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In December 2021, I had the chance to talk with a bright 14-year-old girl named Maria Tunbonat, a fifth-grader in a state school in Tarakan, North Kalimantan. Her father, Ayub, also joined the video call as we spoke about her school and her…
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“Nothing about us without us” – that was the call from the indigenous rights advocate Ghazali Ohorella from the Alifuru people in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia during a panel at the climate summit in Glasgow.  This plea was echoed by many…
Georgina Wabano and her mother cooking traditional food for school children in Peawanuck, ON, December 18, 2019. : © 2019 Daron Donahue
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Activists, disappointed about UN rebuff, take the fight to COP26

When the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child decided in October it could not move forward with a climate crisis petition, I received a message from Raina Ivanova, one of the 16 youth who had brought the case. “We are all very disappointed,” she…
child petitioners who filed a complaint before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
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The climate crisis is taking a mounting toll on lives, health, and livelihoods of people around the world. States have a human rights obligation to protect people from the foreseeable harms we face from climate change, and to avert the most…
A view of the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, November 1, 2021. 
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Still Major Emitter Despite Coal Phase Out Announcements

“Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history.” Those were the words in July of Alok Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26). With world leaders gathered in Glasgow this week, the need to phase out coal has never…
Steam billows out of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Huai'an in east China's Jiangsu province, July 20, 2021.
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COP 26 Forest Deal Signatories Need to Align Policies with Agreement’s Goals to Deliver Results

More than 100 countries have signed on to the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030, announced on November 2 at the COP26 global climate summit. With deforestation the…
Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil.
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A parent’s desire to protect their child from harm is a universally shared emotion. Whether you are raising your children in the suburbs of Perth or in the Gaza Strip, every parent has that instinct embedded deep in their bones. Working as a…
Students call for urgent climate action during the school strike for climate in Perth, Australia.
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In the leadup to the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, COP26, the United Kingdom has sought to position itself as a leader in global efforts to end government support for fossil fuels. The UK’s Special Envoy to COP26, John Murton, announced…
Pumpjacks at an oil well site near Epping, N.D., Oct. 1, 2018. © 2018 Jim Wilson/The New York Times/GDA via AP Images
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Demand — for lumber, meat, soybeans, and other goods — is driving deforestation around the world. And China is a major customer.

“We need to have deep reverence for nature,” China’s President Xi Jinping told a crucial summit on biodiversity earlier this month. Yet he failed to mention that the Chinese government allows the import of millions of tons of beef, soy, and…
Fires near Novo Progresso, Brazil on August 23, 2020, burned land deforested by cattle farmers.
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“For weeks, the smoke covers the sky,” a doctor told me last year, when we investigated how forest fires affect the health of Brazilians in the Amazon. Thousands of people in Indigenous and Ribeirinho communities living on the banks of one…
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“Grow up!”, Boris Johnson told world leaders in his address to the United Nations. The British Prime Minister warned that all countries must commit to major changes ahead of the global climate summit in the UK, at the beginning of next month. If we…
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 22, 2021.
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The SC Order is Welcome, But More Needs to Be Done for People with Disabilities

I vividly remember the first time visited a mental hospital in Mumbai. In one room, dozens of people lay on the dirty floor, the stench of urine overpowering the air. The women wore shabby green uniforms, their heads shaved because of the…
Women with perceived or actual psychosocial disabilities at a mental hospital in Mumbai
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Significant Victory Requires Holistic Approach to Implementation

I vividly remember the first time visited a mental hospital in Mumbai. In one room, dozens of people lay on the dirty floor, the stench of urine overpowering the air. The women wore shabby green…
Women lying on the ground in a room.
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Lee Bo-reum found school almost intolerable. As a young woman, she was outed to her peers as a lesbian, and was ostracized and bullied by her classmates for her sexual orientation. As the mistreatment persisted, she eventually became depressed and…
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For the many Australians deeply concerned about the growing climate emergency, it’s been a tough year. As nations like the United States and the United Kingdom have pledged to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions…
A student protester speaks to the crowd during a climate change protest in Brisbane.
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When Isaias Cervantes, a hard of hearing young adult with autism and mental health conditions, became agitated and upset with his family, they called 911 to request support. The 911 operator sent sheriff’s deputies instead of a crisis intervention…
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Global Movement to #BreakTheChains

“I’ve lived in chains for many years. It’s very uncomfortable. I was shackled around the waist and ankle – my stomach used to hurt with the weight of the chain; it was so heavy. I used to cry.” — Akeyo, a woman with a psychosocial disability chained…
End Shackling in Indonesia