EU_ Up to 25 million more Europeans are at risk of poverty by 2025 if the austerity policies are left unchecked. Oxfam’s report, “A Cautionary Tale“, underlines the true cost of austerity and inequality in Europe, that have dismantled the mechanisms of an equitable growth. “The European Union is in a…Read More
The acts of terror in Paris over the past few days and the resultant groundswell of defiance by the citizens not only on the streets of the capital but in Toulouse, Nantes, Marseilles, Nice and many others all over France have emphasised the values that this nation holds above all else – equality, fraternity and liberty. In fact, one could say they are France’s greatest export, a special gift to the world.
Part of these values is the right to question, to challenge ideas, concepts and beliefs and to object to anything, as long as it’s in a non-violent manner. The freedom of speech, to express one’s thoughts with pen, crayon or keyboard is an essential tonic that prevents the plague of institutional oppression and violence from overwhelming a just society. Satire is possibly the greatest weapon of all.
By allowing a free flow of ideas from all angles, a society paradoxically generates a tolerance of others and of differences of opinion. Obvious religious, gender and class disparities and opposing convictions are deferred from their traditional face-offs and the lines become smudged. In a free society such as France opposing notions of Us and Them, Male and Female, Old and Young, Black or White, Pro- or Anti-, Christian or Muslim are not important. Making them important, however, kills the health of a society and submerges it into the hellish dystopia that Syria, Iraq, Libya and Somalia currently find themselves drowning in.
Therefore, as free-thinking individuals, it is our duty to stand up to the repression of otherness, and the consequential violence it perpetrates. We all need to pull those pens from our shirt pockets and put ink to paper. We will not hide from the terror. We will fight by being thunderously vociferous. We will shout from the rooftops and mountain peaks that ‘We Are All Charlie!!’
In an extraordinarily visual protest, thousands of Germans demonstrated in Berlin against using plastic bags. The demonstrators tied 30,000 plastic bags they collected to make a chain nearly five and ½ miles (9 kilometers) long. The event was sponsored by the Berlin Nature Conservation Society.
September 15th kicked off a corresponding week-long nationwide campaign: “Defeat the plastic bag.” Thousands of young people from schools, clubs and organizations drew attention to the issue with creative projects and prizes.
Germany uses 10,000 plastic bags a minute, but it can take centuries for the bags to break down.
The “Trash Busters” is a project for the young members of NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union), and they are called “Waste Heroes.” NABU is one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany.
The mission of “Trash Busters” is clear: put an end to the plastic bag. The students cleared natural areas of plastic trash, pedestrian zones and walkways. They also asked shops for a commitment to be plastic-free. Of course those shops are honor-bound to maintain that status.
Project manager Daniel Henkel of the NABU explained,
“If (government) policy takes forever to abolish the plastic bag, we will handle the problem ourselves. Instead of producing new plastic waste with every purchase, I just take my own bags.”
Trash Busters had its own campaign website www.trashbusters.de. The Trash Busters Application was a place where young people located and reported garbage hotspots then cleaned them up as a group. The app was available for free in the Google and Apple’s app stores. This “Trash Busters” project was sponsored by the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) with funds of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
Special thanks to NABU
Istanbul, Turkey – At the Annual International Companion Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC) in Istanbul, Turkey last week Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, launched the EU Dog and Cat Alliance amid concerns that the European Union’s 61 million owned dogs and 66 million owned cats benefit from very little legislation protecting their health and welfare.
“We hope that the Alliance will bring greater cohesion on commercial breeding, trade and movements across member states and promote better standards for all EU based dogs and cats” announced Dogs Trust Chief Executive and founder, Clarissa Baldwin OBE at the conference now in its 16th year. ICAWC is the leading conference of its kind with an attendance 241 delegates from 41 countries working in the field of animal welfare. Over the course of the conference last week workshops and talks were given on subjects ranging from shelter building, stress in cats, tackling rabies and stray animal issues.
