Caring for Others and Creation

We are all impacted by a changing climate. MCC partners invite us to respond in ways that uphold our commitments to justice and human dignity. 

A changing climate has resulted in fewer harvests, loss of livestock, stress on water resources, reduced income, food insecurity, and an increased need to migrate to find employment or flee natural disasters. These changes affect families around the world, especially the most vulnerable, including women and girls.  

Women gather in a large room.

In 2010, women from multiple villages in Cuisnahuat, El Salvador gather to discuss food security and climate change concerns they want to bring to their mayor. (Photo courtesy of ANADES)

As one of the world’s largest per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, Canada has a moral obligation to not only meet our own climate targets but to actively support countries with historically lower GHG emissions that are disproportionately impacted by climate change today.  To meet Paris Agreement targets, Canada has committed to reducing emissions by 40-45 % below 2005 levels by 2030. However to meet our fair global share we need to reduce our emissions by up to 60%.

Local residents examine a steam capture system in the desert.

MCC Ethiopia staff and members of the Shakota settlement in Afar region, Ethiopia, stand in 100-degree heat next to a traditional Afari steam collection structure. MCC visited the site to consider building a steam well–a new take on an old technology to harvest water from steam vents along a geological fault line. (MCC photo/Rose Shenk, 2017)

Addressing Climate Change by supporting the most vulnerable

Reducing emissions (climate mitigation) is a crucial part of addressing climate change, but more resources are needed to help communities adapt to climate change today. Currently, however, Canada significantly funds more international mitigation (lowering GHG emissions) than adaptation initiatives. We can do more to support those who are already impacted by a changing climate by funding both mitigation and adaptation equally. Local communities need access to training in soil and water conservation techniques, alternative means of income, and emergency food and resources.

Additionally, Canada’s international climate finance and Feminist International Assistance Policies stress the importance of prioritizing women and girls in our foreign assistance, including in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Currently, however,  very little of Canada’s climate financing supports gender equity-specific projects.

For example, women are more likely to live in poverty, yet many women are not included in the decision-making processes in their households, community and beyond. These realities create additional barriers for women to access climate finance programs and supports offered through Canadian international assistance. Local communities and organizations are well positioned to respond to the crisis in creative ways that meet the needs of their specific contexts, including understanding and addressing gendered dynamics.

A woman stands along the edge of a river.

Elizabeth (Tshaukuish) Penashue, an Innu elder from Sheshatshiu, north of Happy Valley Goose Bay, N.L., is deeply concerned about the future of her community and culture which she believes is closely linked to the well-being of the environment. Penashue organizes an annual canoe trip to increase awareness of the importance of protecting land and water from pollution and to pass on knowledge of Innu culture, traditional survival skills and food. (MCC Photo/ Nina Linton, 2011)

Climate Change, Canada and Indigenous Peoples

Finally, here in Canada, we are seeing the impacts of disasters like forest fires and floods on remote communities, including remote Indigenous communities in areas where MCC works. As these disasters increase, exacerbated due to a changing climate, some communities are forced to flee their homes or face evacuations. Returning home can be challenging as communities deal with the impacts of fire and flood damage and the need to rebuild.

 

Sample Questions to Candidates:

  • As Canada is one of the world’s largest current and historic per capita greenhouse gas emitters, would you support Canada not only reaching but exceeding our Paris Agreement greenhouse gas emission reduction targets? If so, how?

 

  • Canada stresses the importance of prioritizing women and girls in our foreign assistance frameworks, but so far, Canada’s climate financing has limited assistance that is focused on empowering women and girls. How will you ensure that Canada supports gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the work to counter climate change?

 

  • Under our Paris Agreement commitments, Canada committed to balancing the support given to mitigation (reducing Greenhouse gas emissions) and support for adaptation (helping countries and communities adapt to changes). Currently, Canada gives significantly more to mitigation than adaptation, which especially affects low-income, low emissions countries and communities. What will you do to address this gap?

 

  • How will you work to support displaced or otherwise affected communities here in Canada, especially Indigenous communities located remotely, as they deal with the impacts of increasing forest fires, floods and other natural disasters exacerbated by a changing climate?

 

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