. The police officer who shot Du did hot get charged with murder.
We also Navarone Woods, a Gitxsan indigenous man murdered by the Skytrain Police. The Coroners Jury and also asked for better mental health support during police incidents.
We ask people to wear masks and keep 2 meters distance. We will march to the RCMP E Division Headquarters and then end with a potluck physical distance picnic in Green Timbers Urban Forest.
We acknowledge that this event is being organised on the occupied, traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples – specifically the Musquem, Squamish, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo, Stolo, Musqueam, Katzie and Qayqayt Nations.
For more information, contact Imtiaz Popat at 604 396-2072
Local Innovation Combats Overdose Crisis
OVERDOSE INTERVENTION APP: New Digital Technology Released to Address the Overdose Crisis
Today, Oxus Machine Works Limited (OMW Ltd)., a local health technology firm that specializes in innovations for diverse communities, announced that they are releasing the Overdose Intervention App (ODi) to combat the ongoing Public Health Emergency and the staggering rise of overdose deaths during COVID-19.
Of this innovation and its impact, Upkar Singh Tatlay (Managing Director) of the tech firm Oxus Machine Works said, “This vital tool engages the entire community in ensuring we are prepared for any circumstance that involves an overdose emergency. Often the onus is on the user themselves but by placing this digital asset in everyone’s hands we are making sure that this a community-wide response and we are all empowered to act. In addition, communities that are most directly impacted by this health crisis such as South Asians are often left out of consideration when it comes to programming, technology, and content. ODi ensures that the unique needs of BIPOC communities are met through the delivery of linguistic and culturally appropriate content.”
The deployment of the Overdose Intervention App will happen through a network of peers with lived-experience along with the ongoing work of outreach events that are held every week. Media and key stakeholders are encouraged to attend to see proactive steps taking place to address the overdose crisis.
Overdose Intervention App: The Overdose Intervention App (ODi) allows users of different communities and language backgrounds to rapidly respond to an overdose emergency with resources and guidance that is suitable to their needs. This app includes an innate 9-1-1 calling feature, techniques to identify a suspected overdose, steps to administer naloxone, and sequential guidance on emergency first aid response. The Overdose Intervention App allows everyone to access linguistic and culturally relevant resources to offset the dangers of an overdose for free on both Android and Apple devices.
The Witch of British Columbia, Canada | Stand-Up Comedy by Madhav Mehandru
This video is about last year when 3 Stand-up comedians from Punjab had a stand-up comedy show in British Columbia [Victoria], Canada on 1st August 2019. How I and other Stand-up comedians Raj and Akshay from Kapurthala [Punjab] tackled difficulties of first time going in Canada and performing on a big stage in victoria [British Columbia], Canada. As a Punjabi, we were very excited to visit Canada and performed there and it was a rollercoaster ride from landing in Canada and meeting difficulties from time to time. First, we had difficulty in understanding English than when I met a witch in Victoria [British Columbia] and how we tacked that witch then our show organizer refused to pay. This video covers our days in Canada from 31 July to 3rd August and finally arriving home in Kapurthala, Punjab on 4th August.
Follow me on social media Profiles :- Instagram:@madhav.live/
By Madhav Mehandru
DIVERSEcity CEO Neelam Sahota talks about supporting mothers at home and in the workplace for Mother’s Day
On Mother’s Day this year, let’s take time to not only celebrate mothers, but really acknowledge them. See them. Not just the smile on their lips, but the worry in their eyes. The exhaustion on their faces. The load on their shoulders.
The COVID-19 global crisis has highlighted the emotional, often invisible, workload that mothers carry. It has also increased that workload.
As we self-isolate in our homes, mothers are carrying the burden of homeschooling, often while working full-time jobs from home, in addition to the cooking, cleaning, shopping and so on.
Many are also still working outside the home, as leaders on health care’s frontlines, or working in essential or service industries, helping us all safely access groceries and essentials during this crisis. We are also seeing amazing women leaders rise up to battle this crisis at the policy level.
For all of them, traditional lines of work and home are being blurred, and it’s important we don’t dismiss or ignore the pressure mothers may be under now — and as we rebuild our workplaces after COVID-19.
As a mother myself, I remember the challenges of building a career in a traditional workplace when my kids were young. When I took on the role of CEO at DIVERSEcity with three children under the age of 12, I was fortunate to have a strong support network. But I still had to make accommodations and choose priorities for myself as a professional versus a mother. During this crisis, I can only imagine the strain working mothers of young children are currently under.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission says that COVID-19 is “having a disproportionate impact on women. Social and economic barriers have been amplified for racialized women, Indigenous women, migrant women, women with low income, single mothers and other women. They are at greater risk of job loss, poverty, food insecurity, loss of housing and domestic violence.”
The Commission recommends taking a feminist approach to re-establishing our workplaces. Canadian Women’s Foundation calls for us to invest in diverse women’s leadership opportunities and empower girls, asking us to imagine what women could achieve if we supported them to the fullest.
Flexible workplaces need to be more of the norm
As a leader of a social services organization, I want all my employees, especially mothers, to feel supported during this crisis. As we all continue to work from home, providing services to our clients through phone and virtual options, I want them to know we see them, we appreciate them and we will give them the flexibility they need not just during COVID-19, but as part of our permanent organizational culture. I would not be in my role today if I did not have flexibility in my career along the way. This is my commitment to working mothers in our organization. You don’t have to choose between being a mother and being a professional. Organizational cultures like DIVERSEcity’s need to be the equalizer and more of the norm in our workplaces today.
As for what’s next? Let’s use the lessons from this crisis to reimagine the 21st century workplace more thoughtfully. Let’s all be more flexible and more authentic to who we are and what we need as professionals, as parents, as humans.
To all the mothers holding things together for their families in these challenging times, have a happy Mother’s Day.
Seeking Yoga Instructors interested in giving classes outdoors in parks
Just wondering if there are any Yoga Instructors interested in giving outdoor classes at Bakerview Park in South Surrey? It is an awesome, well tended park with lots of space for social distancing. Since Community Centers are closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future, activities like this would be great and popular, I bet. Specially with the weather getting nicer everyday. Anyone?
Contact email@example.com if interested.
06aug2:00 pm3:00 pmBetter Sleep for a Better Brain: Free Webinar by Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Location: Free webinar by Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic, 13737 96 Ave Suite 204, Surrey, BC V3V 0C6 Cost: FREE
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