Archive | February 2014

Help stop the ‘unstoppable’ coal giants

Work has already begun on Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Project in NSW’s Leard State Forest. Current mines have open-cut close to 1,000 hectares and existing proposals would see this area increased to at least 5,000ha. In the tiny community of Maules Creek, though, farmers complain of falling water tables and the indigenous Gameroi people say the company will be bulldozing burial sites. And growing numbers are camping out in protest against the mine’s environmental impact on the state forest.

Leard State Forest is classified as a biodiversity hotspot and provides an important home to hundreds of plants and animals including 34 threatened species such as the koala. If the Maules Creek mine – the biggest coal mine currently under construction in Australia – is allowed to go ahead it will reduce the water table by up to 7 metres, pour thousands of tonnes of harmful coal dust onto surrounding communities and produce 30 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year.

What happens if the mining goes ahead?

There are already two mines operating nearby, Boggabri Coal and Tarrawonga. The Maules Creek Project would be the third mine and the largest, with some devastating effects for local communities and the planet. Coal mines like Maules Creek require millions of litres of water to function. The mine would deplete what’s left of the water table, putting already struggling farmers under further stress.

Scientists have said that, in order to keep global warming below 2ºC, carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere must peak in 2016 and then decline by 2.7% every year after that. Australia has recommitted to its promise to a 2ºC limit, yet the expansion of the coal-export industry is incompatible with this commitment.

Supporting Greenpeace

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Greenpeace as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 How you can help

Forest clearing has just begun to make way for access roads and rail lines into the area.

Around the world, individuals and communities are joining together to oppose fossil fuel projects. From openly calling for sit-ins and getting arrested (Keystone XL movement, Canada and the US), to denying fossil fuel companies access to land (Lock the Gate, Australia), and to tackling coal-mine expansion…” – Point of No Return Report by Greenpeace.

If you’re thinking of getting involved, join the conversation and find out more information by using #LeardBlockade on Facebook and Twitter or by visiting: leardstateforest.tumblr.com

You can help Avaaz stop dolphin hunting in Peru

Dolphins in distress

More than 10,000 dolphins are being killed every year in Peruvian waters. The dolphins are being slaughtered to be used solely as shark bait, despite the practice being outlawed by the South American country.

“In recent years, there’s been an upsurge in the targeting of sharks. The shark meat is predominantly consumed within Peru, but the fins we’re told are being exported to the Far East for use as shark fin soup.” – Jim Wickens, an investigative journalist with the Ecologist Film Unit.

In Peru dolphin hunting is officially illegal and the crime is theoretically punishable with several years in prison. However, it appears that authorities are turning a blind eye, according to the Ecologist Film Unit.

Despite the law prohibiting the human consumption and sales of dolphin meat, the animal conservation group Mundo Azul asserts there’s been weak law enforcement and lack of awareness.

Avaaz’s efforts

“Our oceans are under attack. Sharks and dolphins already face threats from pollution, climate change and entanglement in fishing gear. They play an important role as ocean predators and need to be protected — not butchered. Many marine ecosystems are on the verge of collapse from which they won’t recover and they will not wait while our politicians dither around making empty statements.” – Avaaz statement on the Peru dolphin massacre

Avaaz has put together a petition to the Government of Peru:

“To the Minister of Environment Manuel Gerardo Pedro Pulgar-Vidal Otálora, the Minister of Production Gladys Mónica Triveño Chan Jan, and President Ollanta Humala:

Through this petition we demand you enforce the law with regards to the hunting and sale of dolphins for food and bait in Peru. We have all witnessed through various publications and images the terrible crime that happens on our shores. According to information published, 15,000 dolphins a year in are being killed in Peru. Don’t destroy our ocean. There is no going back. We ask you to STOP THESE ACTS and make those responsible pay. We do not ask for miracles.”

