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Issue No. 9 Week of November 1st, 2021

Hello Wavemakers!

Over the weekend, as I was looking for updates on COP26 (it ends on Nov 12th) , I noticed something awesome. So many more outlets and sites are reporting on the climate crisis and many are pledging to do better work in how they are reporting on the crisis. Not only were many pieces written by women, but they highlighted women as drivers of change. I feel like this shift in media has taken place in the last few weeks, and I hope it is real and here to stay. As we all know, Greta was the change maker when she started striking in August 2018, and she continues to be. Her voice and her actions have inspired women, especially young women, all over the world to join her, or to speak up in different ways. Of course there were women speaking up before Greta, it’s just that Greta turns up the clarity and urgency dials in a way no one else does, and has a talent for mobilizing people!

This past weekend, Greta Thunberg (18) and Vanessa Nakate (24) wrote an open letter to media with three clear directives for reporting on the climate crisis. I encourage you to read the letter, but I have highlighted their main points below because these points are relevant not just for media, but for everyone. This is the biggest crisis of our times, and at Making Waves we care about equality. If we aren’t talking about the Climate Crisis and pushing for action to address the climate crisis, then we are not doing the work to advance equality.


If you want to truly cover the climate crisis, you must also report on the fundamental issues of time, holistic thinking and justice.”

  1. Time: All stories must include time, and urgency. If time is not included, then the delay tactics (solving issues for 2030, 2050 instead of now) will just continue.

“The best available science shows that with our current rate of emissions, our remaining carbon budget for staying below 1.5°C will run out before the end of this decade.”

  1. Holistic Thinking: ALL the numbers and calculations must be included. No creative math.

“Currently, you are letting high income nations and big polluters off the hook, allowing them to hide behind the incomplete statistics, loopholes and rhetoric they have fought so hard to create during the last 30 years.”

  1. Justice: Practices and policies from the Global North are causing death, suffering and catastrophe in the Global South, but that is rarely reported on. Nor is the fact that the Global North is blowing through the carbon budget. The Climate Crisis in not just an ecological disaster but a moral catastrophe (read this mind-blowing article on climate reparations!), and why social systems are required for a just transition. “Is a person in the global south a person to me?” (I gasped when I read that sentence.)

“…you cannot ignore the Global North’s moral responsibility to move much faster in reducing their emissions. By the end of this year, the world will have collectively burned through 89% of the carbon budget that gives us a 66% chance of staying below 1.5°C.”

They conclude their letter to the media by saying:

“We need immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions unlike anything the world has ever seen… it means we have to make fundamental changes in our society. This is the uncomfortable result of our leaders’ failure to address this crisis.”

I love so much about all of this. That two young women, 18 and 24 years old, from Sweden and Uganda, have acquired the reputational capital to tell world-wide media how to report on the climate crisis. They know what needs to be done, and are working together and supporting each other. They behave (not intimidated), look (besides being teens and young adults they don’t bother with business clothing, but their clothes are all business), and speak differently (no blah blah blah) than anyone else we have seen and heard in these spaces before, and they are disrupting the system in multiple ways in order to activate people and convince governments to act. Greta and Vanessa make it so easy for the media, because not only are they are experts who are well prepared, but they are also masters of communication. They know how to get a clear, concise and effective message out to the world.

Want to add your voice to Greta and Vanessa’s? This weekend they also rolled out a petition with two other young women, Dominika Lasota (20) and Mitzi Jonelle Tan (24), to show world leaders that citizens want them to act now. Their goal was 1 million signatures, and when I signed they were 800 000+ and are now over 1.1 million. Let’s keep going!


Learn

  1. Youth Activism Summit

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

For National Day of the Child join youth across Canada and hear what they have to say. I’ve signed up! Ahead of the summit, there is still one advocacy session you can sign up for this weekend:

Racial Justice & Indigenous Rights, Saturday Nov 6th 7-8:30 pm ET


2. What’s the Big Deal with a Few Degrees? Global Weirding with Katharine Hayhoe

Carol suggested we should check out this video by Katharine Hayhoe. Katharine is a Canadian scientist that has a gift for making science accessible. She is an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and she actually studies how warming impacts food supply, pollution and more.

