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Issue No. 8 Week of October 25th, 2021

Wavemakers!

Making Waves Meets with Mayor Elect Jyoti Gondek

On Friday Oct 22nd, just 4 days after Jyoti Gondek was elected as Mayor, Making Waves was invited to join 10 other women in Historic City Hall, and talk to Jyoti about how Calgary can become a more gender equal city. I know Jyoti made an impression on us, but I had no idea what an impression we made on Jyoti. In that hour together, history was made—a group of women meeting with Calgary’s first female Mayor-- and we were a part of it! Eden has captured the moment in a reflection below.

The Climate Crisis and Canada is the Worst

What is really on my mind is the climate crisis. Are you as panicked as I am? I am scared. As I have mentioned before, I despise how so much of the responsibility of the climate crisis has been pushed onto the individual. It is not our fault. As we learned from The Reality Bubble, a massive blind spot has been purposefully created and cultivated around energy production, and we have been trained to be unquestioning consumers (check out America’s Dirty Dozen, men who continue to push and profit off of fossil fuels). What we can do as individuals, however, is to follow the lead of Greta Thunberg who is revealing what is behind the blind spot and is asking us to make sure our actions are aligned with our words. How do we do this? By following the science and ensuring our plan for the future prioritizes life and supporting social systems, rather than prioritizing profits.

This weekend is the beginning of the Cop26, the UN’s Climate Change Conference, being held in Glasgow, and is considered to be our last chance to make a plan to save human life on earth. Global emissions need to be HALVED by 2030. Yes, in less than 8 years we need to HALF our global emissions. We are definitely not on track. The UNEP Emissions Gap Report showed that plans submitted by countries only reduced predicted 2030 emissions by only 7.5% (yikes!!) which is nowhere near the 55% reduction that we actually need to stop the temperature from rising past 1.5C. What in the world is going on? Where is the leadership? It seems like no one is even trying.

How bad is Canada? We are BAD. Per capita, we have the worst record by a long shot. The average Canadian (in 2019) produced 14.2 tonnes of CO2 (Australia and the US also have among the highest per capita carbon footprints). The grey area below is the zone we need to be in that align with global targets. Can we as individuals make changes to meet these targets? Partially. We can stop/reduce meat and dairy consumption. We can be mindful about how much we consume and what we consume.

But more importantly, we need to demand action that will allow us to reduce our footprint as a population, including:

  • widespread and functional public transportation

  • lower priced electric vehicles, more chargers, charged by solar (not coal)

  • carbon taxes

  • cap oil and gas production (Quebec just declared an end to fossil fuel extraction – whoot!)

  • end to fossil fuel subsidies

  • investment into renewables

  • clear targets and accountability for emission reductions in the next 5 years.


Check out Climate Action Tracker and see how Canada is doing, especially compared to other countries. Please don’t get distracted when people talk about how clean Canada’s energy is and that we have the lowest emissions per barrel of oil. If we are still producing oil, we are contributing to the problem. As you can see from the graph on the left, we have not made much of an effort to reduce our emissions (the drop at 2020 is from covid). And on the right, you can see how much work we have to do to reach our fair share target.


Why is this an issue for Making Waves and women speaking up?

Because people are already dying, displaced, and suffering because of changing conditions and weather events resulting from the climate crisis (remember the heat bubble that killed 600 people in Canada this summer?) which is being driven by fossil fuels.

Because women are being disproportionally impacted by the climate crisis, in the same ways that we have been by Covid-19 (did you check out the Women Deliver talk last week on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and the Climate Crisis?). Social systems are disintegrating.

Because women and those who are marginalized and vulnerable are losing gains that have made towards equality. We want to make sure that everyone has a life of dignity, where rights are respected.

What is our responsibility as individuals in this crisis? Because our governments are dragging their feet, it is up to us to insist and convince governments to act now. They are the only ones capable of making change happen at the scale and speed we need. They know what needs to be done, and they need to act decisively and unapologetically.

I know lots of people talk about how the discussion around the climate crisis is too often obscure and negative. Greta has made it very clear. And despite the current situation, she is optimistic. Why? She believes in us, in humanity. She started out protesting all by herself, and now hundreds of thousands of people join her every Friday, all around the world, as she continues her weekly strikes. We all want the same thing: to be able to live and thrive. The next 6 years are critical, and we can’t wait. Speak up and act now: demand that our governments make clear plans to transition and meet the Paris Agreement targets in the next 6 years—that is 2028, not 2030, and definitely not 2050.

