By Kieran Bergmann
Each of the days leading up to the G8/G20 meetings has a theme, and yesterday marked climate justice day. Hundreds of activists gathered midday at Alexandra Park in downtown Toronto to call on the G8 and G20 leaders to help stop climate change and to mitigate the effects already being felt by people all over the world.
That evening, Climate Action Network Canada launched Canada’s Climate Change Calendar. It is an innovative tool to demonstrate Canada’s disproportionate impact on climate change. The Calendar shows the average Canadian’s greenhouse gas emissions compared to the greenhouse gas emissions of the average person in other countries. For example, in 15 days, the average Canadian has already emitted as much as the average Bangladeshi emits in an entire year.
This really struck a cord with me. Yesterday I heard women and men speak of the effects that climate change has had in their countries. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events (such as hurricanes and tropical storms) that destroy houses, crops and livestock; drought and floods wreaking havoc on agricultural production; the rapid retreating of glaciers. And the sad reality is that this is what happens in the countries that contribute the least to climate change. Those of us who contribute the most have yet to feel the full effects.
The impacts of climate change on the populations of developing countries have been devastating. But the impacts on women have been even worse. In fact, for every one man that dies because of disasters related to climate change, four women die. Hopefully the G8/G20 leaders will listen to the message that I heard loud and clear yesterday. Hopefully in their meetings in the next three days they will make firm commitments to help stop climate change.