Yet, the most important development at this year’s conference was the creation of the EU Dog and Cat Alliance whose main task will be to lobby the European Union in introducing and improving legislation for the welfare of dogs and cats in areas such as consumer protection, public health and internal markets as well as to provide a forum for the sharing of information and gathering of evidence of various related issues. Such issues will include:
Commercial Breeding and Trade
Puppies and kittens are bred for commercial purposes but welfare standards vary widely among member states, which can result in serious welfare difficulties and contraventions.
Movements Across Borders
The main aim here will be to provide more efficient monitoring and managing of movements of animals for trade across EU borders, and from third party countries, especially from the East.
Veterinary Medicines and Medicated Feed
Even though the current licensing system for veterinary medicines in Europe is rigorous it is also complex and there is a lack of cohesion between member states, which has led to inefficiencies. The EU therefore cannot be described as having a ‘single market’ for veterinary medicines. According to the Alliance website “this is of concern because the availability of safe, efficacious veterinary medicines across all EU Member States is vital to protecting both animal health and public health.” The Alliance proposes the introduction of a true single market. This will not only improve the availability to protect animals but contribute also to public health.
In a post-conference press release, Baldwin stated that she “is overwhelmed by the positive response to the EU Dog and Cat Alliance” and is thrilled to report that already 14 organizations have signed up as members… “and we look forward to welcoming further members on board.” Dogs Trust European Policy Advisor, Claire Calder, informed this reporter that since the conference more organizations have signed on.
Membership is open to registered charities and not-for-profit organisations from across the EU, which are involved in the rescue/rehoming of dogs and cats, or working to protect their welfare. To find out more about the EU Dog and Cat Alliance and its work, see www.dogandcatwelfare.eu or tweet them at @EUdogsandcats. The Alliance is funded by the UK charity and founding member, Dogs Trust. Members will not be asked to contribute a membership fee to join the Alliance but may, on occasion, be asked to help sponsor or fund specific research, events or initiatives if they so wish.
Not Suitable For Office Viewing. In southern France near Toulouse in the soothing Sivens Forest, the sound of rubber bullets exploding out of riot police guns jar the senses. This beautiful forest is being eaten away by giant growling machines that violently rip the trees from the ground. Authorities…Read More
EU-Greater Manchester-based (UK) recycling project, Life+ Up and Forward, working to increase waste prevention and recycling in low performing urban areas, held its first seminar on 3 September 2014 at the central location of Bridgewater Hall (UK), with the aim to provide information about the project’s experience that could be adapted to other areas.
The aim of the project (LIFE11 ENV/000389) is to “demonstrate how waste policy can be more effectively implemented by municipalities through changing behavior” (UP&FORWARD COMS), using targeted communications in specific low-performing areas identified by waste collection data and local demographic statistics.
Manchester has been taken by storm by a social media recycling campaign aimed at students which is being led by Recycle for Greater Manchester’s Up and Forward team. The project, which runs until June 2015, will cover 9 of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford. Based on the innovative use of communications media and processes, to gain a wider audience, using the platforms of gaming and filming and working with young people, the media project is involving students from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Bolton and it it an opportunity for young people to gain valuable work experience. Specifically, the project will demonstrate the innovative use of communications media and processes to increase participation in waste prevention and recycling in deprived urban areas in communities with a high proportion of youth, transient, student residents and people from different cultures.
The current campaigns are:
- Rubbish Selfie
- Getting Wasted
- Beat the Bin Men
- Recycling Films
- Community events
All the campaigns will provide opportunities for young people to gain employment and training in community engagement and media. The first one, Rubbish Selfie, want to get as many students in the Fallowfield, Rusholme and Longsight areas and beyond aware of the importance of recycling, finding ‘the bin of the week’ and take a picture (selfie) of themselves recycling. The Recycling Films project, produced by students at the University of Bolton, with the help of production company Bellyfeel, have an important recycling message: to recycle more and recycle better. Environmental education is a necessary transition to a green economy and is a core element of all environmental projects. This project is a contribute to a sustainable future, wants to develop information and awareness raising activites for the public, to make people understand how to respect the planet.
