240. Freedom of choice

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Like many people I’ve heard the recent news stories about Ashya King, the little boy removed from hospital by his parents without doctors’ consent. Having watched the father’s Youtube video this would seem to be a tragic story: Ashya’s parents were unhappy with the treatment he was receiving and were looking at alternative treatments. They were told that if they were unhappy about the treatment being given and continued to question the doctors, that the hospital would put a protection order in place, this would mean that they would not even be able to see their own son. They left to arrange for the treatment in another country. I think any human being could understand why they might have taken this action: they want the best for their child.

The Kings currently face charges of neglect and consequently may be extradited to the UK, proceedings have started today… I hope that the charges have already been dropped, but…

Please sign the petition on Change.org demanding the release of 2 loving parents and help them get back to Ashya.

https://www.change.org/p/police-david-cameron-and-co-release-brett-and-naghemeh-and-allow-them-to-choose-treatment-for-son-ashya

239. Zero Waste Week begins!

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Exactly what it says: trying to produce zero waste that will go to landfill for a week.

Zero Waste Week 2014 runs from 1st-7th September. This year’s theme is ‘One More Thing’, so I’ll be trying to do ‘one more thing’ to reduce landfill waste!

In England we generate about 177 million tonnes of waste each year. This poor use of resources costs businesses and households money, but more importantly it causes environmental damage.

Some of the suggestions for taking part are:
• Ditch the plastic carrier bag – for good! Yep, I’ve really been working on this one already and have definitely used fewer plastic bags this year, so I’ll keep working on that…
• Grab that fabric stash and make do and mend Hmmm… I’ve tried reusing clothes that are no longer wearable and recycle items, but mending…
• Swap a disposable product for a reusable one I’m planning on reducing my sandwich bag/ lunch packaging waste once I return to work tomorrow. 
• Dive into your freezer and cupboards and stop food being wasted Guilty – I hate wasting food, but the other half and I are pretty bad at this… so this week I’ll be making a real effort on this one to try and kick start some better habits.
• Start a recycling policy or eco committee in your office My new job starts tomorrow, so I guess I’ll have to see how eco-friendly a school we are.

This week I’m going to try and be much more aware of the waste I’m creating and focus on ways to reduce it. Wish me luck!

To get involved visit the web page: http://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/ or find ‘Zero Waste Week’ on Facebook. 

238. Speaking out for human rights

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Andy Hall is a Briton who helped expose violations of human rights by Natural Fruit Ltd in Thailand, he has consequently had his passport confiscated and is awaiting trial on charges brought against him by Natural Fruit Ltd for his involvement in uncovering their misdeeds.

I’ve signed the petition supporting him and also posted on Dole’s Facebook page asking them to use their influence to stop Natural Fruit Ltd from their actions against Andy.

It’s shocking to think that the abuses he discovered are happening and frightening to see how Natural Fruit Ltd have responded.

Have a look at the Andy Hall page on WordPress: http://andyjhall.wordpress.com/

Or visit the website below and sign the petition:

http://action.sumofus.org/a/protect-human-rights-defenders/?sub=fb

237. Wipe Out Whaling!

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Alton Towers yesterday: we were absolutely exhausted as we were making our way towards the exit, when we saw the aquarium (run by the sea life centre) and decided to pop in for a quick look before we left. This gave me the opportunity to make a donation to the Wipe Out Whaling campaign and to sign a petition looking for a ban on the movement of whale meat and products through EU ports.

To find out more or sign the petition, please visit the website: http://www.sealifetrust.org/Our-Campaigns/Wipe-out-Whaling

236. Operation legislation with Global Citizen

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The following is the opening from an e-mail I received today from Global Citizen that I wanted to share:

In Britain we’re saving a life every 2 minutes through the international aid we give – that’s 720 people every single day! 

This is something we can all be proud of, and after years of campaigning, last year we became the first rich country to reach a milestone – 0.7% of our income now goes on lifting people out of extreme poverty across the world. But, despite all of our work and all of our effort, the government is still yet to put this into law –  now we need you to help us get 0.7 enshrined.

