Archive | July 2013

Make Poverty History

 

Across the world, everyone is joining together for one common goal – to make poverty history. Together we can end poverty!

 

What is Make Poverty History?

 

In 2000, all 191 member countries of the United Nations – including Australia – made a historic agreement and committed to halve poverty by 2015. There were 8 targets involved, and these became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and they are a crucial step towards making poverty history.

These 8 targets are:

 

  1. Halve Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  2. Primary Education for All Children
  3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
  4. Reduce Child Deaths
  5. Improve Maternal Health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDs, Malaria and other diseases
  7. Environmental Sustainability and Clean Water/Sanitation
  8. A Global Partnership, including more and better aid

 

Now is the time to act!

 

2013 is a critical year for the Australian aid program. With the Federal Election set for September, and this being the last Australian election before the MDGs deadline in 2015, it is an important time for us to let our political leaders know that we care about ending extreme poverty and that it can be done.
We must ask our political leaders to keep their promise of committing 0.7% of our national income to help end poverty.

 

How does the Movement to End Poverty work?

 

The Movement to End Poverty is a joint action of the Make Poverty History and Micah coalitions for all Australians who believe we can end extreme poverty. It IS possible to end poverty, and we can all be a part of this worthy cause.

“Since 1990, aid has helped to reduce extreme poverty, including almost halving the number of children around the world who die before their fifth birthday – 14,000 fewer children dying every single day.

Let’s help make poverty history by giving our fair share of aid – just 70 cents in every $100 of Australia’s national income by 2020.

As a step towards contributing our fair share, the Government must keep its promise to increase aid to 50 cents in every $100 dollars of national income by 2016 and the Opposition must match this commitment.” – Movement to End Poverty

 

Sign the Petition!

 

We can all show our support for fair, sustainable international development by signing the petition to Make Poverty History. Our signatures will show the federal government that contributing a fair amount to sustainable human development is something many Australians support.

 

So far, over 60,000 people have signed on to support the cause, and the number continues to grow.

By adding your name to the Movement to End Poverty, your name will appear in the public mosaic image of signatories. You will join a historic social movement of people who support an end to extreme poverty in our lifetime.

 

What else can we do?

 

Other ways to show your support include:

Humane Research Australia – Let’s end animal experimentation

  1. Let’s end animal experimentation

What is Humane Research Australia?

Humane Research Australia Inc. is a not for profit organisation that challenges the use of animals in research and promotes the use of more humane and scientifically-valid non animal methodologies.

The organisation was founded in October 1979 by Ms Elizabeth Ahlston, registered under the Charitable Collections Act (NSW) in December of that year, and incorporated in January 1992.

In its formative years, HRA organized a visit to Australia by Muriel the Lady Dowding – founder of the Beauty Without Cruelty movement which first exposed the cruel methods used in testing cosmetics on un-anaesthetised animals.

Over the years, AAHR has been involved in many projects and created many trust funds that have been able to support non-animal research projects and training of scientists in non-animal techniques. They have also supported many overseas campaigns including sending 10,000 aerograms to the President of the European Parliament protesting the failure by EEC to ban animal testing of cosmetics, support for BUAV’s “Paradise Lost” campaign about primates, and the campaign against the plight of China’s Moon Bears milked for their bile.

Local campaigns have included protests against the provision of pound dogs to research laboratories, use of the Fat-Tailed Dunnart (an Australian marsupial) in experiments about obesity, and a parade of giant rabbits with Draize-test damaged eyes through the streets of Sydney.

In 2005, AAHR relocated to Melbourne, produced an educational DVD about animal research in Australia, prepared government submissions about animal research, and they continue to campaign for the ethical treatment of animals.

HRA’s Vision

“HRA’s vision is one where scientific establishments are lined with significant achievement awards instead of cages; where inappropriate animal models are replaced with progressive technologies and where every patient receiving lifesaving medications can be confident knowing that their treatments have been safely and thoroughly tested through methodologies that are directly relevant to humans.”

