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November is the month when men across the world grow moustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues. As such, we’re dedicating this months episode to, you guessed it, men’s health!
Listen in as we chat to Movember Ireland and Tribe Charity about the steps we need to take to make it easier for men to talk about their problems.
We also talk to Leterkenny IT SU about the events they’ve been running on campus to promote good mental health, and finally to Dr. Emer Sheahan, a Counselling Psychologist based in Dublin.
Follow us on Instagram @stand.ie for updates and links.
In 2008, Ecuador signed into law a progressive socialist constitution that is defined by many as the most radical in the world regarding the rights of the environment and indigenous people.
Strongly inspired by the 2007 UN Declaration on the rights of the Indigenous people, the heart of the constitution contains the indigenous concept of Sumak Kawsay, which stipulates that humans should be in harmony with nature.
An alternative to capitalist resource management, it put the protection of the environment/Pachamama (Mother Nature) to the fore.
Under this constitution and its promises, the government of Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, launched a groundbreaking initiative called ‘Yasuní-ITT’ to protect biodiversity and indigenous peoples in the oil-rich national park of YasunÍ – a bold move in the face of global capitalism.
However, the same constitution has since failed and resource extraction has increased despite numerous welfare-programs and the far-reaching efforts of Correa’s government.
In 2013 Correa said that he was ‘deeply saddened’ that he had to end the initiative and gave the go ahead for oil drilling in the YasunÍ area of the Amazon.
He maintained that the main reason for this was that the international community had failed Ecuador after only 0.37% of the projected donations had been received to turn YasunÍ national park into a protected national park for the rest of time.
Ecuador has one of the highest poverty rates in South America and drastic social reform was required to build schools, hospitals and combat poverty as a whole.
Many developing countries have borrowed from China despite high interest rates and China’s demands for the borrowing nation to relinquish their states natural resources for a set time.
China lent $1 billion to PetroEcuador in 2009.
Within a year Chinese money began to flow into Ecuador.
By 2015, China had already pumped $11 billion into Ecuador, which went towards infrastructure – schools, hospitals, roads, highways and bridges, but also many other projects.
One such project is the hydroelectric plant that is just a few miles away from the Amazons Coca River.
The project which cost $2.2 billion, has ushered in the building of a dam and a 15 mile-long underground tunnel, which will feed water to 8 giant Chinese turbines, designed to produce enough electricity to light more than 1/3 of Ecuador.
Unfortunately, the dam created for this project will dry up nearly 40 miles of the Coca river for several months of the year, wiping out an entire aquatic ecosystem due to the reliance of fish life-cycles on the water flow.
This environmental cost is not the only downside to the project.
Thousands of Ecuadorian and Chinese laborers work on these projects.
In December 2014, an underground river burst through a tunnel on the site, killing 14 workers – 3 Chinese and 11 Ecuadorian.
Chinese leaders have described the investments as symbiotic and said that Ecuador have ‘come at the right time’ for cooperation.
China currently has a lock on almost 90% of Ecuador’s oil exports – which mostly go to paying of its debts.
Due to the financial position of Ecuador after refusing to pay debts to Western debtors, labeling them as ‘immoral and illegitimate’, and its failed relationship with the United States, the country has little choice in attempting to climb from poverty other than to rely on its relationship with and exports to China.
The intense pressure to reform the countries infrastructure, economic and financial systems and civil society, as well as the nations hug e debt has meant that the Amazonian ecosystem, the environment as a whole and the people of Ecuador are in a highly compromised position.
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Image courtesy of Archivo Medios Públicos EP at Flickr.
Claudia Nussbaumer continues her series, ‘Gender roles in indigenous communities,’ this week looking at Inuit communities of Greenland, Canada and Alaska.
The Inuit (meaning, ‘the people’) are a large group of culturally similar communities living in the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. The total population is around 150,000.
There are four aspects, which are markers for social hierarchy in traditional Inuit culture: The community as a whole, leadership, gender and marital relationships and the relationship between the Inuit and the people of Canada.
As Inuit people hold their traditions in high regard, elders play a crucial role within the Inuit community. They are thought to be the best source of knowledge when it comes to practices and teachings. Women and men alike are recognised as elders. Elders are not literally regarded as leaders of the community, yet their philosophy is the foundation of Inuit society.
Those chosen to lead are elected on the basis of their ability to communicate the elders’ teachings to the entire community. They act merely as spokespersons rather than decision makers. Inuit society is very communal and governing is regulated by consensus. There is no obligation to obey the decisions made by leaders, though most of the time they are respected as they have the elders’ blessing and the best interests of the community in mind.
Modern conceptions of gender often experience tension with more traditional practices, long considered the norm within Inuit communities. Traditionally, men would be in charge of hunting and gathering, leaving women to bear the brunt of household decisions. Men and women were divided and tasked with gendered roles for the continuance of society. While men would engage in the hunt itself, women would look after the men when they returned, sewing their clothes from the animal skins, cooking meals and performing other tasks vital to survival. Women were, however, free to learn traditionally male skills.
With government-led forced resettlement, traditional Inuit society underwent a radical change. Inuit communities stopped living in camps and started living in more ‘modern’ communities where hunting became less important for survival. Modern wage-jobs became the norm and consequently, had a major effect on gender roles. Women entered the workforce and were empowered through doing so. This change grated with traditional practices of gender that Inuit society had long practiced.
Women have become, in many cases, the primary provider within their families. However, working a wage job whilst looking after children and doing domestic housework is a ‘double burden’ for many women. The opinion of many women is that their traditional social roles should be modified to reflect their changing society, and it should be recognised that these roles often limit the power of women within their communities. The ideas of equality pose potential conflicts with the communitarian ideas of Inuit society, especially as older generations are more likely to conform to the traditional values.
As today marks international day for the elimination of racism, we reflect on the work to integrate refugees in Ireland.
Infographic courtesy of Show Racism the Red Card
To read more about the Red Card or how to get involved, see our Q&A with them here.