Hoping world leaders will commit to averting the crisis.


Eden Guterman: Making Waves and Mayor Jyoti Gondek

I asked Eden to write about our meeting with the Mayor Elect last week:

Last Friday, I was invited to join a conversation with the new Calgary mayor and other women who are passionate about gender equality. For everyone in the room, the fact that we had elected our first female mayor was reason enough for celebration. Unsure what to expect, I met with Hanita outside of city hall full of excitement.

From the beginning of Making Waves, I saw this beautiful space we created as an essential forum for open conversations about feminism. Being invited to take part in the discussion at city hall felt as if now the rest of the world was ready to jump in on the conversation. A big motto I have learned since I joined Making Waves was “Put in the Work”, I felt our voices have been brought to the conversation as a result of the amazing work we have been doing.

After entering historic city hall, we sat on couches and arm chairs in a circle with Jyoti and various female founders and CEOs from different women’s organizations in Calgary. Jyoti started the conversation by asking: “What can we (the municipal government) do for your organizations? What problems are your organizations struggling with? What support are you missing?”. These questions led to an open conversation about childcare, reliable transit, affordable housing, safety, miscarriages, and tampons. We discussed how interconnected and impacted society is as a whole by what is put into a category still deemed “Women’s Issues”. Although all the women were from different sectors of society, addressing specific concerns such as childcare would have a domino effect on other sectors such as female engagement in politics. This interconnection is what made the conversation so lively, as ideas kept building on top of one another. It was amazing to see the strength and support we can give one another as we all combat the same norms and barriers from society. Jyoti created a comfortable and compassionate space, and I was inspired by the accomplishments and drive of every women in the room. A new fire was relit in me after the meeting and I am excited for the future of Making Waves and for Calgary to be progressing forward.


Get Informed (Zoom)

  1. Women in Climate Policy: Thursday Oct 28th, 12-1:15 pm EST (Thanks Lisa!)

Get an overview of climate policy at a macro level, and meet some inspiring women working in the field. We’ll explore the big changes that need to happen, and how we can help make them in a way that brings everybody along. You’ll get a handle on new pathways for your action, and ways to apply yourself to upstream policy change that goes beyond mason jars. Not that mason jars aren’t totally awesome!

2. UNICEF Canada Youth Activism Summit: Friday November 19th, 1-1:30 EST (Thanks Frances!)

In honor of National Child Day, young people, adult influencers and decision-makers will come together for an intergenerational event. Register now to hear directly from young people about their ideas to build back better and the future they envision for young people in Canada. Young people will discuss their recommendations on four advocacy issues: Disability and Accessibility, Climate Change, Mental Health, and Racial Justice and Indigenous Rights.

Donate

I co-chair Canada’s UNICEF Gala which supports education for girls in Uganda by giving them access to clean, safe water and private latrines. This year the online auction is open to everyone (we have fantastic items!), and anyone can make a donation (minimum $20) or buy a water pump ($383). Susanne, who many of you met at our last workshop in April, has been the MC for our in-person gala for many years. She travelled to Uganda to meet the girls and the communities we are investing in, and is a marvellous advocate for education for girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.


MW Bookclub

Drumroll please!! The books we will be reading for the 2021-22 year are:

January 16th, 2022

Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism & the Need for Collective Change

Aja Barber

March 13th, 2022

Iron Widow (Fiction)

Xiran Jay Zhao

June 5th, 2022

We Are Displaced

Malala Yousafzai & Refugee Girls from Around the World

If you are interested in being on a panel to discuss one of these books, want to moderate one of the bookclubs, or have a guest that you think would be willing to share their experiences with us, let me know!


MW Blog: Call for Submissions

Last year Eliza suggested that we have a blog on the website where people could write about their experiences with Making Waves. It’s a fantastic idea, so this is a call for submissions to the new MW Blog.

What impact has Making Waves had on you?

What is your favorite Making Waves experience, and why?

What is it like to be a panelist on Making Waves?