“The philosophy of Humane Research Australia is that opposition to animal experimentation is not just an ethical issue – it has a scientific basis too. We recognise that data obtained from animal experiments cannot be extrapolated to human conditions with a sufficient degree of accuracy and so it’s therefore crucial that if we genuinely desire a healthier society we must base medical research on models that accurately mimic the human system, rather than an artificially-induced replica in a different species – species that differ from us anatomically, physiologically and genetically.”

–       Humane Research Australia website

What can we do?

HRA outlines a number of different ways we can be aware of the issues surrounding animal research, and do our part to make a difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“We can all make a difference just by making simple changes in our daily lives.”

 1. Buy cruelty-free products

  • Choose products to purchase that have not been tested on animals
  • You will be supporting the companies that are ethical towards animals, proving that it is possible to have a world without animal testing.
  • For a list of “Preferred Products”, visit the Choose Cruelty Free website

2. Refuse to donate to animal-based research

  • When you are donating to a health charity, check that they are not an animal-testing medical charity.
  • You will be redirecting your funds to charities that recognize that animal testing is unnecessary.
  • See this list for Humane Charities that do NOT use animals. www.humanecharities.org.au

3. Join HRA!

Check out Humane Research Australia’s website for more ways that you can make a difference!

http://www.humaneresearch.org.au/what-you-can-do

Save the Great Barrier Reef!

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is on the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, and is the world’s largest coral reef system. It stretches for over 2,600 kilometres, can be seen from outer space, and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms called coral polyps.

CNN labelled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and it is the state icon of Queensland.

 

Why is it in danger?

According to a study published in October 2012, the reef has lost more than half of its coral since 1985.

“If the trend continues, coral cover will decline by a further 40 per cent by 2022.” – Dr Peter Doherty, research fellow at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

While a large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use such as fishing and tourism, there are developing concerns about the impact of certain elements on the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental pressures such as runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish cause much damage to the reef.

However, there is an even greater concern emerging.

The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area, however UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) have found that the Australian Federal and Queensland State Government have not been doing enough to protect this World Heritage. In late March of this year, UNESCO visited Australia to inspect the current and projected developments which are currently destroying Gladstone Harbor and impacting the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

One of the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals is being built in Gladstone Harbor and this is causing massive amounts of damage to the Great Barrier Reef, so much so that Australia has been given six months to fix the problem, or else the Great Barrier Reef will be down-listed to ‘World Heritage in danger.’

At Gladstone at the moment, approximately 42 million tonnes of the Harbour bed is being dredged to build pipelines to the terminals and infrastructure and port development for shipping vessels which will take the LNG overseas. This dredging has resulted in a high degree of contaminant mobilisation, poisoning fish, dugongs, turtles and other marine life.

What will happen to the reef?

Climate scientists argue that these coal developments will double Australia’s carbon emissions in the next decade. This will make conditions impossible for the reef’s survival, and will lead to environmental catastrophe.

The coal development companies are now waiting on Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke’s final decision on whether they will be allowed to begin the Abbot Point dredging project, which will allow them to dump their spoil off the coast of Bowen.

The dredging site is home to a variety of vulnerable marine life, including the most endangered nesting turtle in Australia, the loggerhead. Despite assurances that the dredged spoil will end up in a “similar” site, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has recently found that the modelling of the dredging project does not take into account ocean currents, which could spread the spoil from a dump site up to 50 kilometres further on.

How can we save the reef?

You can do your part to help save the reef by signing the petitions being sent to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

Join tens of thousands of Australians and add your name to the petition for the Great Barrier Reef.

http://www.savethereef.org.au/

The future of the Great Barrier Reef hangs in the balance. Sign the petition now and help save the Reef!

Read more about what’s happening to the Reef and how Greenpeace are trying to save it here:

http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/news/climate/Murky-waters/

You can also help by sharing the story with everyone you know. Every additional signature counts, it is up to us to fight for the Reef.