You can watch all the movies on Up and Forward web site and you can connect with them or you can get involved becoming a young recycling Ambassador.”The Recycler”, for example, is a comedy drama about woman who is confused about her household recycling until a local ‘ambassador’ comes to her ‘rescue’ in the style of an action film.
EU – The final draft of Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014 (IPCC), that looks at the most recent physical science of climate change, has demonstrated that climate has changed beyond historic variability and humans are the main cause. In these months we are reading many…Read More
EU_Three upcoming trade deals: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) according to digital rights activists, development NGOs, environmental groups, farmers’ organizations, consumers group, trade campaigners, health activists, political groups and concerned citizens, are paving the way for an attack on the environment, health system, food, jobs, public services, digital rights and much more. On Stop TTIP, CETA, TiSA website, they are telling us that is necessary to stop the agreements who threaten our already weak democracies. The decentralised European Day of Action is, October 11 2014, is the international day of protests against fracking: civil society, trade unions, farmers and grassroots activist groups from all over Europe have called for this Day of Action to stop the ongoing free trade negotiations.
The coordination proposal is People Against Free Trade Agreements (PAFTA) with the intention to to join people from all continents currently fighting their respective “free trade agreement” in their own country, because while corporate lobbyists are playing an integral role in negotiations, the public have been shut out. With the excuse of improving trade between the countries, they want to reduce the already lower financial regulation in the US and already lower standards for food safety or use of chemicals in the EU.
The idea is to bridge the struggles and coordinate for better pressure impact of the citizens against Free Trade Agreements currently being negotiated worldwide and the objective to research active citizens, grassroots movements, associations, NGO’s, Activist, leakers, interested to provide best documents, video, workshops, articles that would push for more awareness about the implications of the “agreements”. Under the motto : “It’s imminent, it’s urgent, Resistance is Creation, Creation is Resistance”, the policy of the website is to select the best information by country to raise awarness about these invasion of corporations into our Democracy.
TTIP (also called TAFTA – Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement) is being negotiated between the US and the EU since July 2013. It aims at removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. According to the “resistance” the problem is that the beneficiaries of these agreements are not in fact citizens but big corporations, increasing the power of multinationals and the negotiations are conducted in secret. Even our public representatives know little if anything about their progress.
CETA has already been negotiated between the EU and Canada and is now being finalised. According to European Commission, once applied, it will offer EU firms more and better business opportunities in Canada and support jobs in Europe and it will tackle a whole range of issues to make business with Canada easier and according to Prime Minister Harper CETA is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact. According to PAFTA they tell us that CETA will have everything that NAFTA has, plus more but the reasons to be very concerned about it is that it’s about adding to the list of things that governments can’t do if they interfere at all with the corporate sector’s unfettered right to make a profit. Furthermore CETA, if ratified, will unfairly restrict how local governments spend money and ban “buy local” policies, add hundreds of millions of dollars to the price of drugs in our public health care system, create pressure to increase privatization of local water systems, transit and energy, and much more.
TiSA is now under negotiation involving 23 WTO members, including the EU, who together account for 70% of world trade in services. According To European Commission TiSA aims at opening up markets and improving rules in areas such as licensing, financial services, telecoms, e-commerce, maritime transport, and workers moving abroad temporarily to provide services. Like any other trade negotiations, the TiSA talks are not carried out in public and the documents are available to participants only, but the EU, however, has been keen to be as transparent as possible. According to “public resistance” this trade covering 50 countries and 68,2% of world trade in services would severely limit the ability of the US to regulate the financial sector and will impact their economy limiting the government ability to respond to future financial crisis.
The only way to deeply understand what’s going on and be part of awarness isto follow the real time on PAFTA website.