I loved the positive first sentence – I think that does feel good, sometimes I despair at what my taxes are spent on…

This morning I’ve e-mailed party leaders to try and get a bill passed making a clear commitment to international aid law.

To find out more about this, or other GlobalCitizen campaigns, visit their website: http://www.globalcitizen.org.

235. My Ice Bucket Challenge

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I honestly thought I wouldn’t be nominated to do the challenge and so (if you read my post a couple of days ago you’ll know) I made a donation anyway. However today I was nominated and completed the ice bucket challenge, please feel free to donate…

 Visit: https://www.justgiving.com/mndassoc/ or text ICED55 £5 to 70070.

Sadly I’m unable to post the video evidence (I’d have to upgrade my WordPress), but I did it – honest! :-)

Imagine someone looking very much like this…

234. The TTIP Campaign…

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I receive a huge amount of emails and an increasing amount of mail about things I could take action on/donate to/get involved in: recently TTIP is popping up all over the place, so today I’ve agreed to put up a poster and made a donation to 38 Degrees supporting their campaign. For anyone who isn’t confident about what the TTIP deal is all about, here’s a simple explanation from their website (https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_home) :

Right now, there’s a deal being worked out in secret between officials in the US and the EU. If it goes through it would put the profits of big business ahead of our environment, our healthcare, and could even stop the government raising the minimum wage in the future.

It’s called the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, or “TTIP” for short. The deal is being negotiated on behind closed doors, but leaked details suggest it will.

  • Allow companies to sue governments if they make decisions affecting big businesses profits – like capping energy prices, introducing plain packet cigarettes, or raise the minimum wage.
  • Stop future governments from rolling back privatisation of our public services, like the NHS, energy companies, or the Royal Mail.
  • Relax the rules which protect consumers, our environment, our welfare and health services, to much weaker levels seen in the US.

233. Spreading the giving!

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It was another donation drop off today, this time at the Sue Ryder shop. You’d think my 1 bedroom flat would be empty by now – but it’s not! ;-) Today’s was a bag of items that I was reluctant to part with, but I know they’ll be appreciated more elsewhere; you know things you’re not really using, but they’re lovely and maybe you will… Well now they’re off to be appreciated by someone else and raise funds for a good cause too.

Sue Ryder provide hospice and neurological care, if you’d like to find out more about their work, please visit their website: http://www.sueryder.org/

232. Dropping off a donation

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There’s a week left of the summer holidays and the weather is dismal, so the obvious thing to do? Some extreme housekeeping and home improvements! I may have got a little bit carried away and ripped up the hall floor with no exact plan as to what happens next, but that’s a problem for another day…

Clearing the clutter meant a trip to the Barnardo’s shop to drop off a couple of bags of donations: I can’t believe how much stuff I’ve been able to get rid of over the past few months.

Also while I was out, I was able to assist a woman in a wheelchair to reach items that she was unable to get from the shelf and although I had no change to donate to the collector I passed in the street, I did wish them a ‘good morning’ anyway. So a little ‘RAOK’ action as well today! :-)

231. Channel 4’s ‘Stars at your service!’

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This is a great idea, the advert popped up for Channel 4’s ‘Stars at your service’ in aid of charity, so I thought I’d find out what it was all about and visited their website…

https://starsatyourservice.channel4.com

Put simply you can apply for a star to be ‘at your service for the day’ either for yourself or on behalf of someone else. This is to help raise money for Stand Up to Cancer – however there is no specified donation required, you simply apply and make a donation if you choose to. (Which I did.) All money raised goes to Cancer Research UK as part of their Stand Up to Cancer campaign.

I really hope I get Russell Howard to teach my classes for the day. Fingers crossed! :-)

If Russell Howard’s not your thing, how about Rachel Riley or Jon Snow? There are plenty of celebrities to choose from, so get your application in…

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