GHN News: Climate Change Fuels Violence Against Women

From the GHN’s daily email newsletter. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health globalhealthnow@outreach.jh.edu

Women plant seeds as part of a project to reforest the Sahel in Niger’s Zinder Region on July 30, 2019.
Image: Luis Tato/FAO/Getty

The effects of climate change are fueling violence against women and girls, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Deutsche Welle reports.

How is this happening? Some examples the report, which was 1 years in the making:

  • More young girls forced into marriage to help their families survive climate-related disasters.
  • As wells dry up, women travel further to collect water-increasing their exposure to sexual violence.
  • Women forced to exchange sex for a dwindling supply of fish

But funding solutions is a perennial challenge.

The US is the world’s biggest donor to women’s health-but a string of proposed budget cuts threaten those efforts, notes a Think Global Health series. Even though the cuts are consistently rejected by Congress, this uncertainty affects country-level planning every year.

Another piece urges African countries to act on the “lofty declarations” they sign — particularly by addressing the “unacceptable” ratio of maternal mortality.

Related: Climate change could pose ‘catastrophic’ security threat, experts warn – Reuters

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Videos from the indigenous people’s perspective

See what is happening to the Canadian indigenous people from their perspective.

Likht’samisyu Chief Dsta’hyl Confronts Coastal GasLink (Sep 30, 2019)

On Thursday September 26, Chief Dsta’hyl of the Likht’samisyu Clan was blocked by Coastal Gaslink’s private security as he attempted to enter a community meeting at the Witset First Nation band office.

When Dsta’hyl gained entry to the meeting, he told David Pfeiffer, the president of CGL, that no pipelines will be allowed to cross sovereign Likht’samisyu territory – only the Likht’samisyu clan and the Likht’samisyu hereditary chiefs can make decisions affecting Likht’samisyu territory.

The Likht’samisyu stand in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en and the Gidumt’en people, and continue to reoccupy and protect their traditional territories.


Rita David interviewed at Wet’suwet’en Access Point (Jun 8, 2019)

Interview with Rita David, a Gidumt’en Clan Elder, taken as RCMP occupied Gidumt’en territory with a police detachment.


Brian Grandbois – Papa G’s Truth Bomb (Feb 19, 2019)

The Wolverine and Brian Grandbois (Feb 18, 2019)

Elder Warriors Wolverine and Brian Grandbois talk about what it means to them to be a warrior.

From an interview by Crystal Greene, Michael Toledano, Shannon Hecker, at Unist’ot’en Camp in 2014.


Brian Grandbois Speaks at Unist’ot’en Action Camp (Feb 18,2019)

Brian Grandbois, Dene from Cold Lake, talks about the multiple front lines in Dene territory and cumulative impacts from industry.


Gidumt’en Checkpoint Dismantled by CGL (Jan 30, 2019)

RCMP stood by as CGL destroyed buildings set up by the Gidumt’en Clan.

Press release from Gidumt’en: https://www.facebook.com/wetsuwetenst…


See more videos from Michael T showing how we are still abusing our indigenous partners …

TheNarwhal: In photos: Wet’suwet’en matriarchs arrested as RCMP enforce Coastal GasLink pipeline injunction

Police made arrests Monday on the Morice River bridge, the sole entrance point to the Unist’ot’en land-based healing centre

Amber Bracken Feb 10, 2020

Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en spokesperson and founder of the Unist’ot’en healing centre, sings in ceremony as RCMP approach to arrest her during their enforcement of a Coastal GasLink court-ordered injunction against those blocking work on a gas pipeline on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Photo: Amber Bracken / The Narwhal

Members of the RCMP arrested seven individuals outside the Unist’ot’en healing centre Monday during the fifth day of enforcing a court-ordered injunction against members of the Wet’suwe’ten and their supporters blocking access to work sites for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The arrests were made at the 66-kilometre mark of the Morice River Forest Service Road at a bridge crossing a river along the 670-kilometre pipeline’s route.

Around 80 individuals have been arrested at Wet’suwet’en camps along the road and at solidarity actions taking place across the country.

Coastal GasLink was granted an injunction originally in December 2018 and the court order was renewed December 2019. Although the pipeline received approval from elected band members, hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation, representing five clans, have rejected the pipeline and asserted sovereignty over the nation’s traditional territory.