“She can see the power of her voice way beyond herself.”

The story of Malala Yousafzai has been all over the news for years now, ever since she first became known in early 2009 for campaigning for education for all Pakistani girls.

 

Who is Malala Yousafzai?

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school girl and education activist from the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Since she was young, she has been actively working towards education for all Pakistani girls. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is a poet, school owner, and an educational activist himself, and contributed towards much of his daughter’s early education and viewpoint, and it was he who encouraged her to become a politician.

In early 2009 she wrote under a pseudonym for the BBC about her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take over the valley she lived, and her thoughts on education for all girls.

 

“We had been covering the violence and politics in Swat in detail but we didn’t know much about how ordinary people lived under the Taliban.” – Mirza Waheed, former editor of BBC Urdu.

The following summer, the New York Times filmed a documentary about her life. She then rose in prominence and gave interviews in print and on television, became chairperson of the District Child Assembly Swat, and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize, of which she is the youngest nominee in history. She is also the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.

What happened to Malala?

Through the years as her presence grew, her safety was more and more compromised, and yet she did not falter in her quest for peace and equal education for Pakistani girls.

“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.” – Malala Yousafzai, envisioning a confrontation with the Taliban.

On the 9th October, 2012, while she was returning home on a school bus, Malala was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by the Taliban. For a few days after the attack she remained in intensive care, unconscious and in critical condition, but she later improved and was sent to Birmingham to recover in Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

 

What happened next?

As Malala recovered, people around the world reacted immediately and with conviction. The assassination attempt received immediate worldwide media coverage and produced an outpouring of sympathy, along with widespread anger. Protests against the shooting were held in several Pakistani cities the day after the attack.

”She has the vision of the wider picture and, even though she was personally in danger, she saw the need to advocate for the rights of all girls…She can see the power of her voice way beyond herself.” – Australian indigenous activist Hayley McQuire.

World leaders unanimously denounced the attack.

Madonna dedicated a song to Malala.

Angelina Jolie, former First Lady of the U.S. Laura Bush, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all wrote and spoke about Malala.

On 15 October 2012, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched a petition “in support of what Malala fought for” using the slogan “I am Malala.

The petition’s main demand is that there be no children left out of school by 2015, with the hope that “girls like Malala everywhere will soon be going to school.”

The petition contains three demands:

  1. We call on Pakistan to agree to a plan to deliver education for every child.
  2. We call on all countries to outlaw discrimination against girls.
  3. We call on international organizations to ensure the world’s 61 million out-of-school children are in education by the end of 2015.

What can we do to help?

Gordon Brown’s petition in Malala’s name calls for Pakistan “to ensure that every girl like Malala has the chance to go to school.” – Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. It also calls on the international community to ensure all children have access to education by the end of 2015.

You can view and sign the petition at:

http://educationenvoy.org/

On July 12th, Malala’s 16th birthday, and “Malala Day”, Malala gave a speech addressed to the United Nations to call for their support of equal education around the world.

malala2

[Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations in New York.]

“Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights…Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them.”

They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

–       Malala Yousafzai

 

She delivered this message directly to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“Peace is necessary for education. In many parts of the world especially Pakistan and Afghanistan; terrorism, wars and conflicts stop children to go to their schools.” – Malala Yousafzai

Now we can use her message to convince all countries to deliver the funding to make Malala’s dream come true for all children.

Sign the petition and join this revolutionary campaign for education for all.

Defend the 4th Amendment! Don’t let the U.S Government get away with spying on you.

By now I’m sure you all know about Edward Snowden and how he leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.

Who is Edward Snowden?

Edward Snowden is an American former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Snowden leaked the information about mass surveillance in the early half of 2013 while employed as an “infrastructure analyst” at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Soon after, “The Guardian” published a series of exposés in June–July 2013 and revealed programs such as the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM Internet surveillance programs.

