Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Making yet another small difference...

Got this info from Steven Said's blog. http://www.neurotribe.net/blog/

If Google had a black screen, taking in account the huge number of page views, according to calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved. In response, Google created a black version of its search engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white version, but with lower energy consumption so spread the word and convert to blackle.

www.blackle.com

Thich Nhat Hanh

I'd like to introduce you to, Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich Nhat Hanh is an expatriate Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk. A teacher, author, and peace activist.

In the early 1960's, he founded the School of Youth for Social Services (SYSS) in Saigon, a grass roots relief organization that rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, and resettled families left homeless during the Vietnam War. He traveled to the U.S. a number of times to study and later teach at Columbia University, and to promote the cause of peace. He urged Martin Luther King, Jr. to oppose the Vietnam War publicly, and spoke with many people and groups about peace. In 1967, King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.


He has authored more than 75 books, including Being Peace, Peace Is Every Step, No Fear, No Death, and Living Buddha, Living Christ. He has published five books a year for the last six years.


"Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity," Thay writes. "We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment." He teaches the practice of mindfulness, being aware of your breathing and being centered in the present moment, throughout our day -- when getting up, sitting down, walking, eating, driving, talking, doing the laundry and washing the dishes. His teaching makes the connection between the world's wars, poverty and destruction, and the way we live our day to day lives, moment to moment.


"Practicing nonviolence," he once said, "is first of all to become nonviolence … The essence of nonviolence is love. Out of love and the willingness to act selflessly, strategies, tactics and techniques for a nonviolent struggle arise naturally. Nonviolence is not a dogma; it is a process. Other struggles may be fueled by greed, fear or ignorance, but a nonviolent one cannot use such blind sources of energy, for they will destroy those involved and also the struggle itself. Nonviolent action, born of the awareness of suffering and nurtured by love, is the most effective way to confront adversity."


He created the Order of Interbeing in 1966, and established monastic and practice centers around the world. His home is Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France. He travels internationally giving retreats and talks. Exiled from Vietnam for many years, he was allowed to return for a trip in 2005.


Nhat Hanh continues to be active in the peace movement. He has sponsored retreats for Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging them to listen and learn about each other; given speeches urging warring countries to stop fighting and look for non-violent solutions to problems; and conducted a peace walk in Los Angeles in 2005 attended by thousands of people.



Sunday, August 26, 2007

People's Alternative to APEC Conference Melbourne

Some information on the People's Alternative to APEC Conference Melbourne. It has some great speakers and topics. Read below for more information. This alternative conference is fantastic on so many levels. Plus its better than throwing eggs at George Bush!


Movements throughout history like Mandela during Apartheid have used Alternative Events to the ones organised by the powers to bring about the change that the people know is coming. In reality the power lies with the people, not the few rich and powerful that dominate unchallenged and without accountability. So, if you disagree with where the US and Australian Governments and Multinational Companies are taking this world and feel silenced then this is a good place to go.


Yes, its a small act to attend an alternative forum - but as Gandhi says 'be the change' - think about the world you want to see and live it out now. I can imagine a world where all people can go to events like APEC and have their say on what they want to see happen in the Asia-Pacific region. This is the world that the alternative APEC is imagining.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

OUTRAGED

Here is a interesting letter to the editor of Salvo publication Onfire in response to an article about our arrest at Shoalwater Bay military facility. I sent in a response to Onfire and will post it here soon...so stay tuned...!

I was outraged by the manipulative use of OnFire as a political propaganda tool by Simon Reeves, Sarah Williams and Krystal Spencer in the Faith in Action article ‘Talisman Sabred’ (21 July issue).

These three ‘Salvationists’ obviously have strong convictions regarding Australia’s involvement in ‘war games’ and war in general, and are correctly entitled to those opinions.

However, when they decided to willingly break the law and trespass onto Commonwealth land to protest, they lost the right to paint themselves as Christian martyrs. I cannot see why you chose to publish this article when it condones criminal activity (or so-called ‘civil disobedience’) and sends the message that it’s okay to break the law if you do’t agree with it.

One of the photographs even shows the group in question standing outside the police watch-house as if they had done something noble! They had not, and publishing this article was irresponsible, and could encourage this type of behavior, possibly leading to repeats of the Melbourne G20 summit protests.

I do not like war, either. But today, as much as in the past, our country needs to have functional and combat-ready armed forces. Where would these activists stand if we were invaded by a foreign nation?

Would they be protesting against our troops defending our country, or ‘getting in there’ to support our soldiers and population in their greatest time of need, a have true Salvationists in previous times of war?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How many times does 'child' appear in the N.T National Emergency Response Bill?

Muriel BamblettAugust 13, 2007

http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/lets-fight-these-laws-together/2007/08/12/1186857338728.html?page=2

ONE of the most telling facts about the rushed Northern Territory National Emergency Response Bill becomes clear when you look for how many times the word "children" or "child" appears. You would think that any legislation that is supposedly part of an emergency response to the issues raised by the Little Children Are Sacred report on child abuse in indigenous communities would have children mentioned throughout its scores of pages. Our legislators had these pages in front of them for only a day or so before they were passed by the House of Representatives with the support of both main parties.
Guess how many times the words "children" or "child" appear in the bill? One hundred? Twenty? Five? Wrong — the answer is zero.

