Once a year -- on April 22 -- around the world, people young and old, rich and poor, focus on the needs of our fragile planet and those of us who reside on it. Earth Day is a great opportunity to draw attention to how people and the environment co-exist.
This year, in light of increasing disasters, many people are focusing on climate change and its impact on our weather patterns. Here in the Gender Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, we are excited by gender-based proposals to address climate change.
But ... Why gender-based? Because women have too often been left out of high-level decision-making on environmental threats and opportunities. The fact is that the more inclusive nations can be in addressing environmental issues, the greater the odd of success. Inclusion is the first of five "I's" that lead us away from business as usual and toward an innovative and successful way to address climate change:
The Five "I's"
Citizens of all backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, cast, age and class must contribute
Solutions need to have real results, in the reduction of emissions (greenhouse gasses)
All strategies must aim to improve the quality of life of all men and women
They must increase sustainability and nature-based solutions for our planet
We must all think of new ways to tackle these critical issues. From Mozambique to Jordan to Australia and the Amazon, people are applying the Five "I's" as they prepare to implement some of the following ideas:
A water taxi network of the Nile owned and operated by women will reduce emissions and provide fast, reliable public transport in a gridlocked transport system in Cairo, Egypt. A waste-to-wealth recycling project will empower women as green entrepreneurs in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Women environmental whistle blowers on the coast of Liberia will assist the government in the collection of meteorological data to forecast the weather, act as an early-warning system for storms, and identify and report environmental offenses.
Women in Jordan and Nepal may use mosques and poetry singers in temples to communicate climate change messages.
Women could develop climate change kits in Mozambique that include traditional medicines that could help individuals and communities cope with some of the health impacts of climate change. For example, citronella could be used to control mosquitoes or the African plant moringa could help purify contaminated water.
IUCN is working with all of those who proposed these ideas to determine their efficacy, and is working with others to develop innovative solutions to pressing environmental issues. For far too long, we have all relied on scientists and "experts" to develop solutions when, in fact, each of us can play an important role in addressing climate change.
Earth Day is a great time to pause, reflect, celebrate, worry... and then move on to developing plans for action that include all of us.
By Lorena Aguilar, IUCN Senior Gender Advisor.
Solar Cooking Around the World: webminar on challenges, Solutions and Best Practices will take place on 04 April 2014 at 3 pm GMT.
Many parts of the world have significant solar thermal energy potential. Therefore, solar power is primarily used, for example, in a few large, desert solar arrays to generate electricity and in rooftop solar hot water systems. Despite the fact that hundreds of millions of families in the developing world could cook their meals with solar thermal energy more than three hundred days per year, there is still today very limited use of this power source for domestic and industrial cooking scale applications.
As demonstrated by current projects in Chile and India, the use of solar thermal cooking devices in canteens at schools and companies as well as in restaurants is an attractive, sustainable and rational use of solar energy. Solar cooking is a sustainable alternative to the conventional cooking process since variations on this technology can bake and roast foods slowly like an oven, or boil and fry foods as fast as a gas burner.
Despite significant education and training activities carried out by a large number of solar cooking advocates in sunny European nations like in Portugal and Spain, the use of solar cookers is not yet a common practice for replacing the use of gas and electricity for cooking in these countries.To help spread the word and successfull experiences, the International Solar Energy Society is calling upon a webimnar to address the challenges, solutions and best practices of solar cooking around the world.
The webinar will focus on current examples of the use of solar cookers and on recent technical advances in this technology. It will also present a comparative analysis of the development of solar cooking technology in different latitudes with various cultural parameters and energy situations.
The webinar will take place on 04 April 2014 from 3:00 - 4: 30 pm GMT/UTC. If you are not sure what time the webinar is taking place at your location, check the time at your location here. Register online here to participate in this webinar. Please do so for the webinar before 04 April 12:00 pm GMT.
Scandinavia is well known for its large female political representation. However, public debate is still dominated by men. Business conferences with a 100 percent male speaker lineup are not rare. Some of these men are tired of debating only men, and are taking action to change it.
In Sweden and Norway, male speakers are now refusing to participate in conferences and panel discussions without female representation.
This new initiative wants men to ask whether women are represented on the programme. If the debate is composed by only men, then the campaign expects men to turn the invitation down say no, thanks.
The campaing uses the hashtag #tackanej. It was launched in November last year by three men, and was supported by the organization Equalisters. It has attracted more than 200 signatures, ranging from established media personalities to university professors and successful entrepreneurs.
The main goal of the campaign is to turn Say No, Thanks into a Say Yes, Please yes to more female speakers and more diversity in debates and conferences.
There are women doing all kinds of inspiring actions and showing us the importance of gender equality when addressing climate change.
This year's International Women's Day theme point that ou precisely: 'Equality for women is progress for all' and even more, when it comes to climate action.
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, in 2012, Parties to the Convention committed to promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established under the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol by adopting pdf-icon decision 23/CP.18, which became known as the "Doha Miracle".
The UNFCCC Women and Gender constituency, the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, UN Women and the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice have been a driving force for advocating gender-sensitive climate policies and capacity-building activities to promote the greater participation of women in the UNFCCC process.
The member organizations of the UNFCCC Women and Gender constituency represent several hundred grassroots groups, national and international organizations and unetworks. The constituency seeks to represent women's voices, experiences, preferences, needs and capacities, and works towards equal representation within Parties and observer organizations to the UNFCCC and the incorporation of gender dimensions and human rights into UNFCCC negotiations for gender-sensitive climate policies all levels.
The tremendous scope and importance of linkages between gender and climate change has been captured in a wide range of resource materials, many of which are available on UN Women's new 'Knowledge Gateway for Women's Economic Empowerment' and UNFCCC's Climate Change Information Network Clearinghouse CC:iNet.
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