GLOBAL VOICES COLUMN ARCHIVE

Giving a voice to the world's most fascinating untold global and social issues.

What Happens When Day Zero Comes Here?

A winter of bitter winds but little snow gives way to a dry spring. April showers are just a nursery rhyme. City officials ask citizens to take shorter showers. The drought drags through summer. By September, the town pumps are dredging up mud. One morning, you turn on your tap and nothing comes out. What do you do? Cape Town is struggling to...

April 4th, 2018 read more

Without packages, boxes or bags: Your zero waste grocer

What’s in your fridge? Perhaps there’s bacon. Or the fixings for an omelet with cheese and tomato. But how much is actually edible? How much of it is packaging? Bacon slices are peeled out of a disposable plastic packet, while the eggs stand sentinel in a Styrofoam carton. Tomatoes are locked in a clamshell box, those miniature plastic pr...

October 29th, 2016 read more

Water: One of the First Casualties of War

When the people of Aleppo, Syria, turned on their taps in early March, they saw clean, running water for the first time in months. In January, the Islamic State seized the sole water plant that serves the entire city of Aleppo and shut it down, depriving three million people of drinking water. Syrian government forces took back the facility last...

April 15th, 2016 read more

Technological solutions for a thirsty world

When Archie Barrie heard pounding on his metal roof, the terrified child bolted into his mother’s arms. The two-year-old boy, who lives on a farm in central Australia, had never heard or seen rain before. Australia has endured chronic droughts for 20 years. Some areas haven’t seen a drop of rain in years. California is in its fourth year of ...

July 25th, 2015 read more

Let’s rekindle our love and respect of water

Leaping from a dock under a brilliant July sun into the icy water of a Canadian lake brought a tide of memories. A few weeks ago, Craig was visiting friends at their cottage on Lake of the Woods, in northwestern Ontario. The experience harkened back to years of childhood summer vacations and Boy Scout excursions. Home to 60 per cent of the worl...

July 20th, 2015 read more

Recognizing the heroes of Haiti’s cholera crisis

In the fall of 2010, cholera arrived in Haiti like the hydra from Greek mythology. For every patient Dr. Denold Milsoit treated, two more would be carried in. Thousands would succumb to its poisonous bite. Last December, TIME Magazine bestowed its “Person of the Year” on the healthcare responders fighting Africa’s Ebola outbreak. It is well-...

January 10th, 2015 read more

Access to water is everybody’s problem

It’s a classic extortion racket. Criminals demanding regular payments and if their victims don’t deliver, the thugs warn, ‘Somebody dies!’ But in 28 villages in northern India, there’s one big difference: the gangsters don’t want cash, they want water—35 buckets a day, delivered to their hideout. Or else. Northern India has been sh...

August 5th, 2014 read more

A Canadian crusader fights for the oceans—and humanity

Rob Stewart’s whole life changed the day he found the “curtain of death.” In 1999, Stewart was 22 and enjoying a carefree existence as an underwater photographer and filmmaker. “I was selfish before. I was just travelling, photographing animals, thinking I had the best job in the world,” he told us. Then, while diving in a protected a...

June 10th, 2013 read more

First Nations youth walk for clean water

Acadia Solomon just wanted to swim with her friends. Unfortunately the signs posted last year at her favourite swimming spot were clear: it was not safe to swim in or drink the water. The problem was pollution from the paper mill upstream. So when she heard about a group of First Nations youth walking from Winnipeg to Ottawa to speak out about th...

May 21st, 2013 read more

The human toll of desertification

Nora Busienei closed her eyes and smiled as she remembered years past when her small farmhouse burst at the seams with sacks of maize, beans, millet and pumpkins. “I would stare at our harvest. I was so happy, so confident in my children’s future,” she said, before her smile faded. “That feels like another world now.” Today her mud hut ...

April 8th, 2013 read more