Snowden said the leaks were an effort “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

On June 14, 2013, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sorts of things [surveillance on its citizens]… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden

What information is being collected?

Under a controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act, the NSA is collecting information about every domestic phone call of every Verizon customer in the United States.

Information collected includes the phone number dialed, the time and duration of the call, and information about the cell phone tower used to make each call.

Snowden’s information only covered the company Verizon but it has been considered highly likely that all the other major telephone companies were involved in the program.

In addition to phone records, we now know that the NSA has a program called PRISM, which allows the agency to obtain private information about users of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and other Internet companies.

PRISM is a system for expediting the delivery of private information after company lawyers have scrutinized a government request. However, judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

 

Is any of this legal?

 Section 215 of the Patriot Act apparently gives the government the power to obtain any “tangible thing” from third parties relevant to a terrorist investigation. However, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the lead sponsor of the Patriot Act, has denounced the Obama administration’s interpretation of Section 215 as “a bunch of bunk.” He argues that Section 215 orders were only intended to be used for information relevant to specific investigations.

What about the Fourth Amendment?

The Fourth Amendment requires search warrants to be specific about who is to be searched and what information is to be seized. However, there’s nothing specific about the Verizon order when it comes to collecting phone records.

The government says PRISM is authorized by Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, but the more controversial question is whether Section 702 itself is constitutional.

FISA orders are not search warrants, but the government argues that the Fourth Amendment does not apply because it is only spying on non-Americans. However, critics have said that although the “targets” of NSA surveillance may be foreigners, the surveillance itself may still collect information about Americans, and even use that information for non-intelligence purposes. They argue that doing that without a warrant violates the Constitution.

So how can we protest?

The facts are clear: the NSA has turned the Internet into a massive surveillance system. They’re using the websites we love to track our every move.

On July 4th, thousands protested in more than 100 cities, and over 30,000 websites of the “Internet Defense League” (IDL) joined in.

This is only the beginning…

Defend the 4th Amendment! Write to Congress now:

http://www.callforfreedom.org/

Callforfreedom.org lists some great ways to protest this invasion of privacy. You can write to congress, share the protest on social media platforms, or post images everywhere to show your support for the protests.

I stand by the Fourth Amendment and against mass NSA surveillance. Do you?

The NSW Government invests in Foster Care

The need for foster carers

On the 30th of May 2013, NSW Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward launched ‘Fostering NSW – a year-long foster care recruitment and awareness campaign, to encourage people to open their heart and foster a child.

The NSW Government is investing $1 million in a year-long social media and print advertising campaign to avoid a shortfall in foster carers across the State.

At the moment, there are more than 18,000 children in out of home care, a number the government feels is too high, and this number continues to rise.

There are over 9000 foster carers in NSW however, there is urgent need for new foster families for a variety of reasons including the replacement of leaving carers, and new carers to meet additional needs.

The minister found that the majority of carers are older people and it is important to do the utmost to attract young families into the foster caring industry.

“(There is currently) no (shortage of carers) but we think there will be if we don’t do something about it…Foster carers in NSW…work tirelessly and often thanklessly caring for our most vulnerable children and young people… (but) there is urgent need for new foster families.” – Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services.

By investing this money in advertising and social media, the government hopes its campaign will attract an additional 450 carers over the coming year, specifically young families from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds. There are children that are in care at the moment that would specifically benefit from being placed within foster care situations with people from their own cultures.

Open Adoptions

Another area of concern for Ms Goward is encouraging more young families to enter into ‘open adoptions’.

“We recognise that permanency is very important to children and gives them a better start.

“The outcomes for children in foster care aren’t great and we think one the reasons for that is not only the trauma of the children when they come into care but also the fact they often move from foster family to foster family.

