Wider View Archive

Methane: A key to our changing climate

November 1, 2018 Thirdway

A recent study published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a bleak future if nothing is done by governments and individuals to curb climate change. Vulnerable communities around the world are already experiencing the negative impacts of a changing climate, including drought, flooding, famine and increased natural disasters, all of which also contribute to migration and violence. Climate change is caused by the greenhouse effect, which is usually associated with carbon dioxide. However, methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide. As of 2017, methane comprised 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and 60 percent […]

And then there were three

October 25, 2018 Thirdway

By Monica Scheifele In 1968 Mennonite Central Committee took the bold step of opening its first advocacy office in Washington DC. In 1975, a second advocacy office was opened in Ottawa to be followed by a third advocacy office in 1991 in New York to relate to the United Nations. The offices initially opened as listening posts, but now monitor and analyze policies, facilitate meetings for MCC staff and encourage constituents to be advocates themselves. While each office is situated in a different context with unique challenges requiring unique strategies, they all share the same primary purpose of advocacy which […]

The war goes on

October 19, 2018 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

In 2015, Artur’s* family was forced to leave their home in Aleppo, Syria when their home was destroyed. Artur, who requires expensive medications and is unemployed, lives with his elderly parents, wife and two children. The family has received various forms of assistance from Mennonite Central Committee through a partner organization. The war in Syria has shifted into a new phase, focused in Idlib province. As the war winds down in other parts of the country, some have begun to focus on the need for reconstruction. Long-term rebuilding will be necessary for Syria to recover. But for many Syrians, such […]

When pressure prevents life-saving aid

October 5, 2018 Charissa Zehr

Other stories have long since overshadowed the groundbreaking summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jung Un of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). Sadly, it seems the United States government is dragging its heels in this critical process that could bring reconciliation to the Korean Peninsula and between decades-long adversaries. Despite the friendly handshake, photo op and effusive tweets, very little has changed in the frozen relations between the U.S. and North Korea. U.S.-imposed travel restrictions hinder most human interaction between the two nations. Financial sanctions and shipping constraints limit the import of almost every kind […]

Understanding perspectives on gun violence

September 21, 2018 Cherelle M. Dessus

Mass shootings are regularly highlighted in the media, and they prompt important conversations regarding U.S. gun policy and public safety. However, The American public  fails to acknowledge that the majority of gun deaths and injuries do not stem from mass shootings but are a result of homicides, suicides and accidents. It is crucial to pursue policies that prevent those daily occurrences as well as mass shootings. Furthermore, the controversy and over-generalizations surrounding gun violence have prevented us from exploring the issue in depth. One narrative suggests that strengthening gun policies will take away the freedom to carry a weapon that […]

Invest our treasure in people, not walls

September 7, 2018 Tammy Alexander

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:21 Matthew 6:21 is often cited as a guide for individual spending habits, but it can also be an important principle to consider for federal budgets. The U.S. government spends roughly $18 billion per year on immigration enforcement—more than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. In July, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill to increase this funding and add $5 billion for more walls on the U.S.-Mexico border. A similar bill in the Senate calls for $1.6 billion for border walls. To many members of Congress, […]

 Humanitarian assistance and politics

August 17, 2018 Thirdway

by Xin-Dee Low, international affairs intern at the MCC U.S. Washington Office, Summer 2018   Sanctions, economic embargoes and withholding humanitarian assistance are sometimes seen as effective foreign policy tools. Many policymakers believe they can indirectly twist the opposition’s arm into carrying out their interest. But civilian lives should not be put in jeopardy because the people in power are unwilling to reconcile. In January the United States announced it would freeze funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance to Palestinian refugees. UNRWA has been working hard to gather political and financial support around the […]

Climate Change and Women

August 6, 2018 Third Way

By Whitney Ricker, Climate Advocacy Intern, Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions Climate change is not often thought of as a gender issue, yet it is becoming increasingly clear that women are particularly vulnerable to its impacts. As we continue to see an increase in natural disasters and environmental degradation, global poverty and suffering are also increased, further marginalizing vulnerable populations. In many parts of the world, women are at a significant disadvantage as compared to their male counterparts, making their survival during times of crisis much more difficult. Globally, women between the ages of 25 and 34 are 22 percent […]

Counting down in faith

July 20, 2018 Charles Kwuelum

By Charles Kwuelum On June 30, the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrated its 58th anniversary of independence. Instead of celebrating landmark democratic achievements as a nation, the country faces the unpleasant challenge of multi-layered conflicts including political and ethnic violence. Militarized responses from DR Congo’s armed forces and rebel groups continue to shake its stability. In December 2016, President Joseph Kabila’s second and last term ended according to Congolese constitution. Elections have been delayed and the president has since remained in office. This has led to countrywide protests from citizens to demand elections. The peaceful protests were met with […]

When children can’t go to school

Before we know it, summer routines will end and children will return to school. But for more than 500,000 Palestinian children throughout the Middle East, schools may not be able to open in the fall. It has been five months since the U.S. announced it would be withholding most of its funding from the U.N. agency that provides services to Palestinian refugees. In addition to operating nearly 700 schools, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides food assistance, health care and other services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It is unclear […]