Donate

There are just a few days left of UNICEF Canada’s Gala (I’m co-chair!) which supports education for girls in Uganda by giving them access to clean, safe water and private latrines. Until the 6th of Nov you can participate in our online action, make a donation (minimum $20) or buy a water pump ($383). UNICEF is what connected me to Erin and Susanne. Erin was at our 2019 kick off meeting at my house and made Making Waves a reality through the pandemic by being one of our sponsors—thank you Erin and Axia! 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. As we heard from Solange, not having access to period products, clean water and private latrines are real barriers to girls getting access to education.

Write

The CBC and the PMO office are still using the term ‘climate change’. I sent an e-mail to both and asked that they use either ‘climate crisis’ or ‘climate emergency’. Language matters, and the word ‘change’ does not communicate a world-wide crisis.

Share: Hilarious and Info Packed Videos (excellent work)

Did you see this video from The Juice Media? As Chris texted, just substitute Alberta for Australia. Most definitely NSFW! Carol, Chris and I had a bit of fun talking about the excellent work of The Juice Media.


The UN also put out a brilliant video about a dinosaur showing up unexpectedly at the UN, incredulous that we would pay for our own demise by subsidizing fossil fuels at $423 billion per year, 4x more than than what is needed to help developing countries deal with the climate crisis. Yup, read that sentence again and think about how shocking and shameful this is, especially for us in Canada, especially for us in Alberta. What should we do with that money instead of subsidizing our own demise? Watch the video, read the blurb below it on YouTube, and get inspired to make change. It’s now or never.



Avery Simard: Mental Health Awareness -- Untold Stories: Behind the Mask

Avery (co-founder of Making Waves) is an engineering student at Queen’s University, and worked to highlight mental health/illness in the Kingston community.

My friend Cat recently asked me to assist them in directing a photoshoot for Muse, the university fashion magazine we both work for at Queen’s University, Kingston. Muse was holding a mental health week that focused on highlighting student voices and experiences surrounding the topic. I felt honoured and slightly daunted to have been trusted in helping to bring their creative vision on such a complex and personal topic to life.

The shoot was to be built around anonymous submissions in response to the question, ‘What do you wish others knew about your mental health/mental illness?’. We had no idea what to expect. Would we get any responses? Would we be able to articulate the words of these strangers visually? Almost immediately however, the responses came flooding in and we were struck by their candor and exquisite articulation. At this point, the task of highlighting these experiences that had been entrusted to us felt both more daunting and more important than ever. Cat enlisted Kingston artist, Francisco Corbett, to model for the shoot and we meticulously planned the shots and poses we wanted to capture.

On the shooting day, we entered Francisco’s studio and spent the first half hour discussing the responses, the threads of connection between them, and how we wanted to express these deeply personal experiences. One of the main themes that we pulled from the collective pool of responses was a disconnect between those suffering from mental illness and the people around them. It’s clear that due to stigma or fear of alienation or doubt of being understood, connecting and reaching outside of oneself is a common struggle between those suffering from mental illness of many forms. The tangibility of this disconnect or barrier was evident in almost all of the responses. This theme, in conjunction with the idea of a contrast between one’s internal struggles and outward façade became our northern star for the shoot.

Before shooting, Francisco wanted to get his clothes dirty and so, began splashing paint on the blank canvas hanging on the studio wall. Very quickly, it was evident that he had entered an artistic rapture that was not to be interrupted. Cat immediately and silently got to work photographing Francisco as he interpreted the shoot themes through his art. His approach was messy and chaotic, layering abstract scenes on the canvas in quick succession. He used his hands, his head, Cat’s Gatorade, spray paint among other mediums and tools. We photographed and watched his artistic process for the better part of an hour. Despite our careful and prescriptive planning, the shoot direction had changed completely but in a way that captured the plurality and complexity of the submissions more comprehensibly than we could have imagined. Our fears in failing to do justice to the stories we had been so graciously bestowed, were alleviated.