What is it like to be a panel moderator on Making Waves?

Why you joined Making Waves

This is all about practicing making waves!


Little Amal: Her 8000 km Journey is Nearly Over

Little Amal is an 11 foot puppet depicting a 9 year old Syrian girl who is searching for her mother. The creators wanted to bring attention to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, the displacement of over 30 million children (the population of Canada!), which is just a small part of the total of 80 million displaced people. Every 2 seconds a person is displaced by conflict. Made by the creators behind War Horse, Little Amal shows how Public Art can can be used to make waves. The refugee crisis is such an important issue that somehow does not get enough attention, and why we chose to learn more about the experience of girls who are refugees through our bookclub selection.

A little girl on a BIG Journey

Little Amal is the giant puppet at the heart of The Walk, travelling 8,000km in support of refugees.

In 2021, the 3.5 metre-tall living artwork of a young Syrian refugee child will walk across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees. As we follow Amal from Gaziantep, near the Turkey-Syria border to Manchester, UK, she is shining a light on the stories of millions of young refugees who are displaced, and the many who are forced to risk arduous journeys for the change of a better life.


Amal arrived in Coventry on Oct 27th and will visit Birmingham, Sheffield, Barnsley before reaching her final destination of Manchester on the 3rd of November.



How to Avoid Sexual Assault: A Quick and Easy Guide* for perpetrators

Yes please! Let’s raise men to NOT assault women. (Thanks Kate!)

Ellie Mahony at the Sexual Violence Centre in Cork, Ireland was inspired to create this graphic after having enough of victim blaming and how women are afraid All. The. Time.




Shireen Ahmed: Women’s national team calls on Canada Soccer to stand against ‘culture of abuse’

Remember Canadian sports activist and journalist Shireen Ahmed? I wrote about her crisp analysis of the NWSL in the States a couple weeks ago. Just days ago she wrote about how Canadian athletes spoke up about abuse years ago and are now speaking up again about the abuse they experienced through Canada Soccer Canada. She writes in clear support of the women’s national soccer team and their “three specific demands for commitment, accountability, and ensuring safe sport.” The Canadian players are leveraging their Olympic gold medal win to bring attention to years of abuse. (Thanks Chris!). Ciara McCormack spoke up about coach Bob Birarda with a blog post in 2019, who “has been charged with sexual offences involving four people. He's facing six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child luring.”

"It was a hard couple years where there was no acknowledgement. So I think it's important to recognize that in terms of being able to move forward from it… It shouldn't take winning a gold medal for players to be taken seriously," said McCormack.




Pauline Pemik: First Interview of Governor General Mary May Simon is in Inuktitut

Pauline was the first person to interview Canada’s new Governor General, Mary May Simon, Ningiukallak, and the interview was in Inuktitut. History!! (read in an Oprah voice). My favorite paragraph from her first person account is:

"Thank you for having us in your home, your excellency," I said, then, "mamianaq Inuktut qanuq taijaunajaqpa?"

("how do we say that in Inuktitut? We've never had to use that").

In Inuit culture, the highest rank in the house is and will always be anaanatsiaq — grandmother (you don't mess with grandma).

But this was new territory for our language, with a new title or rank that we didn't even have a word for, except "advocate for the Queen."



Watch: Maid (Netflix)

Are you watching Maid on Netflix? I have cried buckets as I watched actor Margaret Qualley use her skills to tell the story of a young mother who leaves her emotionally abusive partner, and experiences various precarious living circumstances that is just so hard to watch—but must be watched. I can’t think of another series that so compellingly depicts domestic abuse, single-motherhood, the exploitation of domestic workers, the difficulty accessing support, and how unfathomably difficult it all is for too many of us. In 2015 Stephanie Land wrote a piece for Vox about her 2 years of cleaning rich people’s houses, and how what she saw made her never want to be rich. She was paid only $500 for her essay, but her voyeuristic description of income inequality in the US went viral, and in 2019 she wrote a memoir which was turned into the Netflix series, Maid. Written by Molly Smith Metzler and produced in part by Margot Robbie who, as Sarah Marrs of Lainey Gossip wrote, “is nurturing complex narratives centered on complicated women, and often those women are trapped in systems that exploit and abuse them—this is almost a singular focus in her work behind the camera.” It is so important that we are seeing the work of women, telling stories of women, exposing how the system does not work for us, and is failing women in so many ways. I never, ever thought this kind of story would get mainstream attention, but it is thrilling that it is. Stephanie acknowledges that her privilege, of being white and educated, makes this story easier to tell and brings in a broader audience, and she is aware that as horrific as her experience was, it is even worse for those who don’t have her privilege. Heart-breaking.