There is no mention of children in the main bill, which supposedly addresses the emergency of child abuse. That is why the majority of indigenous leaders, academics and practitioners in social work and child protection are continuing to say that this bill has nothing to do with children. That is why the actual authors and advisers who delivered the report have condemned the Government for failing to pay due regard to their considered recommendations.

But it has everything to do with a government seeking re-election by blowing the dog whistle of racism in the guise of caring for indigenous children. It has everything to do with a Labor Party too fearful of another Tampa to act with principle and courage. It has everything to do with the assessment of the main parties that the Australian public are too racist and too uncaring of indigenous children to actually support governments doing something principled and evidence-based to tackle both the causes and the symptoms of disadvantage that lead to child abuse.

You should feel insulted. Insulted that you are seen as racist and uncaring. Insulted by the low regard in which your political leaders hold you. Insulted that the assessment of the politicians in the major parties is that you are too lazy to see past policy forming from media releases and political bluster.

But this is the way it seems always to have been for indigenous people.
The federal ALP government in 1995 commissioned the Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care to prepare a National Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Aboriginal Communities. The Keating Government sat on the plan for months, only for the Howard Government to shelve it soon after its 1996 election victory.
At the 2003 Prime Minister's Indigenous Family Violence and Child Abuse Summit, the secretariat again developed comprehensive proposals for a national indigenous children's wellbeing and development taskforce that was to include representation from all governments, the secretariat and other indigenous organisations, report directly to the Council of Australian Governments and develop measures to address child abuse and the lack of services in prevention, early childhood support, health and education. And now we can add Little Children Are Sacred to the ignored reports.

This legislation does nothing for children, nothing for indigenous disadvantage, nothing to actually stop child abuse. So what does it do? It takes control away from indigenous communities. It allows government bureaucrats to force themselves into our boardrooms. It takes over our land. It takes away our ability to have a say on who can come onto our freehold title land. It places bureaucrats in charge of our lives. And it exempts these and other actions from the Racial Discrimination Act, which means it acknowledges that some of its measures may be racially discriminatory.

This legislation is an attack on our people. How would you feel if you had to allow a bureaucrat from Canberra into your community meetings, netball committee meetings and business meetings? How would you feel if there was a law which made it OK for you to be discriminated against, just because of your race?

Are the major parties right? Or will you stand with us and fight this abuse of our people and let your local MPs and senators know what you really think?
Muriel Bamblett is chairwoman of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care.

At the 2003 Prime Minister's Indigenous Family Violence and Child Abuse Summit, the secretariat again developed comprehensive proposals for a national indigenous children's wellbeing and development taskforce that was to include representation from all governments, the secretariat and other indigenous organisations, report directly to the Council of Australian Governments and develop measures to address child abuse and the lack of services in prevention, early childhood support, health and education. And now we can add Little Children Are Sacred to the ignored reports.
This legislation does nothing for children, nothing for indigenous disadvantage, nothing to actually stop child abuse. So what does it do? It takes control away from indigenous communities. It allows government bureaucrats to force themselves into our boardrooms. It takes over our land. It takes away our ability to have a say on who can come onto our freehold title land. It places bureaucrats in charge of our lives. And it exempts these and other actions from the Racial Discrimination Act, which means it acknowledges that some of its measures may be racially discriminatory.
This legislation is an attack on our people. How would you feel if you had to allow a bureaucrat from Canberra into your community meetings, netball committee meetings and business meetings? How would you feel if there was a law which made it OK for you to be discriminated against, just because of your race?
Are the major parties right? Or will you stand with us and fight this abuse of our people and let your local MPs and senators know what you really think?
Muriel Bamblett is chairwoman of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

bloody chocolate!

From a new friend's blog - Danielle Strickland. the Salvo's new Territorial Social Justice coordinator or something or rather...sorry I forgot your title Danielle.
http://armybarmyremix.blogspot.com.html (very interesting blogging...well worth a read!)



I've heard about the chocolate issues but have lacked concrete info to really watch my consumer habits... here's some I found that might help...

An award-winning filmmaker/photographer, sponsored by the Washington, DC-based International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), has just returned from West Africa after conducting filmed interviews with six young men currently living in Mali who are plaintiffs in a suit in US Court in Los Angeles. The men are former child slaves who had been trafficked as 14/-15 year-olds to Ivory Coast and forced to work on cocoa plantations.

The photographer also interviewed and took pictures of children currently working on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast.

