Clinton Global Initiative Conference Part 2: Another One Bites the Dust

During my research for part one of this Clinton Global Initiative conference assignment, I came across a description of a session on Tuesday’s agenda. It was for a discussion called “Elephants Action Network: Next Steps to Save Africa’s Elephants,” a panel, according to the description, covered the protection of elephants from extinction, and the sale of ivory on the black market. Gripped by the idea of animal preservation, I went in search for the video of the session, but my search came up empty handed. It still got me thinking about the issue, though.

The other day, a very sad thought crossed my mind. There are only four White Rhinos left in the entire world. They have been predicted to die out in the next few years. Why? Us. Humans are poaching and killing endangered and critically threatened species for parts. For what? Let me ask you think. What do you think piano keys, or cue balls are made of? What are fur coats made of?

There are currently 17 animal species listed at “critically endangered” on the WWF list of endangered species. It makes my heart ache to think that decades from now, my kids won’t know what a rhino is, because the black nor the white species won’t exist anymore; he or she may not know what a polar bear, or a tiger, or an elephant. When he or she asks why, I am going to have say “we (humans) did it.”

As a species, humans have devastated our climate, our nature, and the planet as a whole. Singlehandedly, we humans are destroying the Earth faster than we can rectify it. Deforestation, global warming and climate change, poaching: all for a “better,” “easier” life.

Wildlife preservation is something that we all need to be invested in. We are all residents of this planet, and we need to protect and preserve it. It’s time to engage with our environments, and make sure that they thrive as long as we do.

I took an honors class in the spring about zoo management, where the class took a

trip to Syracuse’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The zoo’s motto is “close enough to care.” Like the Syracuse Zoo, I too believe that we need to bring people close enough to wildlife to care, and conserve species, by donation, volunteering, or simply raising awareness. Because if we continue down the path of destruction that we are on right now, then, perhaps, even the most common of animals might not exist in the next 100 years.

Clinton Global Initiative Conference Part 1: The Future Importance of Women

The Future Importance of Women

The  Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting wrapped up early last week, and over the three days (26-29 September), global figureheads converged on New York to discuss a hot and crucial topic: global female empowerment and leadership.

Several panels and discussions were held to address the problems, necessary changes, and present successes for women around the world. One of the panels was called “Giving Girls A Chance,” which discussed the importance of investing in the future of little girls so that one day they can become leaders of communities, companies, and countries. The panel featured several empowering women, like Tina Brown, founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media and Women in the World, and Michelle Miller, President and CEO of CARE, the non-profit organization.

The panel’s main point of discussion is the potential of female leaders. If empowered with the appropriate job skills, girls could increase global GDP by as much as 5.4 percent, the panel description said. Throughout the discussion, they spoke about the resources needed by young girls to succeed, namely education. Today, there are 39 million uneducated girls in the world, and 510 million women are illiterate.

One of the Clinton Foundation’s overall main social initiatives is female empowerment at all ages. According to the foundation’s website, their programs empower young women and girls by “expanding access to education, increasing economic opportunity, and providing critical health care to young mothers and their newborns.” In the past, the organization has provided health care to HIV-positive mothers and their children to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission; they have invested in female Haitian artisans to both stimulate the Haitian economy after the devastating 2010, and to encourage women to create and maintain their own operations; and most recently, the foundation has been advocating for gender equality in male-heavy professions, such as the sciences and technology.

According to facts from the foundation’s website, women make up 70% of global poverty, earn only 10% of global income, but produce half of the world’s food. In their words, women are “the world’s most underserved—and undervalued—resource.” Around the world, women are oppressed, beaten, enslaved, raped and killed everyday because of their gender. In the United States, 14.6% of executive officers are female, and thousands of others face workplace discrimination due to their gender. In Saudi Arabia, women are prohibited to go anywhere without a man present, drive a car, or swim or participate in any sport. India India is ranked the fourth most dangerous country for women, according to a Reuters poll, with several gangs rapes a week, arranged marriages to older men for girls under 18 years old, and kept as slaves and servants by their controlling and abusive husbands or fathers. In China, it was once a tradition to orphan, or even try and kill baby girls because baby boys were far more honorable.

Today’s conditions for women are brutal, but he hopeful effect of these discussions, along with the CGI’s initiative, is to develop a core of humans that will fight for gender equality, the education of little girls, and the empowerment of women worldwide.