Katherine Leon: a Regular Person Changes Everything About Understanding Women’s Heart Attacks

Katherine Leon was a new mum in 2003 when, after weeks of pain, she was diagnosed with SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) and would need emergency heart bypass surgery. She was told it was super rare, she would never meet anyone with that condition, not to get pregnant again, and to just move on. Instead, Katherine started to do the work, and found 1000 women around the world with the same diagnosis. In 2009 she showed up for a heart clinic symposium and introduced herself to Dr. Sharonne Hayes, who had conducted the largest study on SCAD, with just 43 women. That meeting changed everything. Katherine was critical in transforming “SCAD from being an unknown, unrecognized condition to something all physicians are taught about during medical school and in later training. SCAD is now recognized as the most common cause of heart attacks in women under 40. Why did it take so long for physicians and researchers to recognize SCAD? The most important reason might have been that the condition predominantly affects women. “We listen less well to women,” said Dr. Hayes. “We are much more likely to associate their symptoms with psychological causes.” A heart attack is more likely to be fatal in a young woman than a young man, perhaps because women’s cardiac symptoms are more often misattributed to anxiety or depression than men’s.” That is some impressive and impactful wave making.



Individuals Making Change Together: 1100 McKinsey Employees Sign a Letter and Speak Up About the Climate Crisis

At McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest management consulting firms, 1 1000 employees are speaking up. The company works with 43 of the top 100 biggest corporate polluters which are responsible for 1/3 of global climate emissions. This includes BC’s Teck Company, which mines steel-making coal from the Rocky Mountains and is responsible for 1/10th of Canada’s greenhouse emissions. The New York Times writes that “McKinsey’s work with these companies is often not focused on reducing their environmental impact, but rather on cutting costs, boosting productivity and increasing profits.”

Over 1000 employees have signed a letter that “proposed that McKinsey not only redress its own emissions, but also publicly disclose the amount of carbon pollution that its clients produced in aggregate and commit to helping them do their part to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” I squealed out-loud when I read that!!

McKinsey claims they want to be “the greatest private sector catalyst for decarbonization” but how can they be when they continue to have the biggest polluters as their clients and say that “McKinsey had to continue working with them to stay relevant”. Should the big polluters be relevant anymore? Only in their role of decarbonization, a role they have actively resisted and that McKinsey has helped them resist. I hope this action results in significant change—and I would love to see the carbon pollution by these companies publicly disclosed.


Vegan Recipe of the Week

Anna Jones is one of my favorite cookbook authors, and was even before we decided to be a vegan/vegetarian family. I bought her first book, A Modern Way to Eat several years ago and it became an instant favorite. Then she wrote A Modern Way to Cook, packed with delicious recipes and brilliantly organized by time required to make the meal. Could more cookbook do this, please? This week I made her Not-Chicken Soup from The Modern Cook’s Year which is everything I want a soup to be—easy, satisfying, healthy!



One More Thing

Movie Night Discussion details will be coming as soon as details are confirmed. We will watch the movie Speed Sisters on our own, and then gather together for an online discussion with the director, Amber Fares.


Thanks for reading and being a part of Making Waves!

I would love to hear from you! Tell me what you are up to, let us know of opportunities to make waves, and share resources to help us get informed. I respond to text, e-mail, WhatsApp and even an old fashioned phone call. We welcome contributions to this new format of newsletter—there are lots of things we can do. Right now I’m committing to publishing this irregularly (!). As always, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and we have plenty of room in MW for a diversity of informed opinions while we keep our efforts focused on advancing gender equality in our safe no-fail zone that we have created. Feel free to pass this on! If you want to say hello, share an idea, subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail to hanita@informedopinions.org with the action in the subject line. Want to know more about us? Check out our website, www.makewavesmakechange.ca


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