“So despite the good work foster families do, we think what we really need to start stressing is permanency for children and that means either guardianship orders or adoption where we can see that is a possibility and the birth parents are happy to do that because with an open adoption the birth parents can stay in touch. (With open adoption the children are) basically connected to that one family for their whole lives…”

“I don’t know what most people get on their 18th birthdays but these kids get a letter from me and a goodbye…”

“So, the family isn’t paid anymore, and therefore the child is no longer part of that family. So, it is very sad.” – Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services.

Ms Goward hopes the campaign will reach couples in their mid to late 20s who aren’t able have children of their own and are open to the idea of adoption.

“[Foster caring] is such a wonderful thing… there are so many loving foster parents and they love doing it because they can see a child turning from a little frightened thing into a happy stable kid who can actually go to school and get fed and get cuddles and receives affection and can go on to lead a normal life.” – Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services.

Become a foster carer!

If you’ve ever considered becoming a foster care, now is the time to act. With thousands of children in foster care, and that number continuously rising, foster care agencies around NSW need all the help they can get. Anyone can apply to be a foster carer. If you’d like to join Phoenix Rising For Children’s team of carers, and to work with us to provide a nurturing placement for a child / young person, we’d love to hear from you.

PRFC provides care to children across the greater Sydney metropolitan and Central Coast areas. To be eligible to apply for this position you must have an appropriate Australian or New Zealand work visa.

We are contactable in the following ways:

Telephone: Samantha on 02 9873 3992,

Write to us at PO Box 71, Oatlands 2117 or

Email: care@phoenixrising.org.au

Phoenix Rising For Children website

Phoenix Rising For Children Facebook page

My Careers Website: www.mycareer.com.au

Do you know about the trapped bears in Romania?

There are 20 bears in illegal captivity in Romania, including Doru. They live each day locked in tiny cages, with little food and often no water. They are cramped up, endlessly rocking to and fro, with no hope of activity or excitement to brighten their days.

WSPA is working with local organisations in Pakistan and Romania to provide homes for bears  that are rescued.

Image

Cristi – Zarnesti’s first rescue bear

[http://www.wspa.org.au]

Bears raised in tiny enclosures and abusive situations are sadly usually unable to adapt to a life in the wild, and so when they are rescued, their best option is life-time care in a sanctuary designed to allow them to behave as naturally as possible.

Doru and Gheorghe remain trapped in Onesti Zoo

Doru is one of the last remaing trapped bears in the Onesti Zoo in Romania. WSPA are in talks with the owner of the zoo and the local Mayor, and they are very close to bringing Doru and another bear, Gheorghe, to the WSPA funded Zarnesti sanctuary. Both of these bears are 15 years old and have lived their whole lives in single, stark cages with no stimulation, no grass or trees and no shelter from the winter cold or the summer heat.

The Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary was established in 2006 to provide a home to bears rescued and released from captivity.  Zarnesti is in the Carpathian countryside, and there the bears learn to hibernate and interact with each other, freedoms that they have never known.

How can we help?

WSPA are in need of urgent donations to help bring Doru and Gheorghe to the Zarnesti sanctuary. 70 bears have already been freed from cruelty and now live in the safety of the Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary.

“When I saw the bears who we were going to have to leave behind, it was the most distressing thing I have ever experienced. I then realised how much I wanted to be involved and help WSPA push for change.” Asher Keddie – WSPA Celebrity Ambassador

WSPA have outlined a number of ways in which your small donation can help them.

Your support will help:

  • The rescue and protection of the last bears held in illegal captivity
  • To feed and care for the 70 bears already in Zarnesti Sanctuary
  • Our ongoing work to stop cruelty to animals everywhere.

How do we donate?

You can help save Doru by donating through WSPA’s website.

You can also make a donation to WSPA to help animals all around the world through phone, post, or fax.

Phone: 1300 13 9772
Post: WSPA Australia
GPO Box 3294
Sydney NSW 2001
Fax: +61 2 9906 1166

 Together we can STOP the suffering and end cruelty to animals. 

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