KNOW WHAT CHOCOLATE YOU ARE EATING, KNOW WHAT IT SUPPORTS:

Nestlé
One-third of Nestle's chocolate is from West Africa, where over 286,000 children have been reported working in slave conditions on cocoa (chocolate) farms. Nestle promotes genetically engineered foods while claiming "the Fair Trade approach is not a solution." learn more

Nestlé is the largest food manufacturer and chocolate company in the world with over $65 billion in annual sales. Fair Trade Certification, which guarantees a modest minimum price of $.80 per pound, would establish a "floor" or minimum price that Nestlé could easily afford to pay, thus providing a fair price to small farmers, a subsistence wage for cocoa plantation workers, and an end to the practice of child slavery.

Dole
Dole is the largest cut-flower producer in the world, the majority of which is imported from Columbia and Ecuador where low paid farmworkers are exposed to 127 different chemicals, including neurotoxins and carcinogens. Studies show 60% of these long-term workers have signs of early cancer.

David H. Murdock, Dole's CEO, is ranked by Forbes as one of the wealthiest men in the world. If you took the amount Dole pays all of its thousands of international floral farm workers, per year, and multiplied it times 100 years, you'd still have less than the amount that Mr. Murdock is "worth" (over $2 billion), yet he refuses to have the company invest in paying its farmers liveable wages.

Dole is also responsible for union busting in Columbia (firing union supporters).

Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer of cut-flowers in the United States, the majority of which come from Dole. Wal-Mart is also one of the largest retailers of Valentine's chocolate candies, mainly sourced from Nestle, Mars, and Hershey.

Wal-Mart's 1,713 stores do not sell or support Fair Trade or organic chocolates or flowers.

While Wal-Mart, the world's largest corporation, rakes in over $250 billion in sales each year, the average pay for a Wal-Mart sales associate is $1,000 below the poverty line for a family of three, and the company is now well known for outsourcing its production to sweat shops.

M&Ms/Mars Inc.
M&Ms/Mars Inc. has been accused of buying from contractors who utilize child labor and child slavery on cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast.

M&M/Mars Inc. is the third wealthiest private company in the United States. The three private owners of the company are each "worth" $10.4 billion, while the West African farmers actually growing the cocoa for M&Ms chocolate make a baseline income of only $108 annually. M&M/Mars Inc. continues to report record profits while flat out refusing to consider Fair Trade.

West African Cocoa Farming

* Estimated number of cocoa farms in West Africa:
1.2 - 1.5 Million
* Average size of cocoa farms in West Africa:
10-15 Acres
* Average number of family members who live on a cocoa farm:
8-10
* Number of people in West Africa who live on cocoa farms:
10 Million
* Amount of cocoa produced worldwide each year:
3 Million Tons
* Percentage of world cocoa supply that comes from West Africa:
Approximately 70%



http://www.american.edu/ted/chocolate-slave.htm

http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/newsandinformation.html

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ARREST UPDATE









On the 2nd August our bail conditions stated we had to surrender to the Yeppoon Court. So that we did. It was a great time of catching up with the other 19 arrestees. On the court date we gathered in the morning for a time by the sea in reflection for the day ahead. We were all invited to say something…I chose to read out part of Jesus Sermon on the Mount, one which I read daily so I thought what better time to read it that day. The others all shared in meaningful ways and it was a deep experience for us. We were well supported by the locals and the media. Under the watchful eye of the police (as we are dangerous people…not!) we walked up the street to the Magistrate’s court where we gathered to walk into court together.

I’d done way too much preparation for this court appearance. I was ready for the unexpected, yet got the expected. The court was packed that day with the 19 of us and many other folk from around the area coming to court for various reasons. The court itself was so small, that we could only trickle in one at a time. Some of the guys who’d been arrested in 2005 went first and did a great job of breaking the ice and showing us how it was done.

It was a weird experience sitting in the court room, and gathering the confidence to get up and face the magistrate. But I summoned the courage when I was ready. I stated my full name to the court and the magistrate asked if I understood the charge. I said “Yes Ma’am”. She then asked how I was going to plead and I stated “Not guilty Ma’am”. This is a moment I will remember for some time. It was a moment of truth, of following the way of Jesus and the apostles before the courts they faced. So, a not guilty plea meant a new date was set for October 4th. However, like everyone else pleading not guilty, I was excused from attending as it is only a contest mention. The real court date will be later on. So that means one less trip to QLD and some money saved! It also means that the trial date will most likely not be on Kaylene and my wedding date (I rang a very relieved KL straight away…she didn’t fancy a wedding in a court room). I thanked the magistrate, wished her a good day (which caught her by surprise) and I was done!
We then spent the most refreshing and energizing four days I’ve had all year. The weather was fantastic, we had the most hospitable hosts, we got to stay on a beautiful and serene property, we climbed the biggest tree of my life (16m high!), we helped put on a fundraising concert for the arrestees, we shared our experiences at that event in front of the crowd, we watched the local news for our story, we read about our stories for three days straight in the paper, we did radio interviews, we had great food, we visited many people in the local area (even helping push their 22,000litre water tank up a mountain), we ate homegrown food, we drank from homemade mugs, we listened to music, we sat by a fire every night, we ate prawns for dinner, we shared stories with the other guys, we made new friends…
Rev Moyle at the place we were arrested...