Read more at TheNarwhal.ca …

Also check out more of Amber Bracken’s beautiful pictures at her website…

Macleans: Opinion: The Wet’suwet’en are more united than pipeline backers want you to think

Amber Bracken: The difference between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and elected chiefs is rooted in Aboriginal title, an issue that the Government of Canada continues to leave unresolved

by Amber Bracken Feb 14, 2020

This is, left to right: Dinï ze’ Knedebeas, Warner William, Dinï ze’ Hagwilnegh, Ron Mitchell, Dinï ze’ Woos, Frank Alec, Dinï ze’ Madeek, Jeff Brown, Dinï ze’ Gisday’wa, Fred Tom. In back is Dinï ze’ Ste ohn tsiy, Rob Alfred. Wet’suwet’en territory near Houston, B.C. on Jan. 4, 2020. (Amber Bracken)

Amber Bracken is an award-winning photojournalist based in Edmonton. Much of her reporting focuses on issues affecting Indigenous people. She’s spent months, over multiple trips, covering the interpretation of Aboriginal title rights inside Wet’suwet’en territory.

Ahead of the impending RCMP enforcement of Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline’s temporary injunction in late 2018, the Wet’suwet’en held an important feast, to decide what to do next.  

The bahlat, or potlatch in English, is the seat of their ancient government. That it exists today is a credit to the Wet’suwet’en resisters who were jailed for protecting it during the potlatch ban that lasted from 1884 to 1951, even as their regalia was burned in front of them. 

Bahlats are open to everyone from the nation. The proceedings that day took hours of protocol and discussion before the hereditary chiefs announced the decision, on behalf of the five clans—they would not leave quietly, they said. They would block pipeline workers.  

Decisions made like this have underpinned the Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs decade-long stand against all pipelines—in their remaining culturally viable land. It’s only a portion of their total unceded territory equalling roughly the size of New Jersey. 

Conversely, of the five Wet’suwet’en elected band chiefs, only the Hagwilget Village Council declined to sign benefits agreements with the LNG pipeline, citing that it was not their place to make decisions about the territory

The opposing positions of the two sets of chiefs has been represented by B.C. Premier John Horgan and in the media, as a fight within the nation between the equal actors of hereditary chiefs, who defend the land, and the band chiefs, who seek escape from poverty. Premier Horgan told the CBC he doesn’t think “a handful of people can stop progress and success for people who have been waiting for a break like this for many, many years.”

Read more at MacLeans.ca …

TheRecord: ‘Wild experience’ for Kitchener woman rescuing animals in Australia

Feb 14, 2020 by Johanna Weidner Waterloo Region Record

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Heidi Bechtold spent three weeks in Australia helping wildlife after the devastating fires. – courtesy Heidi Bechtold

KITCHENER — The koala slid down the hill after dropping out of the tree, stopping right in front of Heidi Bechtold’s feet.

The Kitchener woman caught and held the ailing animal until he could be safely stowed in a bag and taken for veterinary care.

“It was a really cool experience,” Bechtold said. “They actually named this koala after me.”

Bechtold arrived home on Monday after three weeks in Australia with a Kelowna, B.C.-based animal rescue team pitching in with wildlife rescue efforts in the wake of the devastating fires.

“It was a wild experience,” Bechtold said.

Along with rescuing animals hurt and displaced by the wildfires, the team set up food and water stations to provide sustenance to animals in areas where their habitat was decimated.

“It’s about helping the animals after the fires,” Bechtold said. “You have animals coming back and waiting for your food.”

Read more and see the picture at TheRecord.com …

TruthOut: Climate Change Driving “Rapid and Widespread” Decline of Bumblebees

By Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief Published February 15, 2020

The chances of spotting a bumblebee have dropped by almost half across North America and by 17% in Europe from the mid-20th century to near present day, a study finds.
The chances of spotting a bumblebee have dropped by almost half across North America and by 17% in Europe from the mid-20th century to near present day, a study finds. Dmitry Drigoriev via Flickr

Shifts in temperature and rainfall are pushing bumblebees to their ecological limits across both continents, according to the analysis published in Science. This is driving “rapid and widespread declines” across 66 bumblebee species, the authors warn.

The impact of climate change on bumblebees is greatest in warmer parts of the northern hemisphere, including Mexico and Spain, the research finds.

Bumblebees have also expanded their range in some cooler regions. However, the extent of their range expansion is far smaller than the extent of range lost, the authors say.

This has contributed to population declines that could have “unknown consequences for the provision of ecosystem services,” they add.

