If you’ve paddled across a placid lake, you’ve seen the ripple effect in action. But while ripples in water are easy to see, the distant consequences of our everyday actions aren’t always so clear. The truth is that, while we all care about the quality of our air, soil, and water in Canada, the lives of many people in the developing world are intricately tied to the health of the planet. And while caring for the environment at home can have a transformational impact on the lives of people who need it most, there are direct ways we can help children and their families rise above their challenges.
To shine a light on how we can have a positive effect on the lives of others around the globe, we’ve partnered with World Vision to explore how we can all make a massive difference.
Consider the climate
With our four distinct seasons, most Canadians have a close relationship with the weather, but that’s especially true of cottagers, who monitor the forecasts all week in hopes of a sunny weekend at the lake. But while unpredictable weather patterns can upset a weekend getaway, they wreak utter havoc on the world’s poorest populations, displacing families, eradicating food supplies, and interrupting the education of millions of children.
When shifting weather patterns lead to hunger-related crises in developing areas, World Vision is there to help, providing everything from emergency food sources and water to clean kitchen tools that help families thrive.
Focus on food
From the sizzle of steak to the in-season veggies we grill on the deck, food takes centre stage at the cottage. But while we spend a lot of time thinking about our weekend grocery lists and how much we can cram into a cooler, we often pay less mind to where that food comes from—or how it might impact the world beyond our borders.
It’s no secret that modern farming practices in the developed world are contributing to climate change, but those same environmental changes pose challenges for more than a billion farmers around the world. By helping to promote climate-smart agriculture, which seeks to increase food production sustainably and fairly while helping farms become more resilient to unpredictable weather, World Vision is helping the world’s most at-risk farming families rise to the challenge.
Choose ethical sources
Many cottagers live for that moment at the lake when they wake up early, brew a pot of coffee, and sip from their favourite mug while the mist rolls off the lake. But as crucial as coffee might be to our cottage weekend, it’s even more important to many of the world’s poor, who grow and harvest the beans we brew.
Like many grocery-store staples we sometimes take for granted, coffee is a picky plant that can thrive only in tropical regions. That means the families who’ve been farming it for generations live in developing countries, where they don’t always have a say in how prices are set and how the fruit of their labour is distributed. And coffee is just a tiny part of that story. Countless foods and other products we buy in Canada are part of global supply chains where producers in the developing world have little say in how they’re paid or treated. And unfortunately, these conditions have the deepest impact on children, who are often pulled out of school and forced to work.
The movement towards fair trade seeks to build a more equitable supply chain by fighting poverty, gender inequality, and other injustices involved in growing food and producing goods. And World Vision supports fair trade by championing children’s rights around the world, educating Canadian consumers, partnering with child-focused organizations, and pressuring the Canadian government to develop equitable trade policies.
Rethink energy use
Whether we’re idling through the weekend rush on our way to the lake or blasting the AC back in the city, easy access to cheap energy is something we often take for granted. But the reality is that more than a quarter of the world’s population lives without electricity. That makes simple tasks, like pumping water or doing homework at night, difficult for families in the developing world.
While curbing global greenhouse emissions is essential to stalling climate change, there are sustainable, efficient ways we can bring energy to the developing world and help families thrive. That’s why World Vision partners with organizations that specialize in sustainable energy initiatives, whether it’s installing passive solar water heaters on the roofs of homes or donating solar lights so that children can study at night.
Make a transformational impact
There are plenty of ways that Canadians can have a transformational impact on the world’s most vulnerable people. To learn more about how you can make a difference, visit https://www.worldvision.ca/our-world-vision