In the end, the decision was made to publish the submissions exactly as they were written alongside the visuals captured from the shoot. See the final article here.




The Muggle Version of the Gemino Curse is Killing Us: Capitalism

Harry Potter fans, remember the Gemino curse In The Deathly Hallows? The Gemino curse doubled the treasure in the Lestrange vault, almost crushing the life out of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.


Gemino Curse = Capitalism = Climate Crisis

Economic growth is the muggle version of the Gemino curse, writes George Monibot in this incredible piece for the Guardian, which is a must read! Every measure of success in our society is based on economic growth, as an individual, family, community, business, government, country, planet. But this goal (the World Bank wants us to grow globally at 3%/year) means that all the economic activity and the environmental impacts it causes will double every 24 years, and we will be crushed by economic growth.

All the crises we seek to avert today become twice as hard to address as global economic activity doubles, then twice again, then twice again.”

That is super scary. Capitalism and economic growth are killing us.

“It scarcely matters how green you think you are. The main cause of your environmental impact isn’t your attitude. It isn’t your mode of consumption. It isn’t the choices you make. It’s your money. If you have surplus money, you spend it. While you might persuade yourself that you are a green mega-consumer, in reality you are just a mega-consumer.”

Right. Guilty. So guilty. I try to be mindful about how much and what I consume, but as George is saying, the point is I am consuming. And I have to become NOT a consumer.

“The difficult truth is that, to prevent climate and ecological catastrophe, we need to level down… Just as there is a poverty line below which no one should fall, there is a wealth line above which no one should rise. What we need are not carbon taxes, but wealth taxes.”

Oh hello! There is one of my favorite topics: Taxes. As I have said before at MW and in the newsletter, taxes are about equality. Well, progressive tax systems that don’t hurt the poor are about equality, and a wealth tax is the best way to address both the climate crisis and equality. Wealth and exploitation are inextricably linked. Limit wealth and we limit exploitation because “the rich are rich because of fossil fuel development”. And while we are cutting emissions in half, and taxing the wealthy, let’s use subsidies from fossil fuels ($423 billion US dollars of public money) and not only invest in renewables and the developing world, but implement universal minimum wage and universal day care and other social systems and infrastructure that will help decrease the vulnerability and precariousness of so many people, and transform our society. We need to take care of the those who are causing the least damage, rather than the richest who are exploiting resources (including real live human beings) to get even richer, and using those who are vulnerable as an excuse to not make change.

“In Fridays for Future, Green New Deal Rising, Extinction Rebellion and the other global uprisings against systemic environmental collapse, we see people, mostly young people, refusing to consent. What they understand is history’s most important lesson. Our survival depends on disobedience.”

Friends, let’s be disobedient together. Like with the pandemic, this is just science, just math. We know how much we have left in our carbon budget, and we only have 6 years left.

  • Scientists agree the planet cannot warm past 1.5 degrees, or else we hit a tipping point from which natural systems that support human life on earth will not recover.

  • We have already warmed the planet to just past 1.2 degrees.

  • On Jan 1st 2018 we had 420 Gigitons of CO2 left in the budget. This amount gives us the best odds of staying below 1.5 degrees.

  • We emit 42 gigatons of CO2 every year.

  • We will therefore use up our budget in ten years, in January 2028.