Bumblebees also face threats from habitat loss and exposure to pesticides – meaning rapid warming could prove to be “the final straw” for some species, another scientist tells Carbon Brief.

Read more at TruthOut.org …

Rabble.ca: Rail blockades are proving to be an effective non-violent response to state violence

Brent Patterson February 15, 2020

Image: TOWetsuwetenSolidarity/Twitter

In the early hours of February 6, militarized Canadian police began a five-day long assault on the unceded and sovereign territory of the Wet’suwet’en people in northern British Columbia to facilitate the construction of a fracked gas pipeline that lacks that nation’s consent.

Nine days later, Wet’suwet’en land defender Dinize Ste ohn tsiy tweeted that a heavy RCMP presence on Wet’suwet’en territory continues.

In response to this violation of the rule of law (notably the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), Indigenous peoples and allies took to the rails to demand that the RCMP and TC Energy Coastal GasLink, the company behind the controversial pipeline, remove themselves from Wet’suwet’en territory.

Hours after the invasion began, the Mohawks established a blockade on the railway tracks near Belleville, Ontario. By Saturday, February 8, the Gitxsan had established a blockade on the railway line near New Hazelton, British Columbia.

Several other railway blockades were also soon established across the country by Indigenous peoples and allies including near Montreal, Quebec; Listuguj, Quebec; Headingley, Manitoba; Port Coquitlam, British Columbia; and Toronto, Ontario.

And this morning (Saturday, February 15), Climate Justice Toronto tweeted that the “2nd Largest Rail Classification Yard in Canada Blockaded” adding, “Folks have blockaded US-bound CN rail tracks in North York in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en!” That means that all trains going west to Hamilton, London, New York and Michigan are now blocked.

Read more at Rabble.ca …

GlobalNews: Indigenous rights protesters in Victoria vowing ‘B.C. government shutdown’ remain peaceful

By Simon Little Global News – Posted February 14, 2020 11:17 am – Updated February 15, 2020 12:43 am

Protesters supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline vowed a “B.C. government shutdown” on Friday.

But despite the aggressive language of a social media post organizing the event, Friday’s demonstration was more a peaceful picket than the solid blockade seen at the B.C. legislature on Tuesday.

Dozens of protesters, some bearing signs, others handing out pamphlets, stood outside the environment and advanced education ministries, along with ministry offices downtown and on Jutland Road.

“There’s a lot of fake news and a lot of lies, but I’m hoping we can come together, there’s a lot of support,” said Quinn Franks, one of the Indigenous youth at the picket lines.

“We love our country and we’re supporting the Indigenous people,” said Roxanne Derkson, one of the dozens of people who turned out in support of the action.

Read more and see the videos at GlobalNews …

Global: Wet’suwet’en solidarity demonstrators block Yonge and Dundas during evening commute

By Ryan Rocca Global News – Posted February 14, 2020 6:35 pm – Updated February 14, 2020 10:52 pm

Protesters are seen blocking off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto Friday evening.
Protesters are seen blocking off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto Friday evening. Global News

A group of demonstrators blocked off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto during the evening commute on Friday.

The demonstration was held in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, many of whose members oppose the building of the Coastal GasLink liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline in northern British Columbia, which would pass through the nation’s unceded territory.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en solidarity protests: How Canadian law protects demonstrators

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., Toronto police tweeted the protesters had blocked off the intersection and road closures were subsequently put in place.

Read more at Global News …

CTVNews: Wet’suwet’en: What’s the difference between the elected band council and hereditary chiefs?

Ben Cousins CTVNews.ca Writer @cousins_ben Contact Published Thursday, February 13, 2020 9:06PM EST

TORONTO — Protests across the country in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have prompted questions surrounding the difference between these chiefs and elected band councils — and the answer is complicated.

Essentially, the hereditary chiefs oversee the management of traditional lands and their authority predates the imposed colonial law, which formed the elected band council.

While the band council is in support of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the hereditary chiefs are not.

“(The band council has) done their due diligence and they want to be part of this economic initiative, create jobs for their people, be part of the economy, and they balanced the environment and the economy,” National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations told CTV’s Power Play earlier this week.

“In the ancestral territory lands of the Wet’suwet’en peoples, it’s the hereditary chiefs and their clans and their big houses that have the jurisdiction,” Bellegarde added. “That’s the piece that’s missing, so when Coastal GasLink and governments come in, they didn’t bring the Wet’suwet’en nation and the proper people in place to deal with their ancestral lands.”

Read more at CTVNews.ca …