Supporting Avaaz

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Avaaz as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

How you can help

Support Avaaz and sign the petition to stop the hunting of dolphins in Peru:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/dolphin_hunt_peru/?slideshow

Syrian civil society and women sidelined in peace talks

Peace talks begin

After months of postponements, the long-awaited Geneva II Conference to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria began in January in Montreux, Switzerland. It took a monumental diplomatic effort to make the conference happen. The Montreux conference could mark the first step on a long, rocky road to the resolution of this devastating crisis.

Syrian women and civil society sidelined

Oxfam is concerned that Syrian civil society organisations and women have, so far, been sidelined. Many representatives of Syrian civil society including women made the long journey to Montreux – but were denied a place around the table. That must change as the talks progress if they are to deliver a sustainable political solution. The voice of the peaceful, yet marginalized majority, must be heard. Other than the warring parties, the critical mass of peaceful Syrian voices will be missing from these talks; as it often happens it is only “the men with guns” who will be represented.

“If these were serious peace talks then civil society organisations would have been at the table, everyone knows that without women and civil society peace is simply not sustainable.” – Rim Turkmani, from Madani – a Syrian civil society organisation.

Oxfam’s efforts

Oxfam has been working alongside Syrian women’s groups to push for a place for civil society at the negotiating table.

Syrian women’s groups and wider civil society organisations have been working for peace all along. Through their efforts to provide aid and promote reconciliation, they have become experts on the realities on the ground, the needs and aspirations of ordinary women and men across the country.

Syrian women have made practical proposals for what civil society participation could look like. They have chosen delegations, they have worked hard to overcome their differences and unite around their commonalities – the respect they have for human life, and their insatiable desire for a free, democratic Syria where the equal rights of all are respected. Coming together from across the political spectrum, they have demonstrated that they can embrace diversity and are setting an example of maturity, unity and perseverance to the international community and the warring parties in Syria. Yet still they are not in the room – and we have so far heard no argument why not.

The Geneva II Peace talks represent a glimmer of hope for Syria to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict. All Syrians need to be able to shape and express their vision for a future Syria. Oxfam knows from experience around the world that unless women and a broad range of civil society groups including business leaders, faith groups and youth are included in the process, no peace agreement is likely to last.

Supporting Oxfam

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Oxfam as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

How you can support Syria

Support Syrian refugees by donating now:

https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/syria-crisis/?utm_source=blog-women-peace-talks

 

Let’s end segregation of Roma children in schools

The situation in Slovakia

Right now in Slovakia Romani children are being placed in segregated schools and classes. They’re being put there solely because they are Roma. These schools and classes often offer inferior education, which means these children are being denied a real chance in life. Instead of school being a place of learning and development they are in schools that set them up for a future of humiliation and stigma based on their ethnicity.

“All children, including Roma children, must be able to enjoy quality education in inclusive mainstream schools with all the necessary support they need.” – Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Regional Campaign Coordinator for Europe and Central Asia.

Recent cases in the courtroom

The Court ruled on Tuesday that Hungary had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by segregating Romani children in a special school. The judgment brought to an end a legal struggle that began in 2006.

In the case of Horváth and Kiss v Hungary the European Court of Human Rights found that both men had been wrongly placed in a school designed for pupils with “mental disabilities”.

The Court said the men were “isolated from pupils, from the wider population”, and that the education they received “compounded their difficulties and compromised their subsequent personal development instead of helping them to integrate into the ordinary schools and develop the skills that would facilitate life among the majority population”.

The Court noted that the misplacement of Roma children in special schools has a long history across Europe and shared “the disquiet of the other Council of Europe institutions which have expressed concerns about the more basic curriculum followed in these schools and, in particular, the segregation which the system causes”.

“School segregation is the result of widespread prejudice and historic discrimination; this educational apartheid not only has a disastrous effect on Romani children’s future – but also fuels back into a cycle of racism and intolerance against Roma. It is bad for all society.” Fotis Filippou.

Supporting Amnesty International

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Amnesty International as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

How you can help

“You’d hope educating children in special schools simply because of their ethnicity would be unthinkable in Europe in 2013.” – Fotis Filippou

Take action now by signing the petition to help end school segregation in Slovakia.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/End-school-segregation