  • That leaves us with 6 years to work on not raising the temperature that last 0.3 degrees

That’s why I wrote last week that 2030 is too late. And 2050 is waaay to late. See? It’s just math. But, if we take action now by actually cutting our emissions, then we might have more time for a transition, a just transition and we have a chance to save human life and the supporting natural and social systems. Our youngest wavemakers, Orla and Anne who are 13, won’t even be 20 years old and most of our young wavemakers won’t even be 30 years old when our carbon budget runs out. What kind of world will we be living in by 2030? What will the air be like to breathe? Will we have living spaces that are safe from floods and heat waves, forest fires, hailstorms? What about access to services? Access to food (crop failure and supply chain issues are expected to increase) and water? Some of you could be mothers in 6 years and what will life be like for women and children as the crisis worsens, as extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity? In Mumbai,“[t]here’s an increase in sexual trafficking when floods hit,” says Disha Ravi (see the piece I linked to with Justice in Greta and Vanessa’s letter above). Will women be left behind, as they always have been, and are being left behind now during the pandemic?

Honestly, when we started Making Waves I never imagined writing something like this. I didn’t think our leaders would let things get so bad. But they have, and I think it is THE most important conversation we should be having, and the most significant issue we should be making waves about. I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking, “Whoa! This is a lot! And this is not what we thought we were getting into! This makes me uncomfortable.” Or maybe you are thinking, “You don’t know what you are talking about, and fossil fuels are going to be here for a long time, and you’re making a big fuss,” or maybe you are thinking, “Yes! How can we be thinking about anything else except our imminent demise?”

As a former fire ecologist who saw the impact of a warming planet on the fire regime in the forests I was studying back in 1995, as a parent, and as a citizen on this planet, I don’t want to be part of the problem. It makes my stomach churn that my actions cause actual suffering and death. I don’t want to be part of climate colonialism. I don’t want to be causing women to suffer more. I want to be a part of a society that prioritizes the natural world and people, and not economic growth. We need to change what we measure and value. It’s a massive shift, and all the experts say we can do it, that we have the resources available to us right now to keep us from going past 1.5 degrees. We just need the will and sense of urgency from everyone to work together and actually DO IT.



Mia Mottley: Women’s Voices from the Global South

This speech. Nothing I write will do it justice. Watch Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, lay it down at the COP26 World Leaders Summit.

“Failure to provide the critical finance and that of loss and damage is measured, my friends, in lives and livelihoods in our communities. This is immoral and it is unjust.”


Young Canadian Women Making A Difference

Did you happen to see this article on CBC about how young people are wired to push for change and that “intergenerational collaboration is key. When young people get together with decision-makers who have the power to change things, "that's when the magic happens." That is certainly how the magic happens at Making Waves! I still remember our Zoom meeting in April 2020, and hearing from you young wavemakers that we HAD to do something, that Making Waves was really important to you and that you wanted to keep going during covid. You transformed Making Waves!

The article highlighted the work of Ilona Dougherty, managing director of the Youth and Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and her group looked at how the brains of 15- to 25 year-olds are different from adult brains. Ilona is also an expert with Informed Opinions’s database of expert women across Canada, and studies how young people influence the adults around them. "Young people are literally wired to challenge the status quo, to think outside the box. Their brains are really amazing and they have a lot to offer us." Agreed!!

The Globe and Mail had an article called ‘I know the kind of future I want to see for Canada’: Meet six Canadians advocating for the planet’ and guess what? All 6 changemakers are women! Naila Moloo (15) is working on building flexible and transparent solar cells. Shaelyn Wabegijig (24) is a coordinator for the Kawartha World Issues Centre working to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Audrey Nelles (20) is a student at McGill, and works with the Blue Futures Pathways that has an internship program for youth seeking employment in the ocean and water sectors. And check out these two, including Lisa’s favorite, Dr. Hastings-Simon!




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!


Important Dates

Monthly Meeting

Sunday Nov 21st ,

7 pm ET

Monthly Meeting

Sunday Dec 19th, 7 pm ET

Bookclub

January 16th

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

Bookclub

March 13th

Iron Widow (Fiction) by Xiran Jay Zhao

Bookclub

June 5th

We Are Displaced by 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!



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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